Hawaii Preparatory Academy hired Albert Cummings as its new football coach Friday, according to athletic director Steve Perry.
“Albert brings great energy to the program and BIIF experience over the past couple of seasons,” Perry said.
“I think Albert’s passion for the game will attract players to the field and get them excited to compete every day.”
Cummmings is a 1996 Kailua graduate and former quarterback for the Surfriders. A native of Waimanalo, he coached at the Pop Warner level with the Hawaii Kai Dolphins.
Cummings was also a junior varsity quarterbacks coach for one year at Kaiser High School. That was in 2013, when the Cougars won the Division II varsity state title. At the time, Cummings was under JV head coach Tim Seaman, who Kaiser hired in this offseason to become the Cougars’ varsity head coach.
Cummings moved to the Big Island four years ago and helped out a little bit in Pop Warner before spending two years as an offensive coordinator under coach Noeau Lindsey at Honokaa High.
“I have humble beginnings and was coaching Pop Warner when my children were younger and growing up,” Cummings said via cellphone Friday night. “That was my way of giving back. I was blessed with the opportunity to coach at the high school level at Kaiser and to be around (varsity head coach) Rich Miano and all of those people with great knowledge of the game. I learned a lot from Cameron Higgins and the way he ran his offense. And it was a nice environment to be around. Rich has so much enthusiasm and love for the sport. I learned to be a student of the game.
“I was also blessed that Noeau Lindsey called me one day and gave me an opportunity at Honokaa. I actually stepped down at Honokaa and was going to take some time off. I was wondering things like if I’d ever have another opportunity to coach. That’s when this job opening came up. I didn’t want to have to say that I at least didn’t try to become a head coach.”
Cummings will never forget meeting Hawaii Prep’s previous head coach, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, the former Hawaii Prep, University of Washington and NFL player who died unexpectedly last year age 30.
“That was such an unfortunate thing,” Cummings said. “It was a privelege to have met him during the preseason one time. We were talking X’s and O’s. I always find it humbling when another coach who is a proven winner in the sport asks me something about football. Daniel was that guy. That’s the way life is. You meet people along the road; you never know if you’ll see them again. I don’t have those credentials. I didn’t go to the NFL. I didn’t complete in college. But I’m the next coach (after Te’o-Nesheim) at Hawaii Prep and he’s a guy who was humble enough to ask someone like me for advice. It’s a privilege and very humbling and I will always remember that.
“I felt like a little kid all day after I heard that I got the job. It’s the biggest dream that can ever be if you aspire to coach in high school, at any high school. And it’s at a very prestigious school.”
Cummings will get familiar with Ka Makani players before he decides what type of offense and defense he’ll run.
“There will be challenges ahead, getting the boys to buy in to what I bring to the table,” he said.
“We want to compete for Division II in the BIIF. I don’t want to make predictions. I want to get these guys fired up and bring the buzz back to HPA. There was a time when HPA football was noticed. My goal is to try and bring them back up and compete in the division and in the state and hopefully in a few years, we’ll get that recognition.”
In Te’o-Nesheim’s only season as the head coach, Hawaii Prep went 2-6 overall and 1-6 in the BIIF.