Kahuku is down to five finalists for the vacant head football coach job, according to sources close to the program.
According to multiple sources, four candidates are confirmed. Another candidate — Ron McBride, the biggest name of the bunch — is speculation due to the fact that the information came from only one trusted Honolulu Star-Advertiser source. Other sources could not confirm McBride as a finalist or as someone who has applied for the job.
McBride, 75, is best known for his days as the head coach at Utah (1990-2002). His latest college head coaching job was at Weber State from 2005 to ’11, and his last job as a head coach was in 2013, with the Utah Blaze, an arena football team.
Vanderbilt assistant Vavae Tata is one of the finalists, sources said. He grew up on Oahu and was a defensive end for Saint Louis School and UCLA. He has also been an assistant at Stanford.
Three of the finalists are based Oahu at this time — Kahuku assistant Sterling Carvalho, Kamehameha assistant and former Kahuku assistant David Te’o, and Asai Gilman, who is the executive director of Education 1st, a nonprofit Native Hawaiian organization committed to helping Hawaii’s youth better prepare themselves for college and career success.
Carvalho played quarterback at Kauai High in the early 1990s and was previously an assistant at Waialua.
Among the candidates who did not get the job, according to the sources, are: former state-championship winning Kahuku coach Siuaki Livai, who apparently did not file his resume in time; Kahuku assistant Tommy Heffernan Sr.; Kamehameha assistant and former Kahuku assistant Byron Beatty; Kahuku JV head coach and interim varsity coach James Kammerer; Kapolei assistant, former Kailua head coach and former Kahuku assistant Darren Johnson; and former Dixie State head coach Greg Croshaw.
The Kahuku head coaching position opened in March, when Lee Leslie, who led the Red Raiders to a 10-3 record and a spot in the state semifinals, resigned to return to his family in Idaho.
This is the second year in a row Kahuku is looking for a coach. A year ago, Reggie Torres, who guided the Red Raiders to three state championships in seven seasons at the helm, was let go.