Kahuku mourns death of assistant coach

Three days before the highly-anticipated start to its season, the Kahuku football team and community suffered a painful loss.

Pele Leiataua was a longtime assistant football coach at Kahuku. Courtesy photo

Longtime assistant football coach Pele Leiataua died Wednesday, according to his family. He was 66.

“Our players and community are saddened by the loss,” said Red Raiders head coach Sterling Carvalho, who will start his first season as the varsity head coach Saturday night at home against Konawaena. “He will be missed greatly. I love coach Pele and his heart was always for our kids in the community and players in our program. He served unconditionally and gave unselfishly.”

Leiataua was the JV quarterbacks coach, but he coached with Carvalho for a long time. He was Carvalho’s quarterbacks coach when Carvalho was former head coach Reggie Torres‘ offensive coordinator. He was also Carvalho’s JV quarterbacks coach when Carvalho was the JV head coach prior to this season.

“Our season will be dedicated to him,” Carvalho said. “Every year, I told him that as long as I’m coaching, he will always have a job coaching QBs in my program. He always gave of his time and touched the lives of many over generations. Our community is mourning his loss. He is loved and will be missed. So much as our team is excited to be ‘known’ this season, may coach Pele be known to all as a coach who loved his players and his players loved him.”

Pele Ioane Leiataua was born Nov. 3, 1951.

According to his sister, Nellie Leiataua, Pele died doing what he love best — coaching.

“He died of a massive heart attack,” she said. “Pele never went down without a fight. He was still able to carry on a conversation with my brother Johnny and I while he was having the attack.

“(As a kid), he wanted so much to play football for the Red Raiders, but he was too small so he became the best water boy and supporter instead.”

Leaiataua was a coach at Kahuku for more than 20 years.

“He may have been small in stature, but he had a heart of a giant,” Nellie Leiataua said. “My brother was a simple, humble guy who wanted no attention or accolades attached to his name. He was a pillar of our community and will be greatly missed.”

Pele Leiataua was a supporter of Kahuku football his entire life. The Red Raiders will dedicate their 2018 season to him. Courtesy photo.


  1. SEARIDER-DOGG August 3, 2018 2:23 am


  2. Moses (Moke ) Galletes August 3, 2018 3:34 am

    My condolences to the Leiataua Obama, Pele was a true RR4L. You’ll be missed for sure on the sideline my friend.

  3. Moses Galletes August 3, 2018 3:35 am

    My condolences to the Leiataua Obama, Pele was a true RR4L. You’ll be missed for sure on the sideline my friend.

  4. Moses Galletes August 3, 2018 3:39 am

    So sorry for the miss spelling of Ohana, spell check put in obama instead.

  5. Alani Vaioleti August 3, 2018 6:38 am

    My man!!! Rest in peace Pele. Your love for the kids was always evident and absolutely true and real.

    Until we meet again…see you on the other side some day. Gone too soon. Now a RRFEternity.

  6. Randall Caban August 3, 2018 8:35 am

    Aloha. A true RR4L. As I was given a opportunity to play pop Warner football in Laie. Brother Pele no bigger as I. He was always helping kids on the team as well in the community. It’s a honor to have played and be friends with Pele Leiataua and Ohana.I myself a true RR4L. WE MAY HAVE LOST A FRIEND TODAY, BUT WE WIL ALWAYS HAVE HIM IN OUR HEARTS.. RIP .PEACE BE WITH YOU, BROTHER PELE..ALOHA..RRC.

  7. Douglas Coburn August 4, 2018 5:11 am

    Growing up in Laie with the Leiataua family I remember when Pele returned home from his mission in the early 70’s. He was a man of honor and a man who was faithful to the covenants he had made with God all his life. Alofa atu brother Pele.

  8. Paulo Fuaalii August 5, 2018 1:41 pm

    Alofa tele Pele..mo oe ma le aiga atoa..You will be missed uso..families are forever,and see you on the other side..Alofa atu🙏

  9. silas fontes August 12, 2018 7:41 pm

    There are very few people that I respect and honor. Pele was one of those that I respect and honor. He was always there for us for the Youth and for all da laie boys, he was one of the true examples for me when I was growing up. He organized teams and took us too games to play he was a great example for all of us he will be missed by many I know by me he has touched my heart. Thank you for being part of my life and for all the memories. Luy ya my brada

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