Kaimuki releases former state coach of the year David Tautofi

Kaimuki coach David Tautofi raised the OIA trophy after beating Roosevelt on the final play to win the D-II crown in 2019. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

The David Tautofi era has ended at Kaimuki.

In a press release from the coach’s Kaimuki Youth Development Organization, Tautofi stated that he was released as head football coach on Aug. 31 by school administrators.

Kaimuki’s team has struggled with roster numbers for years, but never ceased to battle for playoff berths and titles. In five seasons on the field under the former Kaimuki and UCLA defensive lineman, the Bulldogs were 37-19 in Division II play. That includes a runner-up finish in 2018 and an OIA Division II championship in ’19. Coaches and media voted Tautofi to Star-Advertiser all-state coach of the year honors in 2019.

Notably, the Bulldogs continued to take on community service projects monthly through 2020, including a food pickup station at the school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The press release did not disclose a specific reason for the dismissal: “Fred Lee, Kaimuki’s Athletic Director, and Jon Taguchi, Vice Principal, shared concerns over non-compliance of school policies and they, along with Principal Jamie Dela Cruz, who was not present in the meeting, decided it would be in the best interest of the school to seek new leadership for Kaimuki Football.

“Tautofi, who has already begun prepping his staff and athletes for this upcoming season, is disappointed by the decision. He expressed concern over the administration’s plans to ensure that the health and well-being of his athletes will be prioritized. In addition to the upset this pandemic has already caused for these youth, they are now being forced into yet another major and abrupt transition that will affect them mentally and emotionally.”

The OIA regular season was set to begin game play on Aug. 6, but was postponed on Aug. 4 by the DOE. The final vaccination deadline is in one week, Sept. 24, with fall sports slated to resume or begin practice on Sept. 27. The first games of the OIA football season was rescheduled to Oct. 15.

David Tautofi year by year
2015: 7-5
2016: 5-4
2017: 5-4
2018: 10-3 (2nd OIA D-II)
2019: 10-3 (1st OIA D-II)


  1. Philip Rapozo September 18, 2021 6:46 am

    Coach Tautofi is a class act! As former head coach at Kapa’a high school on Kauai I had the privilege of coaching against coach Tautofi and his Kaimuki football team twice in the D2 state playoffs. Although his teams were small in numbers they were well prepared to play and played with passion for the game, which is a reflection of him. He is a very humble man that always gave his opponents respect! Good luck coach in your next endeavor… coach Philip Rapozo

  2. Old School September 18, 2021 6:55 am

    He Didn’t want to take vaccine? Or, other stuff.

  3. ??? September 18, 2021 9:45 am

    HUGE mistake! Kaimuki will regret it for years to come!
    Good Luck Coach….

  4. TheTruthWillBeKnown September 18, 2021 11:07 am

    Ask David why he got let go!!!!!! He did it to himself. If he’s such a great coach where are all his former Players? What are they doing with their lives?

  5. 96730to89 September 18, 2021 2:54 pm

    Not providing any hint towards a reason allows people like me to conspire all sorts of possibilities. I immediately go to thinking it’s a power struggle. Was Tautofi a threat to someone’s job? Sounds just like Kahuku politics. It’s never about what’s best for the kids.

  6. Admin Didn't Support Him September 18, 2021 4:19 pm

    I know for years that admin just did not support Tautofi. I can’t remember the details of whatever stupid struggles he had at the time years ago, but I can only imagine it’s gotten worse over time. Sad cause Tautofi did a lot to try help his alma mater and the community.

  7. Anonymous September 18, 2021 6:00 pm

    He must have been a pain to work with. “Concerns over non-compliance with school policies.” He is literally admitting fault. And, calling his own press release. Sounds like a cry for attention.

  8. Consequences September 18, 2021 6:18 pm

    Regardless of all the good things Tautofi may have done for the school and community, if he didn’t comply with school policies and follow school rules, then the administration is right for letting him go.

    Life lesson–there are rules in school, work, and life. And if you break a rule, there are consequences.

  9. Paul Honda September 18, 2021 10:30 pm

    What school rules did he break? You seem to know, which also means you are fairly close to the situation, I’m guessing. Feel free to inform me at 808-255-2044. Mahalo.

  10. DAwgPound September 19, 2021 12:09 am

    You sound like the sheep that can’t seem to think for yourself. Do you have any idea what kind of situation Kaimuki high is in? Do you realize it’s the most at risk school in the state? Don’t be so lame as you already sound but Coach obviously dealt with much more than policy issues but they made it about policies bc there’s no other way to shut a threat coach was to that administration. That school is already on crash course but trust me violating policy is too weak an excuse for the school to let him go. He outgrew that school anyway but I know he’s up to something. We’ll see that soon I’m sure

  11. Dennis D Denton special teams coach Calvary Chapel September 19, 2021 5:51 am

    I love and support David. He was a great mentor to our players. His belief system is strong and football Knowledge is superior! School politics drives him crazy as it did me. The school that picks him up will be fortunat!

  12. Malama Our Haumana September 19, 2021 10:53 am

    His two brothers (coaches) were the heart and brains of the team. As others have stated, he did a lot for the community but there are school rules and policies in place for a reason and he had many chances to abide by them but chose his own path.

  13. Giants September 19, 2021 3:04 pm

    I met David a few years ago at a non-profit organization’s community event, where he had some of his players volunteering and is a class act. He keeps his players volunteering throughout the year to improve themselves including those he had to cut for behavioral issues, but stills keep in contract. He tries to coach them into turning their lives around. You can see the passion when he helps coordinate the food drives at Kaimuki. His players, parents and coaches are loyal and committed. He preaches positive coaching and keeps his coaches check. You did not hear him complain when he only had 17 players suited up for the Nanakuli game in 2019 or dwindling enrollment due to borders shrinking and other reasons. If you meet him, you will know he is humble. This all made him coach of the year even though he did not win any State championships. Making up reasons without knowing the real reason why he was terminated only hurts him and others involved.

  14. Chelsea Soares September 19, 2021 6:03 pm

    Notice how admin was quoted as saying “it’s in the best interest of the school to seek new leadership”. If they truly cared about kids that quote would have read “it’s in the best interest of KIDS to seek new leadership”. David Tautofi is an excellent coach but more and MOST importantly he is a true role model for young men. The kids will be the ones to hurt the most from him being fired, not the administration. Prayers to his team and coaching staff and anyone else who benefitted from him wisdom, kindness, and selfless devotion to his Alma mater. David will be loved and valued at the next school who is lucky enough to have him, it’s a shame his own Alma mater turned their backs on him.

  15. Malama Our Haumana September 23, 2021 11:35 am

    The next school to hire him will also be the next school to release him. Reaching out to the superintendent to ask for a 5th year of athletic eligibility??? Maybe if he did more to help those kids pass and graduate on time then I would have more respect for him. Those “5th year Seniors” would’ve played football then dropped out before graduation.

  16. Malama Our Haumana September 23, 2021 11:36 am

    Why wouldn’t an administration not support a “great” person and coach? No one would be stupid to let go someone “great”. There must be good reasons.

  17. ILoveHawaii September 24, 2021 9:02 am

    Something’s amiss.
    The Tautofi’s are good people.

    Maybe the admin and HC were in disagreement of some sort on some policy or procedure.
    And could not resolve it.

    Being a HS Head Coach, especially for football, is a tough job that requires a high level of performance in multiple skill sets. For those that care and want to make a positive lifelong impact on the players, that is. Which is why its hard to see this particular one go this way.
    Thank you Coach Tautofi and all the coaches for the time you have given to the players and the community.

    Next person up!!!

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