Kalaheo hires Nelson Maeda as football head coach

Nelson Maeda, shown during last season as an assistant with Aiea, is the new head coach of the Kalaheo football team. Photo by Andrew Lee/Special to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Nelson Maeda is the new head coach of the Kalaheo Mustangs football team, the school announced Thursday night.

Maeda is a former head coach at Castle and Kailua.

“We are excited as coach Maeda brings a love for the game and 20 years of head coaching experience,” Mark Brilhante, the Mustangs athletic director, said in a statement. “As an educator, we look forward to his ability to instill core values into our student athletes. With his love for the game and his work ethic, we look forward to coach Maeda bringing pride to Mustang football.”

Maeda takes over for Darrell Poole, who stepped down as head coach after eight seasons. Kalaheo went 0-10 last fall.

Maeda went 96-116-2 overall in 22 years as a head coach and led Castle to the 2002 OIA championship. He went 91-103-0 in 20 seasons with the Knights from 1997 through 2016 and 5-13-2 with the Surfriders in 1980 and ’81.

Maeda was an assistant under Wendell Say at Aiea last season.


  1. turfwar March 5, 2020 10:14 pm

    Congrats Nelson.

  2. Rebel March 5, 2020 11:04 pm

    Watch out Windward Side…

  3. Kanaks March 6, 2020 4:27 am

    Get ready to RUN!!!! Kalaheo cannot handle his caliber. He’s a Black Knight always.

  4. HI HS FAN March 6, 2020 7:19 am

    Good hire. However, can he get more players to come out? Will he be able to “convince” the community to support his philosophy? That was his biggest challenge at both Kailua and Castle. Look for them to compete, but it’ll take at least two years for him to turn the program around.

  5. ILoveHawaii March 6, 2020 9:00 am

    Great catch Kalaheo.

    Good luck Coach Nelson.

  6. Boom March 6, 2020 1:38 pm

    getting ready for that running! Coach Maeda will make you guys run! Best of luck Coach!

  7. ??? March 6, 2020 3:09 pm

    Coach Maeda’s players were ALWAYS in the Best shape.
    Congrats Coach..

  8. Former Black Knight March 7, 2020 12:46 am

    Time to do some 240s Kalaheo. Coach Maeda doesn’t cut no one because the conditioning does it for him. #BlackKnights

  9. Coconut Wireless March 7, 2020 11:58 am

    Maeda’s reputation for Discipline, Conditioning and Team, would seem to be a good fit for Kalaheo as they have been limited in numbers in the last several seasons. I recall a televised game during the Jeremy McGoldrick era where Castle had like 8 guys going 2 ways playing the whole game and they end up beating a Campbell team double their size and in numbers who was winded in the 4th quarter. Seems like his emphasis on being the better conditioned Team pays off. No Pain No Gain. Good Luck Coach, Mustangs are lucky to have you.

  10. Mustang Pride March 7, 2020 12:34 pm

    Hope things turn around for the better. Change needed for sure. Good luck!

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