Kohala coach Chad Atkins receives letter saying he will not be reinstated as football coach

Chad Atkins, left, threw what he called "the season's last pass" earlier this fall to his Kohala football players. Atkins was let go from his job as head coach Oct. 31. With help from some of the football players' parents, he tried to show that he was wrongfully terminated, but then he received a letter from school principal Amy Stafford on Dec. 20, saying he would not be reinstated. Photo courtesy of Chad Atkins.

Kohala’s Chad Atkins received a letter from principal Amy Stafford informing him that he will not be reinstated to the position of football coach.

The letter, dated Dec. 20, came during Atkins’ struggle to get his job back.

“When I told people about the letter, they said to me, ‘Oh, so you were fired,” Atkins said Thursday.

That was meant in a light-hearted way despite the seriousness of the situation because even though Atkins said he was told by athletic director Laurie Koustik on Halloween that he wasn’t going to be the football coach again next year, school officials tried to say afterwards that he wasn’t actually “fired.”

Semantics aside, if Atkins wants his job back, he does have a chance to get it by reapplying for the position. The Department of Education statewide typically hires athletic coaches on a one-year basis and then after the season notify the coaches if they get another year or that the position is opening up.

Atkins is not sure if he will reapply. He also said he was told that the school is looking at complaints made against Koustik buy some of the football players’ parents. That investigation, Atkins said he was told, is being done in-house by vice principal Trisha Sanborn and not by the DOE district overseers.

According to Atkins, Koustik originally informed Atkins that he was not going to be retained as football coach on Halloween, citing outside complaints against the coach.

Atkins said he was not told of any serious complaints during the football season, in which he led the team to a 3-5 record in its first year back playing 11-man football.

Eventually, Atkins was told — with DOE district personnel along with Koustik and Stafford present — reasons for Koustik’s decision to let him go. Those reasons, in Atkins’ mind, were not serious in nature. Some, he said, were not true, including a charge of bullying.

In a December email to Hawaii Prep World, before Atkins received the letter saying he would not be reinstated, Stafford said concerns about Atkins’ situation were being heard but that she could not discuss details of the matter.

Also in December, Kohala football parent Francine Lactaoen sent a formal complaint signed by a notary to the school, saying that Atkins was wrongfully let go and should be reinstated. Other parents of players, Blaine Duque and Michael Remsen, stood in vocal support of Atkins during December meetings.

In her complaint, Lactaoen also claimed that Koustik failed to positively support the Kohala football team.

There were other grievances written by Lactaoen, including what she, Remsen, Atkins and Duque believe is improper collection of money by Koustik. Twice, Lactaoen said she gave money to Koustik for athletic events and that Koustik put the money in her pocket.

In a side issue at Kohala, one football playing student has filed a police report concerning missing money from the locker room. That matter is being investigated by Big Island police, according to Lactaoen, Atkins, Duque and Remsen.


  1. Pam January 11, 2020 12:01 pm

    First, the Department of Education statewide typically hires athletic coaches on a one-year basis and then after the season notify the coaches if they get another year or that the position is opening up. Secondly, having been a coach under Ms. Koustik for 5+ years, I found her to be nothing but professional and fair. She was always supportive of my team. As for her putting money that someone handed her into her pocket, where should she put it? She doesn’t carry a purse. People need to take responsibility for their actions and accept the consequences.

  2. Keala January 12, 2020 3:49 pm

    Pam thanks for your comment. I agree, in my interactions with the AD she was fair and reasonable. This article should not even be written. Shabby reporting by a scab, shabby reporter who always trying to make trouble with fake controversy. Trying to be relevant but he’s not.

  3. ILoveHawaii January 13, 2020 1:20 pm

    Fake controversy. Judging on the response of the last article on this situation, there seems to be many people who dont agree with you. Does that make you a scab too? or even shabby?

  4. Coconut Wireless January 13, 2020 1:38 pm

    sounds like a clueless administrators who know nothing about the sport and have poor communication skills. being told he wasn’t fired only not re-hired is supposed to make him feel better?

  5. ILoveHawaii January 13, 2020 3:09 pm

    I wouldnt go as far as saying that. But based on that list of offenses, it seems like communication was really lacking on both ends.

    I wondered tho, before you do anything, shouldnt you get permission first and not assume, because its good for the community, that you can go ahead and do what you want? Kind of like one job, No??

  6. GoLSU January 13, 2020 5:37 pm

    Where is the coverage of the LSU game? There is the Farrington player playing in it. I guess only when “insert favorite HS team” players play in the national championship games it’s news to HPW @BillyHull @Errbody

  7. BEEAIBOI January 13, 2020 8:05 pm

    I have some friends who coached football at another school, who told me that the Kohala AD charged them admission to get to the field. I guess this happened more than once. They were told that they had too many coaches in staff. Also read that she wanted to charge admission for a scrimmage. Kohala had agreed to scrimmage Konawaena…not the varsity, but the JV team. Konawaena makes the trip out there, suit up, start warming up, and then was told the scrimmage is cancelled. Konawaena coaches were told that she was not notified about it so it was called off. It is rumored that she wanted to charge admission. Admission to a scrimmage against a JV team??

    Just thought I’d share what I’ve heard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiprepworld@staradvertiser.com.