Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda retires

Longtime Leilehua football coach Nolan Tokuda told Hawaii Prep World this morning that he has retired from coaching.

Tokuda cited family needs (young children) as his primary reason for stepping down after more than a decade as head coach. He will also apply for the athletic director position in July.

He added that he supports longtime assistant coach Mark Kurisu as the next head coach.

“Mark has already been named (head coach) this morning,” Tokuda wrote via text. “It’s Mark’s time to take over. He has been ready for years now. He was the defensive coordinator for three former head coaches. Mark will take the program to the next level, building better men, student-athletes and football players.”

Kurisu took over the helm in ’11 when Tokuda took a sabbatical and guided the Mules to a 10-2-1 season. He was the DC under Cass Ishitani, Jake Kawamata and Tokuda.

Leilehua's Nolan Tokuda took the Mules to three state finals and won one state championship in his 12 seasons as head coach.
Leilehua’s Nolan Tokuda took the Mules to three state finals and won one state championship in his 12 seasons as head coach.

Tokuda took over for Kawamata in 2004, turning a 3-5 team into a 10-4 squad. That Mules team reached the Division I state tournament final, losing to Kamehameha 28-7.

In ’07, Leilehua promoted a JV quarterback named Andrew Manley to the varsity after the team went 3-3 in the regular season and lost its QBs to injuries. Leilehua went on to sweep through the OIA playoffs and state tournament to capture its first state championship, beating Saint Louis 20-16.

The Mules returned to the state final in ’08, losing to Punahou 38-7.

“I’m going to miss everything,” Tokuda wrote. “All my coaches. My players past and present. Coaching colleagues. Rod York. Nelson Maeda. Wendall Say. Al Viloria. Walt Young. Arnold Martinez. Darren Hernandez. Even the officials. Guys like Danny Bayne. Mike Goshima. Robert Victor.

“I’m going to miss preparing week in and week out. X’s and O’s, and especially the Jimmys and the Joes. The most important to me was the relationships that I was so blessed to have built and be a part of.”

This year’s team went 5-8, reaching the semifinal round of the Division I state tournament. He leaves with a career win-loss record of 86-43.

Tokuda was a quarterback at Aiea, playing for Say. He played in the first OC-16 televised game.

“Football is the greatest vehicle to teach life skills, things like discipline. Teamwork. Dealing with adversity and being humble during your success,” he added.


  1. TooMeke November 16, 2016 12:27 pm

    Good luck with your future coach!

  2. Ryan Umemoto November 16, 2016 9:46 pm

    Nolan, props to you for wanting to help boys become men. I enjoyed playing against you in high school baseball and after, watching you play with my boys Farinas and Honda, and seeing you succeed with the full throttle mentality I will always remember you for. You played clean, hard, and smart..,and so did you teams. Congrats on a full coaching career. The state is better for having you at the helm. I know you will create the right atmosphere for future athletes. I know Leilehua will produce Dak Prescotts and not Terrell Owens type athletes as an athletic director. Other schools with parents and athletes out of control would be so lucky to have you.

  3. Hau’ulaBoy November 16, 2016 10:50 pm

    Great job coach Tokuda. You always had great sportsmanship and your teams followed your example. That program will always be moving in the right direction thanks to you and the hard work that you have put in. RR4L will miss the battles you and your teams have fought against our Red Raiders. Good luck.

  4. Brent Perrry November 17, 2016 4:07 am

    Nolan, I played baseball with you growing up. You were an intense and honorable player then and have grown to be an outstanding coach and leader now. Good luck to you in whatever you do!

  5. ??? November 17, 2016 3:05 pm

    A lot of people thought he was going back to coach his alma mater, Aiea. Guess not!!

  6. ??? November 17, 2016 3:12 pm

    I swear Bobby George was promised the HC job!!!! What’s up?

  7. Chloropicrin November 17, 2016 6:41 pm

    Waianae high needs to offer Bobby George a security guard position, so they can bring him on as offensive coordinator. He has had successful offensives at mililani and leilehua. But we all know Waianae, they only hire friends and family.

  8. Checkyoself November 18, 2016 7:35 am

    Mahalo Coach Tokuda. Good luck in your future as an exceptional candidate for Athletic Director at leilehua or Head coach at Aiea.
    I surely hope the other “Daddy Coaches” retire too!!!
    To be on the Varsity coaching staff is earned. Not given a spot as a “strength and my son motivator.”
    The downhill slide comes from within.
    Mr. Piceno time for you to do the right thing and step down also.
    Congratulations Coach Mark Kurisu as Head coach.
    Leilehua is so very very lucky and Honored to have you as successor!!!!!!
    Clean slate for your coaching staff. Get rid off the excess and get down to Mules Football!!!!!!!!
    Aloha and good luck!!!!!!!!
    Checkyoself before you wreckyoself!!!!!
    and I’m out……

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