Moanalua’s Cauley just couldn’t stay away

Moanalua head coach Jason Cauley is still waiting to make his first in-game decision. Honolulu Star-Advertiser photo by Cindy Ellen Russell
Moanalua head coach Jason Cauley is still waiting to make his first in-game decision. Honolulu Star-Advertiser photo by Cindy Ellen Russell

Sometimes, a man’s hankering for football needs to be quenched.

And so it was for Jason Cauley, who had just moved to Hawaii four years ago and felt the need to get back into doing what he loves — coaching football. The urge hit him almost immediately after arriving from Mobile, Ala., where he had been an assistant along with his brother, Rick Cauley, at Murphy High School.

And then, bam, things happened fast, really fast, for the man who is set to start his first year at the helm of Moanalua.

“I checked on the Internet to see which high school team was closest,” said Cauley, who is retired from the Army and whose wife is still in the military. “I saw that it was Leilehua, so I showed up at their practice and sat in the bleachers. I was impressed with what I saw, but I had on certain colors, and (Mules head coach) Nolan (Tokuda) thought I was scouting his team for an upcoming playoff game.

“So he came over and asked me where I was from and we got to talking for about 30 minutes,” Cauley said. “He was really nice and welcoming and he left passes for me and my wife at the gate for the playoff game.

Tokuda put feelers out to see if any coach on Oahu was in the market for offensive assistants with the credentials of Cauley, who, aside from his coaching experience, played quarterback in college.

Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez was the first to show interest and Cauley was set to be the quarterbacks coach for the Hurricanes. But a few days later, Moanalua’s Arnold Martinez called and asked Cauley to be Na Menehune’s offensive coordinator and he took that job, with Hernandez’s blessing.

So, after a year with Moanalua followed by two years as Hernadez’s offensive coordinator at Kapolei, Cauley is taking over for the departed Martinez. He had planned to move back to Alabama to be closer to family and help his brother, who just took over as Murphy’s head coach, but decided to stay and not long after, the Moanalua job opened up and he was hired.

Cauley has fond memories of his first go-round with Na Menehune.

Dillon Turk, our quarterback (in 2011), was the first person aside from me and my wife to hold our first-born child,” he said. “That’s how close we got to all of the people there. It’s like family to us.”

Cauley will be trying to improve on Moanalua’s 3-6 season from a year ago. Things will get off to a late start for the OIA, however, which canceled all of its season-opening games this weekend due to approaching hurricanes Iselle and Julio.

Moanalua was scheduled to play at Waiakea on the Big Island on Saturday. Instead, the team is set to open Aug. 15 at Waianae.

One big difference between Hawaii and Alabama football is elite speed, according to Cauley.

“We had 20 kids on our Murphy team who could run 4.5 and below for the 40,” he said. “Here, it’s more of a power game and you don’t have that top-end speed.”


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