New Kahuku coach stops in to see Junior Ah You

Junior Ah You, left, got a surprise visit from new Kahuku coach Vavae Tata on April 21.
Junior Ah You, left, got a surprise visit from new Kahuku coach Vavae Tata on April 21. / Courtesy photo.

Right after Kahuku officially announced Vavae Tata as its new football head coach last Tuesday, he visited Junior Ah You, who is one of the most respected football figures in the North Shore community.

Ah You, the former college and CFL star who owns and operates Tita’s Grill, said he was impressed with Tata’s demeanor and thought it was admirable that he took time on his first day to reach out to the community.

Tata is a former ULCA standout defensive end who played his high school football at rival Saint Louis under Cal Lee. He made the All-State team twice, in 1992 and ’93. He has also coached at UCLA, Stanford and Vanderbilt.

Tata is in the process of choosing his staff of assistant coaches, according to Red Raiders athletic director Gillian Yamagata.


  1. redalert293 April 28, 2015 7:54 pm

    He chose a few assistant coaches already and things are looking good. Great start to a new era of Kahuku Football. So many people want to see this young head coach succeed. RR4L

  2. Good Story April 28, 2015 10:02 pm

    Sole…he’s already throwing up the LB. Sleep wit’ it coach. As they say…When in Rome…welcome to Red Raider Nation. Let’s do dis!

  3. Pink Sushi April 29, 2015 2:44 am

    Vavae Tata didn’t just play for a rival, he played against Kahuku in the 1993 Prep Bowl, a game St Louis won. For that reason, I don’t like the hire. What’s he going to do if Kahuku ends up facing St Louis in the state championship game? Game plan for St Louis to win?
    I will always wonder if Larry Ginoza held his Waianae team back in the 1980 Prep Bowl against Iolani, his alma mater.

  4. Moke Galletes April 29, 2015 6:32 am

    Time will tell, its time to fix something that wasn’t broken in the first place. One thing Kahuku has always have is talent and the love of Football, but their down fall is their administration.

  5. Recruiter808 April 29, 2015 8:11 am

    Sink Pushi; the issue is not wether he played against kahuku. Coach Santiago had a son who was a defensive standout at Kamehameha when Kahuku played them for the State title. Did he change his play calling so that his son could win, hell no! The issue here is the administration. Kahuku has some very talented kids, as everyone has already stated. Well some of these very talented kids are all grown up now and have become very talented Coaches. However now these same kids who have brought notoriety to the Kahuku program by helping to win Kahuku’s first State title, wether by playing or being on the coaching staff, are now not talented enough to coach their Alma Mater. What kills me about this Administration is that its a Kahuku Alum who is in charge. Past administrations saw the value of what Kahuku Alums had to offer their school. It was Past administrations(Who are not Kahuku Alums) who hired Coach Livai and Coach Torres. Both of them Alums and live in the Kahuku area. This new administration comes in and the 1st thing they do is let go of Coach Torres. The Principle who did this is his ClassMate, did not call him in advance to let him know he was not retained and had no grounds to let him go in the first place. The gripe in the community is that Torres did nothing to help his Football Players get to the next level. That is not only ridiculous but such a poor excuse for community members to use. Their is a bunch of players that have received scholarships and have gone on to College wether Div.1 or to a JC who played for Coach Torres.
    My point is this administration is just like Kahuku’s last Coach, A JOKE!!!! They give the excuse of “For the Kids’ and ” We want to take kahuku to the next level”. Really? Since when do you take a school to the next level by hiring a Football Coach? Is the Principal and her Administration only concerned about the 60 or so kids that play football and not the rest of the student body? Are they going to search high and low for a new Baseball, Softball, Soccer, basketball and Tennis coach to get those kids to the next level? How about the Marching Band? Kids can get to College through being a member of the Marching Band. I remember when Kahuku’s Marching band was winning all types of awards. Is the Principle and her Administration going to take those kids also to the so called Next Level? Thats a Big HELL NO….. Anyway good luck on the up coming season and i hope and pray Coach Tata stays and is not another One and Done.

  6. oldtimer808 April 29, 2015 10:31 am

    The principal when she took over the school had an agenda to clean house. She asked that all the coaches reapply for their positions. Many of the coaches did not reapply. As for Reggie Torres, he was always for the student/athletes and a few parents grumbled when he first took over the program when their child could not play. Coach Torres put a rule in place concerning having a grade point average to participate. Some of the better players who were just getting by could not play until their grades improved. In previous years, some of the football players were able to slide by academically. The sad thing is that some of these past players who were stars are struggling today. Coach Torres wanted better for these young men and he put academics first and foremost. It is a problem with some in the community that will put football first and not academics. It was sad when the community tried to boycott Torres during his first year. You have to understand that there are rivals within the community that wanted other coaches to take over. I give Coach Torres credit for his perserverance and commitment to his values.

  7. redalert293 April 29, 2015 1:22 pm

    pink-pusushi – Whats done is done its obvious that the admins (Principal and Athletic Director) have something personal against hiring some one from the community. They are the biggest sell-outs and have no grasp on reality when it comes to the polynesian football culture in Hawaii. Siuaki Livai and every other alumni that played and coached from 1970-2010 took the program to the national level, we sent numerous of players to college and the NFL without someone from the outside showing us how. WE BUILT IT, IT IS OUR HOUSE!!

    Coach Tata will be the new face of our program and I have no doubt that he will be converted fully to the RR4L ways before the season starts, too much alumni with nothing else better to do then to watch over the program and the kids. You are right, he is in enemy territory, I still remember when St. Louis beat up on us all those years but thats what makes Hawaii football so great. The rivalry and animosity between us and Farrington/St.Louis and Punahou makes both sides work harder. All this competition benefits the kids and once they graduate they are better prepared to play at the D1 Level against the mainland competition.

    A St.Louis grad is not coming to coach us!!
    A St.Louis grad wants to be a Red Raider!!

  8. hahashanda April 29, 2015 8:20 pm

    @PinkSushi, I’m going to assume that he is an adult and could handle playing against is old team.

    @Recruiter808, We went 6-5 with Reggie his last year. There was some problem I’m not sure who’s it was. Lee Leslie, 9-3. We never did get an offense going but at least we were heading into the right direction… winning. Regarding the changes of coaches, it has been made clear that coaching is a 1 year contract, Kahuku felt like they wanted to exercise that option of opening that back up for everyone, and they did it in all sports. Enough said.

    For this article, its nice that he visited Jr. Ah You, he’s great. But lets get to work and win games.

  9. Recruiter808 April 29, 2015 9:33 pm

    Hahasha-DUP, you going come on here and start that noise about records and 1 year contracts? Yeah the year before “The Biggest Mistake Kahuku Ever Made” took over they were 6-5 but they were also coming off of back to back State Championships. The Team was loaded with 1st time starters at almost every position. And this non sense about 1 year contracts, are you serious? Maybe that excuse would work on others but come on man, lets keep it real. Did that BaboGum Les-LIE reapply for the Coaching spot after his year was over? No he didnt! He strung along Kahuku until the last minute than gives this excuse about how he missed his family and resigns during spring ball. Where was this 1 year contract when families threaten to sue Coach Livai? Where was this 1 year contract when families and community members would hold meetings in Hauula and laie to get rid of Coach Torres? Oh thats right Lenay Kekua had the contract with her….. Give it rest

  10. redalert293 April 29, 2015 9:42 pm

    To support what hahahsanda is saying about winning.

    No, winning at Kahuku is not everything, BUT, when you think about why we were on the downward trend of losing was because..

    1. A number of talented athletes were leaving Kahuku to play for private schools
    2. A good number of kids couldnt play because they were not making grade checks.

    Reggie’s 6-5 season (considered a losing season for Kahuku) was a direct reflection of both scenarios happening.

    Winning Football games at Kahuku means that our students are making grades and also there is a high enough morale that some of our private-school-bound kids stay home. Both things started to happen when Reggie was replaced, last season with Lee Leslie…

    1. Five students immediately transfered back to Kahuku, 4 of which became starters,
    2. During the playoffs none of our starters were on grade check.

    Both scenarios resulted in a 9-3 winning season and if it weren’t for an injury to our QB in the semi-finals we had a very good chance of winning the whole thing. Winning is not everything, but for Kahuku Football it is a good indication that a lot of the things that the principal is responsible for are going well.

  11. Pink Sushi April 30, 2015 2:29 am

    redalert, winning is not everything, but it means a lot. National Geographic had an article last year about how people coming togehter to participate in a group activity that means a lot to them have much better health and better production at work than those who don;t have such group activities to take part in. The article was about Hindu Indinas coming together for a yearly festival and about the sacrifices they made to partake in that festival. .

  12. OregonRedRaider87 April 30, 2015 6:30 am

    Lets go baby, enough bickering and lets all stand and support our Red Raiders from near and far. Support our new coach as redalert293 said…
    A St.Louis grad is not coming to coach us!!
    A St.Louis grad wants to be a Red Raider!!
    Up here in Oregon, it don’t matter where the young man played football in Hawaii, once they get to the college level, they are all ours, they represent Hawaii and that is all that matters. The only hard game we went to this year was when our Ducks played against our nephew Hau’oli Kikaha so we decked out in Husky gear and attended the game here in Eugene to support the Sack Master…

  13. Good Story April 30, 2015 6:58 am

    As someone who played against Vavae Tata, I share in some of the sentiments expressed here. But I’m willing to give him a chance. I also hope he reads some of these posts so he can fully comprehend the challenges ahead. Let’s face it, we take our football 2 million here and a lot of us did build this place with our own blood, sweat, and tears. I thank everyone who posts on these forums. If you are a Red Raider, you deserve to be heard. I learn a lot from all the different perspectives…main thing we all come together and support the boys come season time.

  14. hahashanda May 4, 2015 4:41 pm

    @Recruiter808 Just say you were on a soap box and didn’t even know that they required all sports to reapply. If you don’t keep up with whats going on why bother posting? You should really get informed. I used facts, not name calling to get my points across. Try to educate yourself then; educate others.

  15. Recruiter808 May 5, 2015 1:09 pm

    How about you educate yourself on the proper use of a semicolon.

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