New Maui football coach Robert Dougherty knows turnarounds

New Maui football coach Robert Dougherty takes over a team that finished 1-8 this past season. Photo by Rodney Yap/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

New Maui High football coach Robert Dougherty has been part of a major turnaround before.

He’ll be hoping to do that turnaround thing again as the Sabers coach. He was introduced as the new head man last week by athletic director Michael Ban.

Dougherty played quarterback for Boston University in the 1990s, helping a team that went 3-8 in 1992 and picked to finish 11th out of 12 conference teams in 1993 to a Yankee Conference championship and a 12-1 record.

Now, Dougherty takes over for outgoing Maui coach Rodney Figueroa, whose team went through a 1-8 campaign this fall in the last of his three years at the helm.

Prior to his time at BU, Dougherty played JC football at College of the Sequoias (Visalia, Calif.) and in high school at Mt. Whitney High (Visalia, Calif.). He has also held head coaching positions at Corcoran, Exeter and Mt. Whitney high schools in California and College of the Sequoias.

“It’s a challenge,” Dougherty said via cell phone Wednesday about coaching the Sabers. “I’ve got a lot of good (assistant) coaches to choose from. I’m going to take my time and build my staff, get to know the kids and the culture and form the program after seeing what needs to be done.”

Said Ban via cell phone about Dougherty: “He’s student-centered, a family man and will bring excitement to Maui High School football. He has an understanding of the game and the character and discipline needed to develop a high school program.”

Figueroa went 11-19 overall and 9-15 in the MIL in three seasons as the Maui High coach. The Sabers went to the state tournament as the MIL’s Division I representative in his first two years before falling to a 1-8 campaign (0-8 in league) this year.

After the season, Ban announced that Figueroa would not be returning as coach.


  1. Wainakea December 6, 2019 8:50 pm

    Maui High has 2000 kids. You don’t get that luxury elsewhere in the neighbor islands. With a proper coach and a solid culture, that program could become dominant at the state level. Hoping for good things to come for the Sabers.

  2. rusty ham April 9, 2020 4:44 am

    Time will tell. The Sabers have the need for respect. It will begin at the top and trickle down from there. Go Maui

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