Passos steps down as Radford football coach

Lon Passos is stepping down as the Radford football coach after three seasons at the helm. He wants to become an athletic director at a Hawaii public high school. Steven Erler / Special to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Lon Passos said Tuesday that he stepped down from his post as the Radford football coach.

Passos spent the last three seasons as the Rams’ coach and went 3-24, including 2-8 this season.

Passos’ career goal is to be an athletic director at a Hawaii public high school, and he said there are classes and other training that he would have to complete before he could be considered for a position.

“Long story short, I want to try and go the AD route,” he said Tuesday night via cellphone. “There might be some openings coming up. Gotta go to classes and take tests and I didn’t want to be a distraction for the football program.”

Passos was an assistant under former coach Fred Salanoa, who left after leading Radford to the state Division II championship in 2015. That team was filled with seniors, and the talent level of 2016 took a big drop.

The Rams’ two wins this year came against Kailua 19-0 and Nanakuli 29-22. Three of the eight losses were by 35 points or more and were against teams that were ranked in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Top 10 at one time or another — ‘Iolani, Leilehua and Moanalua.

In the two seasons before that, Radford was playing against some of the teams that have moved up to the Open Division.

Passos was an offensive line coach for Radford from 1997 through 2015, when the Rams capped a 13-0 season. He was also the Radford softball coach from 2001 to ’03, the Rams’ baseball head coach from 2000 to ’10 and an assistant baseball coach from 1997 to ’99. He is also a math teacher, and he has been an assistant athletic director at the school for more than five years.

“Whoever they hire, I will help them out behind the scenes,” Passos said. “I’m going to miss coaching in general. That’s going to be the hard part. I told the kids that leaving them is the hardest part.”

After many years as an assistant, Passos said he was glad to find out what being a head coach entailed. The extra work, he added, was something he got used to and enjoyed.

“There’s a lot more responsibility being a head coach,” he said. “An assistant pretty much takes care of his one area. Being a head coach was enjoyable.”


  1. ??? November 28, 2018 11:17 am

    All the Radford alumni that was talking smack, here’s your chance to apply for the HC job and make a difference!!

  2. RamDown November 28, 2018 11:55 am

    I thought this was reported a while ago when their season ended

  3. Radford2021 November 28, 2018 1:50 pm

    ??? First off, I would say am sorry, we not like that in our program we are pride and loyalty to our school with Discipline, Respect, Responsibility. We will not accept that in Radford. Yeah being a new head coach, can make a major difference. But I feel like Amosa Amosa is going to be head coach next year since he was a offensive coordinator this year. Every day these kids want to win. Turning around the culture.

  4. RadfordRams November 28, 2018 2:11 pm

    thank you Coach Passos for your time, energies, self and family sacrifices in developing the young men of Radford. Their success is not determined by the wins and losses but by their self growth with the Radford values. Best of luck in your future endeavors. Your time spent as a Head Coach especially in Football, will help make you a better AD.

  5. Spartan01 November 28, 2018 3:29 pm

    Your a true man for walking away from a demanding position, you did your part, such is life… Appreciate your time and effort. Be safe.

  6. Whatsamatterwithyou? November 28, 2018 4:56 pm

    nice for what; you must have gotten cut by your JPS Coach to have so much hate in you. Radford doesn’t need people like you. You like one cancer, killing everything in your path. Go bad mouth your JPS Coach as obviously you one kid yet. Responsible adults no act like you. Saw several Radford games, they did the best they could with what they had. Heck, they beat Kailua! Thanks Coach Passos!

  7. Mahatma Gandhi November 28, 2018 5:57 pm

    Radford must get its top players stolen by the ILH every year. The football recruiting going on nowadays is ridiculous. I wonder if they not getting the same number of popolos they had back in the 1970s. Anyone know if Pearl harbor reduced its force? I remember how Radford and their popolos dominating OIA basketball. Track and Field too. Not anymore.

  8. Radford2021 November 28, 2018 6:20 pm

    @Mahatma Gandhi our track team is not that bad, plus I bet that only sport we good at right now. We got talent around the area, it just these kids are going Punahou, and St. Louis
    and now days, they are recruiting people. Have you guys heard Punahou RB Vincent Terrell? He lives around the area, and goes to Punahou.

  9. Redford Ram Alumni 2016 November 28, 2018 6:27 pm

    Nice for What- do you know enrollment goes up and down with kids from military like Kalaheo? You must be like the crybaby parents at Kaiser. Shut your front door

  10. RamDown November 28, 2018 7:05 pm

    This guy did way more for the program than anyone at radford he is always the first coach to be there and the last to leave it’s not his fault he didn’t get any help and had to do everything on his own literally everything. Just cause his record wasn’t the best and had nothing to show for it he worked his ass off to make sure his team could compete with the best and he never lost faith in them no matter the circumstances was.

  11. TalkingTruths November 28, 2018 9:51 pm

    Speaking nothing but truth. He never have help? So he coached by himself? So Coach Amosa and all the other coaches did what? Nothing? Please explain specifically what he has done for this program, since you have alll this insights, I cannot wait to hear some outsiders thoughts about how he made our program ‘better’. Still waiting to see something, anything. My front door wide open and staying that way. Walk right in with facts if you like. Not guesses based on what you think you know. When you love a sport and you meet someone who kills ur spirit for a bunch of us we should just go play JPS.

  12. JPSBangah November 28, 2018 10:51 pm

    Anyways not responding anymore I know what I know, and you dont. You can judge but it’s easy when it doesn’t impact you.

    Alls I know is I want someone who really cares about this program and the kids who work hard for it. Lots of great people in this community that would lead us and really improve our program to make it what it can be. I know our future bright!

  13. Tayvis passos November 29, 2018 7:19 am

    I have all facts I’m his son I with him 24/7 I went to radford with him I seen what he did and what people didn’t do so I know exactly what happen and didn’t happen so before you talk about throwing facts out there you should no your facts first. I don’t care if his record was bad I know what actually happen and I know he didn’t get much help at all. My door is open to so if you want REAL facts from someone who actually knows what he’s talking about come to me because I witness it all and seen it all on what coach Lon Passos actually did.

  14. Mingo November 29, 2018 8:15 am

    Thank you coach Lon for all your family time spent at Radford. Your dedication to Radford throughout the 20+ years will never be noticed!!!! I speak for some of the alumni and we all say THANK YOU!!!!& a big RAM DOWN!!!!!!

  15. Captain Lou! November 29, 2018 9:50 am

    Real Man. Real Coach. Coach Passos coached football and baseball for 20+ years. Drove from Waialua to Radford for 20+ years. Never complained. Never made excuses. Dedicated himself to the students of Radford….and continues to.

    Wins and Losses fade… LOYALTY NEVER! GOOD WORK LON!


  16. Kava Root November 29, 2018 12:19 pm

    @Mahatma Ghandi,

    How can a player get stolen? This isn’t slave days. Schools and communities do not own kids. Neither do their parents. Parents have custodial rights, but now ownership rights as human being are not property.

    Therefore, do you wish to amend your foolish statement?

  17. Eric November 29, 2018 12:53 pm

    I coached under Coach Passos in his first year and things did not work between us. With that being said, I have nothing but respect for Coach Passos. He has done a lot for the school, not just in athletics but academically and in the administration. He is a teacher, coach and an assistant to the AD. He is always the first teacher at the school and last coach to leave the field, and he lives in Waialua. I was grateful and honored to coach with Coach Passos. Thank you Lon!!!

  18. Save Our Schools November 29, 2018 2:36 pm

    Radford struggled while being coached by Passos because they were in the D1 (Red and Blue) and this past year D1, they are teetering between D1 and D2

  19. Ram Faithful November 29, 2018 2:48 pm

    All the finger pointing … its his own staff (no need mention that infamous family name associated with Radford) that undermined him for the past 3 years. Bunch of cowards. Heard it first hand.

    Good for you Lon! Greener pastures my friend. You paid your due! Compared to these “alumni” who themselves did nothing for this program…

    When the program won the 2015 D2 State title none of those clowns was around…

    Mr. V would be proud of you!

  20. Sid Patton November 29, 2018 9:13 pm

    Although I was not part of his staff these past 3 years, we were part of the same coaching staff for years. I can tell you he was dedicated to the bone, and although he drove from Waialua everyday, he was the first to arrive and last to leave. He’s not only a dedicated coach, but a good man. With any coaching job not everyone’s gonna be happy. When you have a record like coach Lon has had these past 3 seasons, and players aren’t quitting, means he’s doing something right. Sometimes you can’t measure success with wins and losses, there are other factors that paint a picture. It just breaks my heart to know a man who’s worked so hard, be criticized to this degree in a public forum like this. I can’t speak that he became HC to strengthen his resume to become an AD, because I don’t know, but if he did, so what! I’ve seen people do a whole lot worse, not saying it’s a bad thing. But I can tell you that it wasn’t because of lack of effort., because he worked his ass off. More power to him. From a football standpoint, he did the best he could with what he had, and that’s all you could ask anyone to do! There’s always someone who knows more football than all the rest of us, so what eles’s new? Coach Lon never professed to know all about football, and I don’t think anyone in the forum is qualified to make that kind of judgement, so I’ll leave it where it is. But I can tell you without a doubt no one worked harder the years we coached on the same staff, with the exception of maybe Will Lobendan. Much love and respect coach Lon.

  21. Boolakanaka November 30, 2018 7:32 am

    Mahatma, is talking out his okole. First of all, it Black or African American, not the pejorative of popolo. And so for every Homer Jones, or Marty Sims, or Brian Norwood, there were many many other locals that made up the bulk of their team, from the Salanoas, Verna Ah Sing, Willie Ho, Sagapolu, Kuamoo, Manama, Lavatai, Conte, Falefine….

  22. Real ram Faithful December 1, 2018 12:43 pm

    and that staff that undermined him…yeah THAT WASNT HIS STAFF he NEVER EVEN APPLIED FOR HEAD COACH…HE WAS APPOINTED because the AD didnt like none of the candiates that applied because the AD wants someone that he can control and tell them what to do the family that you are calling cowards dont listen to what the AD WANTS THEY DO.THEY DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR THE KIDS but the AD DONT LIKE THAT. but again LON IS A GREAT GUY SHITTY COACH it is what it is and not to mention he was on the hiring board during the interview process and never even have a staff so before you take a postion make sure you have YOUR OWN STAFF because NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS EVERYTHING FALLS ON THE HEAD COACH….NOT HIS STAFF CLOWN…IT STARTS FROM THE TOP KIDS FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF THE HEAD COACH NOT HIS STAFF REMEMBER THAT

  23. RadfordRams December 2, 2018 9:40 am

    AD Kelly Sur and Principal James Sunday both who have coaching football experience, will have an opportunity to hire someone who will continue to fit their school and athletic program philosophy. Radford is a unique school with its transient school population with influx of military athletes. Sometimes they get em only for 1-2 years thus, they like brand new in the program which can be a disadvantage compared to other OIA schools who may have their athletes for 4 years. Just gotta keep it as simple as they can while balancing being as competitive as they can be with the systems they install. dont want to install complicated read routes if you have them only for a year. Coach Passos leaves having the satisfaction of laying the foundation on which the new HC can build upon. One day, the program will be at the level as it was in the era of Coach Velasco.

  24. FRANK MOULTRIE December 3, 2018 7:25 am

    Radford has to find a way to use the Military kids to there advantage. I’m black and played at Radford for 4 years. Sucks having kids leave after 2. Build your base with local talent and try to fill gaps with the Military kids.

  25. RAMfoLIFE March 1, 2019 2:24 pm

    Dang I know Frank. We went to school together dawg. Damn good QB. Nuff said!!!! Yup I agree with Frank. Gotta get the Military kids to come out and play football! Thank you coach Lon!

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