The Lee brothers are changing roles at Saint Louis School.
Longtime Crusaders head football coach Cal Lee is moving to defensive coordinator for the upcoming season.
His brother, Ron Lee, will become head coach, up from offensive coordinator. The two have long been a major part of the success of the Saint Louis program, beginning in the early 1980s.
“Cal wanted to give it up. He wanted more free time,” Ron Lee said via cellphone Tuesday morning. “There’s a lot of things he’s got to do. I’m going to help him with more of the administrative stuff. He’s still going to coach the defense and still be part of the program.”
Glenn Medeiros, the Saint Louis School president, is happy that the changeover won’t be anything drastic and that both men will still be in the fold.”
“We are extremely appreciative of everything Cal and Ron have done for our football program,” Medeiros said Tuesday morning. “Ron has communicated to me that he continues to have the fire to coach and would love to be the head coach of the Saint Louis Crusaders. It’s a great opportunity for Ron to be a head coach. Everybody knows he is amazing. He’s a perfectionist and a detailed person. The kids respect him a lot. This will be really a great thing for us.”
The Crusaders have won the last four Open Division state championships under Cal Lee, who just finished his sixth season in a row and 27th overall as head coach. During that time he is 296-41-5.
Ron Lee was a head coach at Kaiser for the Cougars’ first eight seasons as a varsity program from 1973 to 1980. He went 53-30-1 including an 11-0 season in 1979, capped off by a win in the Prep Bowl over Kamehameha.
“It’s going to take more of my time in the offseason,” Ron Lee said about being front and center as the head coach. “I’ll need to get more involved with the administrative stuff. Things Cal was doing. He doesn’t want to put in that much time. He loves coaching and being part of the school. All these great things are happening to our guys. He loves that, but he wants to spend more time with other things. He’s looking for a break.
“I have to help a little bit more. Close to 300 kids involved with football. We turn everything in to the athletic office and trainers, but they don’t follow up with all of the other stuff. Cal did that. This gives me more headaches. I used to worry about third down and long, now it’s other stuff.
“I was really more into the business side of things besides just coaching. Sometimes when you don’t have to do all that stuff Cal was doing, it was easier to be looser. I know a little bit about what he goes through. It took a lot for years, takes a lot of your time.
Ron Lee loves the shape the program is in, of course, and sees his new role as a challenge, too. One of those challenges will be to replace the starting quarterback and a potent corps of receivers who have graduated.
“Things are going so well,” he said. “The total program at Saint Louis, what these kids are moving on to, the opportunities they are getting, that’s what keeps us involved. Seeing them going off to college, coming back, that’s what is hard to give up. I like the administration, the faculty, it’s really a team atmosphere. That’s what I really enjoy.
“Enrollment is really on the rise. In fact, we’re almost on waiting-list status for a lot of the classes. That’s really a positive, considering what the private schools are going through right now.
“We have a big challenge next year, coaching-wise. Oh my goodness. We lost a lot of good players. This is a challenge for the coaches and the underclassmen coming up. So it’s going to be a fun year. With Cal on board, I can still coach the offense.”
Ron and Cal Lee’s mother, Hazel, died earlier this year.
“She went peacefully with her family by her side,” Ron Lee said. “We spent a lot of time staying with her. At least now that she passed, I have a little more time that I can put in.”
Lee said he would meet with the Saint Louis players for the first time sometime next week.
“It’ll be the same at practice,” he added. “Just got to organize our offseason conditioning. It’s not going to change much.”
Hawaii Prep World’s Nick Abramo contributed to this report.