Fred Salanoa will remember the titles, but he’s more proud of the boys he coached than the hardware.
Before stepping down on Monday, Salanoa spent 13 seasons as the head coach at Radford, where he led the Rams to the state Division II championship and the OIA D-II regular-season and playoff titles this season. His Rams also won the league D-II crown in 2005.
Salanoa spoke glowingly about the players who he’s coached that have returned to make a difference. Some of them have returned as assistants.
Ramsey Feagai, Bronson Leafa, Ryan Burciaga and his nephew Thor Salanoa Jr. are four players who are now coaches with the Rams varsity or junior varsity teams.
“It’s refreshing and rewarding to to see players that I’ve coached return to help out our community or be part of the football program,” Salanoa said Monday morning after making his departure official with athletic director Kelly Sur.
He also mentioned former player Ian Scheuring, who has helped with the Rams’ staff in the past and is now a Hawaii News Now sportscaster.
“To see that they graduate from college, start their own families, become teachers, have a solid job and are giving back — that’s why we coach, we are trying to help them pave the way and help draw the blueprint for their future.”
Salanoa did not rule out becoming an assistant coach.
“I love being with the players and I love the X’s and O’s,” he said. “I’m leaving it open.”
He does not plan to be a head coach again, at least anytime soon. Instead, he wants to open up more of his time to his wife and seven daughters.
Salanoa, a 1996 Radford graduate and former Rams quarterback, also believes the program is in good shape. Lots of players return from this year’s state-title team, and the JV team defeated Nanakuli won its second straight OIA D-II title this season.