Bryson Carvalho has been gone for less than a year, but Waipahu High School truly missed him.
So much so, that when the head coaching position for the football team opened up, Carvalho, 30, applied and was hired.
“Serving as head coach at my alma mater has been a dream of mine for a long time,” he said. “I’m just really excited and blessed that I have the opportunity to serve and give back to my school and community.”
Carvalho, who was an assistant coach for 11 years, is currently on the mainland completing his bachelor’s degree. He started life after high school with ambitions of becoming a chef. Then he got a taste of coaching and teaching — educational assistant was among his varied roles at Waipahu — and diverted his attention to education.
Culinary school’s loss is the Waipahu youth community’s gain. For years, Carvalho was in charge of the Waipahu Marauders Youth Football program, which kept players busy in the fall and spring with island-wide competition.
Carvalho will get his degree within “a few years”. In the fall semester, he was a full-time college student and working 13-hour days as a restaurant manager at a Marriott hotel in La Jolla, Calif. That’s a 45-minute drive south daily to work, and his school campus is 25 minutes north of his home.
He’ll return to Oahu in time for a team meeting on Tuesday. He’ll re-transplant back to the islands permanently in late January. Carvalho plans to finish his degree online.
“I’m definitely looking forward to less travel and getting back home,” Carvalho said. “I plan to stay at Waipahu a long time.”
As a longtime assistant to then head coach Sean Saturnio, who is now an assistant coach at Army, Carvalho was a special teams coordinator, then an assistant JV coach. Under former coach Eric Keola, he was JV head coach, then varsity offensive coordinator before departing for California last year.
Waipahu was known for its spread option attack under Saturnio. Carvalho intends to be progressive and flexible.
“I’m probably going to run a little bit of (spread option), but we’ll also run some shotgun. I have been in contact with Sean and they’ve made improvements to it at Army, but I also want to see who we’ve got. If we’ve got a guy who can throw the ball down the field to his receivers, we’ll throw the ball. If we got a great runner like Victor Moananu, we’ll run the ball down the other team’s throat,” Carvalho said.
Moananu was a 5-foot-7, 210-pound beast-mode rusher in 2009 and ’10. He still holds three of the top four single-game rushing totals in school history: 214 yards against Kalaheo, 214 yards against Nanakuli and 207 yards against Waianae.
Carvalho is well aware of the exodus of talent from various communities in recent years. Waipahu has lost its share of players who transferred to other programs. He hopes to reverse the trend.
“It’s a priority. We want kids to stay at Waipahu and have a sense of pride in their community. Waipahu’s a huge place and everybody works hard. The kids have something special about them,” Carvalho said. “I want them to feel pride about where they come from.”