Simon Bitanga will not be back as the Kaiser girls basketball coach, trusted sources told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii Prep World on Friday.
During the winter season, Bitanga had been suspended from his duties temporarily, pending two investigations into wrongdoing by the Department of Education. Before the end of the season, Bitanga returned as the head coach and led the Cougars to a state-tournament appearance, even though the investigations had not been completed.
Last week, according to the sources, Bitanga received a certified letter from Kaiser principal Justin Mew saying that the program will be going in a different direction. No specific reasons for going in a different direction were given in the letter. It is not clear if the decision was based on the investigations or not.
Calls to Bitanga and Department of Education spokesperson Lindsay Chambers were not returned as of Friday afternoon. Kaiser athletic director Bryan Almadova declined a request for a comment.
According to sources at the time of Bitanga’s suspension, the investigations concerned “conduct” and “civil rights.” Some of the Kaiser parents who lodged the initial complaints have told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii Prep World that they were prepared to go to court if Bitanga was not released. The parents were waiting for the situation to be resolved before talking to the press about the specific reasons for the complaints, but it is not known if they will do so now.
The girls basketball coaching situation at Kaiser destabilized even more in March, when junior varsity coach Jaime Nerona was dismissed for undisclosed reasons.
The Kaiser administration will be posting the varsity girls basketball opening in the near future, sources said. The school is also looking for a head coach in football. Last week, Cameron Higgins stepped down after two years as head coach.