Joe Cho‘s girls basketball team won a ton of games in his four seasons at Kamehameha.
He won’t be back for a fifth. Cho confirmed on Friday afternoon that he has not been retained as coach. Kamehameha was 17-6 overall in the recently completed season, including 8-5 in ILH play.
Cho met with Associate Athletic Director Keoni Haole recently for a postseason evaluation meeting and was told that the school and the coach would “go their separate ways.”
Bob Benham was the associate AD who hired Cho, but later retired.
“We had great understanding of the direction for the program,” Cho said. “(Haole) and I just didn’t see eye to eye.”
One of issues came in the offseason, when Cho was in the process of bringing in a new Intermediate coach.
“I had people in mind, season hadn’t begun yet. There was no deadline,” Cho said.
He said Haole wanted a quicker hire and wound up making the decision.
“I got a little upset and told him flat out that’s my job. I think that set the tone for rest of year,” Cho said.
Another issue surfaced during preseason when Cho kept some sophomores on the varsity team. A few of the JV assistants complained to Haole, who agreed with them that the 10th graders belonged on the JV team.
“I told him this is how it’s always been. I kept the sophomores and it didn’t go well with him,” Cho said. “He’d rather have them down there in JV playing than learning with me.”
Cho doesn’t have regrets about the disagreements. He said he respects Haole and the administration, and that parting ways was inevitable.
“I still think it would’ve happened even if we won ILH and state,” he said.
He already misses his players, including Star-Advertiser All-State selection Kalina Obrey.
“My assistant coaches said you owe it to Kalina to stick around for one more year,” he said of his mind-set before the evaluation meeting. “I walked out, I was at peace. I’ve done what I could do. We proved we could win up there. We were the only Oahu team that beat Maryknoll in four years. I think we had a shot to win it next year. ‘Iolani should be the favorite. Maryknoll will be good, and maybe Kamehameha. Kalina will always play hard.”
Cho hopes to have another chance to be a head coach next season.
“I’m for coaching and doing my best wherever I am,” he said. “I’ll look around.”