That didn’t take very long.
Less than two months after Kamehameha chose not to retain Joe Cho as girls varsity basketball coach, Roosevelt has hired him. Cho’s team at Kamehameha was a regular in the Star-Advertiser Top 10 and contended for the ILH title during his four seasons. The Warriors were 17-6 overall, including 8-5 in league play, but did not qualify for the state tourney out of the tough ILH.
At Roosevelt, Cho steps into a situation that could be fertile for success. Last year, Roosevelt Athletic Director John Chung stepped in as interim coach, assisted by boys varsity coach Steve Hathaway, after then-head coach Chad Kaihe resigned. Kaihe’s departure came after an incident involving a player’s parent in the parking lot of Sacred Hearts Academy, moments after the team played a preseason tournament game.
Cho will meet with his new AD, and then his team, later this week.
“I’m just excited I get to coach again and build a program. This will test my coaching ability,” he said. “I know they had some problems with the parent and the coach (last season). I’m open-minded. I’m going to coach them and get them to be the best they can be. I know with Hinano (Higa), they had some great years.”
Cho coached in Oregon for nearly three decades before returning to his alma mater, McKinley, as head football coach. Later, he stepped down and became the girls hoops coach at Kamehameha. Roosevelt is a familiar place for Cho, who has three siblings that graduated as Rough Riders.
“I’m excited to get back into the public schools where I belong,” Cho said. “I was supposed to go to Roosevelt. I was kind of on the border. We lived just below Punchbowl Street, but I picked McKinley only because I played Pop Warner football with a lot of guys that went to McKinley. I have two sisters and an older brother who graduated from Roosevelt. When I played Roosevelt, I saw a lot of friends I had at Kawananakoa. I’m kind of making the cycle, I guess. I coached at my high school and now I’m going to coach at my siblings’ high school.”
Despite the turmoil last season, Roosevelt won the OIA Division II crown and ousted Hawaii Baptist at the state tourney before losing to eventual D-II state champ Kamehameha-Hawaii.
Cho’s team at Kamehameha reached the D-I state tourney in 2017, when the Warriors defeated Kahuku and OIA champion Farrington before falling to eventual state champion Konawaena in the semifinal round.