HONOLULU – University of Hawai‘i head football coach Norm Chow announced the hiring of Chris Naeole, a Kahuku High School graduate and 11-year NFL veteran, as an offensive assistant coach.
"Chris is a great addition to our coaching staff," Chow said. "He brings instant credibility, having spent a number of years playing at the highest level. He has name recognition and that will only help us in recruiting. He has a bright mind for the game and tremendous coaching future. We're lucky to have him."
Naeole, a 1992 Kahuku High School graduate, played collegiately at Colorado, where he was a consensus All-American as a senior in 1996. He was a three-year starter for the Buffs and only allowed one sack over his career.
Raised in Ka‘a‘awa, O‘ahu, Naeole became the state of Hawai‘i's highest draft pick, having been selected by the New Orleans Saints with the 10th overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft. He spent 11 years playing for both the Saints (1997-2001) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2002-08) before an injury ended his career in the middle of the 2007 season. He missed only one NFL game due to injury and started 150 of 154 career games.
Following his playing career, Naeole began coaching. He's spent the past three years as the defensive line coach at ‘Iolani School under head coach Wendell Look. He has also participated in NFL summer internships with the Jaguars and Green Bay Packers in recent years as well as guest coaching appearances at clinics and camps throughout Hawai‘i, New Orleans, and Jacksonville.
Naeole earned All-America honors as a senior at Kahuku. He garnered first-team accolades by Prep Football Report, second-team from Blue Chip Report and honorable mention from USA Today. In addition to playing offensive guard, he was a defensive tackle for the Red Raiders and recorded 56 tackles, five sacks, eight passes deflected, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries as a senior.
From there, Naeole signed with Colorado, where he was a two-time first-team all-Big 12 pick. He played on four bowl teams – including a 1993 Aloha Bowl victory over Fresno State – and was a starter on the Fiesta and Cotton bowl winning teams.
Naeole and his wife, Tara, have two children; Azure and Christian, and reside in Honolulu.