HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
There are few high school football jobs in the state that carry a profile just as high as the UH head coaching position.
Kahuku is one of them.
And after two coaches in two years, the school announced Tuesday morning that Vavae Tata has been selected as the next leader of the Red Raiders.
The 38-year-old comes to La'ie after experience as an assistant at Vanderbilt, Stanford and UCLA.
He hopes to re-instill stability to a squad that's seen a lot of turnover recently with two coaches since 2013 in Lee Leslie and Reggie Torres.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Tata is a 1994 graduate of St. Louis school and knows the physical identity of Kahuku football.
As a defensive line specialist, he says he plans to maintain that punch on both sides of the ball.
On his list of goals is win state titles and send his players to d1 programs.
"I mean it should be state championships," said Tata. "Like I said, with the talent we have out there. It's a gold mine out there. It's just a matter of putting our student athletes in the position to be successful. It's about teaching, coaching, mentoring our kids and having them not only seeing it within their position, but seeing the whole picture, the total package."
Kahuku hired Tata despite multiple legal issues during his time away from Hawaii.
Last February, he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in Tennessee and was suspended for the entire year from the Vanderbilt staff.
That was his second DUI conviction after also being arrested during his playing days at UCLA in 1997.
He says he's learned from his mistakes and plans to use his past as a teaching point to his young players.
"There's two things that you can do when you face adversity," Tata said. "You can either throw in the towel and call it quits and fold or you can move forward and learn from it and grow from it and I chose the latter. And I think that I can relate and I can share my experiences with the kids, not only with the legal aspects of it, but also most importantly the academics."
Tata plans to put together a staff as soon as possible.