Lee Leslie steps down as Kahuku head coach after one season
With seven state championship titles, the Kahuku football program has established itself as the most dominant on the islands. But, with three coaches in as many years, the Red Raiders have recently been a team in constant turnover.
After the departure of Lee Leslie, who returned to coach in his native state of Idaho, it was a former Crusader, Vavae Tata who took the helm this season in a move that was welcomed by many of the upperclassmen on the team
"It's different cause he knows what Kahuku's like, he knows what Kahuku's about, he know the teams that play here" said senior defensive back, Keala Santiago.
But, Tata says he's aware of the responsibility that comes with accepting one of the most high profile coaching positions in the state. "I welcome pressure, so Kahuku yes it's a high profile job. But I stand on the shoulder of giants, they played for all the red raiders that have gone on to great futures" said Tata.
The UCLA alum told me his new role as the leader of the red raiders extends beyond the football field he says he's just as concerned about shaping his team to become well rounded young gentlemen and accomplished students in the classroom as his is to lead them to a state championship.
"I expressed this to our coaching staff, we need to see ourselves as teacher first coach second, that falls inline with our student athletes because at the end of the day football is like a gallon of milk it has an expiration date academics will provide for them and their family in the long run."