HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Former University of Hawai'i and University of California defensive lineman, and 2002 KS Kapalama graduate, Albert "Abu" Ma'afala, has been named Athletic Relations Associate and Head Football Coach at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama, KSK Athletic Director Glennie Adams announced today.
Ma'afala comes to KS after gaining a lot of experience in the collegiate ranks, including five years as an assistant coach at West Liberty University in West Virginia. While at West Liberty, Ma'afala fulfilled a few roles, including special teams coordinator, linebackers, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends/H-backs coach, while also serving as a faculty member in the Exercise Physiology program at the university.
"My family and I are extremely blessed and humbled for the chance to return not only to Hawai'i, but to Kamehameha Kapalama as well," said Ma'afala. "This school is special to me because Pauahi's legacy has forever changed the trajectory of my life. My wife and I look forward to being active participants in that same journey for our current and future student-athletes."
In 2013 and 2014, Ma'afala was selected to participate in the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship, a program designed to target promising minority coaches across the country to increase the number of full-time minority coaches in the NFL. He spent both preseasons on a coaching internship in training camp with the NFL's Carolina Panthers.
Ma'afala started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Louisville (UL) from 2008-10, working on the defensive side of the ball under former UL head coaches Steve Kragthorpe and Charlie Strong, currently the head coach at the University of Texas.
"We are excited about Albert joining our staff as our Athletics Relations Associate and Head Coach of our football program," Adams added. "His excitement to fulfill the kuleana associated with both positions will benefit all student-athletes at Kamehameha. His passion for the game of football will undoubtedly rub off on our players."
The Kalihi native was an all-state and all-ILH defensive lineman while at KS Kapalama, and signed with the University of Hawai'i after high school. In two years at UH, Ma'afala played in 19 games, amassing 22 tackles and 2.5 sacks, highlighted by a 32-yard interception return for a touchdown his freshman year, coming off Eastern Illinois quarterback, and current Dallas Cowboy, Tony Romo.
Ma'afala then transferred to the University of California, where he played two seasons, playing 24 games with 16 starts, getting 40 total tackles and 2.5 sacks. After his senior year, Ma'afala was selected to play in the 2007 Hula Bowl.
Ma'afala earned his American Studies degree from Cal-Berkeley and then added a master's degree in Exercise Physiology from Louisville. He is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in Adapted Physical Education from the University of Hawai'i. He and his wife, Marleina, have a son (Levi, 11) and a daughter (Lanei, 8). He replaces Doug Cosbie, who stepped down from the positions in January.