HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For a head coach who has spent little more than a month on the job, you would think returning to Kapalama just in time for spring ball would be a big challenge, and you would be right. But for Abu Ma'afala, it hasn't been the biggest one.
"You know, my Hawaiian is a little shoddy, man," the Warriors new head coach said. "I've been gone for 12 years. So that first day when I was going through the roster, it was tough trying to say all those Hawaiian names. But it's been a great week. I'm very impressed."
The Warriors wrapped up their first week on the field last week, a good start under new leadership.
"It's been really good man, these kids impressed me with the way they were able to practice, and stay up, and guys not get hurt," Ma'afala said. "They're like sponges right now, hungry to learn, and that's been the most encouraging thing."
After months of wondering who would get the job, players like defensive end Andrew Aleki are glad Ma'afala is in charge.
"It was a pretty weird transition, not just for myself, but for the whole team," the junior defensive lineman said. "Since Coach Abu has been coming in, it's been pretty good. He's really into the program."
"He's very hands on," junior quarterback Justice Young said of his new head coach. "He'll get on you, but you know that it's in the right intentions."
Ma'afala's next intention? Move his family back to Hawaii from West Virginia, before returning for the Warriors summer program.