Kaimuki High mum on why football coach was ousted weeks before season starts
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Just weeks before the start of the Oahu Interscholastic Association football season, the Kaimuki Bulldogs fired their program’s longtime head coach.
The school did not say why David Tautofi was terminated.
But in an interview Tuesday with Hawaii News Now, Tautofi claims his contract was not renewed because of disagreements with Kaimuki administrators on a number of issues.
“They felt that I was speaking above them, going above their administration when it really had nothing to do with them or the school level,” Tautofi said. “We’re talking about statewide.”
The last time Tautofi coached the Bulldogs, he led the program to the 2019 OIA Division 2 title.
During the sport’s pandemic layoff, he says neither he nor his staff were included in any discussions on how to resume the season.
So when he met with state Department of Education officials on his own, he believes Kaimuki’s principal and athletic director were offended.
“On a school level, I’m held to this expectation as a coach not to speak much about it or not be able to, even to make a phone call to the superintendent myself,” Tautofi said.
“That’s almost a no-no for OIA coaches and why? I’m not sure.”
Tautofi says he’s proposed a number of ideas to Kaimuki’s staff and the DOE including, adding an extra year of eligibility for seniors who missed the 2020 season and a longer preseason training window for coaches and players.
He also did not agree with widespread vaccination mandates for student-athletes.
“The concern is not the vaccines itself,” Tautofi said. “If that happens, it happens. But it’s just the divisive idea of still trying to stick it with athletics. Everyone else can do biweekly testing, they’re still considering athletics to be mandatory vaccinations and there’s still not enough justification to do that.”
Next month, the OIA is heading for its first football season since 2019 and Tautofi is skeptical the year will begin without any hitches as he says the school isn’t fully prepared.
“They’re still trying to put together forms and still trying to give answers to families who are still asking questions,” Tautofi said. “All this time that we’ve given these kids off and delayed and it’s still very concerning that we are not on top of things.”
HNN has reached out multiple times to Kaimuki High administration and their athletic director for a comment, but did not receive a response.
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