Tata out as Kahuku football head coach
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Tata out as Kahuku football head coach

  • STAR-ADVERTISER

    Kahuku head coach Vavae Tata smiled from the sideline during the first half of an HHSAA Open Division semifinal football game against the Kapolei Hurricanes on Nov. 11 at Aloha Stadium. Tata is out as Kahuku’s football head coach, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser confirmed from two trusted sources late Thursday night.

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Vavae Tata is out as Kahuku’s football head coach, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser confirmed from two sources late Thursday night.

Calls to Tata, Kahuku principal Donna Lindsey and athletic director Gillian Yamagata were not returned this morning.

One of the sources confirmed that the coach of another Red Raiders sport told his players Thursday that Tata would not return as the school’s football coach.

The two sources, who wanted to remain anonymous because no official announcement has been made, said that Makoa Freitas, an offensive line coach under Tata, has been named the interim head coach and is expected to coach the full 2017 season. Freitas is a former lineman for Kamehameha, the University of Arizona and the Indianapolis Colts. He is the son of Rockne Freitas, a former NFL player who retired as the University of Hawaii-West Oahu chancellor in 2015.

Tata, who took over for Lee Leslie prior to the 2015 season, went 24-2 in his two years as head coach with two appearances in the state final. He led Kahuku to a 13-0 season in 2015 that ended with a 39-14 win over Saint Louis in the Division I state final.

This past season, Kahuku went 11-2 overall and was undefeated against Hawaii teams before losing in the Open Division state final to Saint Louis, 30-14. Tata’s other loss was 35-7 against eventual national champion Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas on Sept. 17.

Tata’s .923 winning percentage is the best of any head coach in Hawaii high school history with at least 25 games coached.

Tata, who played for Saint Louis in high school, moved on to play for UCLA in college and has experience as a college assistant coach at Stanford, UCLA and Vanderbilt.

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  • What is the real story here? Kahuku is way too controlled by the football fans and the players. That si sad as virtually none of them will go anywhere with a football degree. Please. Stress academics. Samoans can do much more than play football and risk their health and wellbeing. They can be lawyers scientists, mathematicians, historians, writers, artists, teachers, etc. as much as any race can. As for Saint Louis, they are little more than a football school and a joke academically. Sad.

    • Allie, Just when I was beginning to think you know a little something about the isle and it’s people, you just retreated back to show me you have no semblance of knowledge about the kind of people that live on the North Shore.
      For one, you do not get a degree in football, and secondly, the students and community are so interwoven with success and the right ideals.
      Allie, you need to get out more. Visit the north shore. Visit the West Side. Speak with the people from these very SCARY areas and then, you might find out how wrong you really are.

      • Kahuku’s academic record may be better than its football record. It is one of the best public schools in Hawaii and that is a product of parents, teachers, and a terrific student body. The school and the community have a culture of achievement in life and academics and not just football.

      • That’s what is being said here. “That si sad as virtually none of them will go anywhere with a football degree.” “They can be lawyers scientists, mathematicians, historians, writers, artists, teachers, etc….”
        There is no football degree so nothing to show if not for academics.

    • Your racist rant has insulted two schools and the people who support them. You’re also too st..id to recognize that many of the players at these schools go on to college due at least in part to the athletic scholarship they earn by playing a sport. They qualified for these scholarships with good grades and test scores. You’d probably be surprised that many of these athletes later become lawyers, scientists, doctors etc. As an employer I can tell you that if I had a choice between a person with perfect grades, who never participated in outside activities like sports versus a person with average grades, but also participated in activities like sports, I would almost always choose the latter.

      • Well, don’t think Kahuku is firing their successful coaches because the players are becoming or not becoming successful professionals outside of football. In fact, I don’t know of a single article ever written about Kahuku’s academic successes or their teachers. It ALWAYS has been about football and the politics surrounding it. Maybe if more people were critical about the shameful behavior up at the North Shore, more academic success would be forthcoming instead of just football players and slave labor entertainers at the Mormon Center.

      • Kahuku students will become the next “Movers and Shakers” of the future. Yep. Movers, as in, hey move that furniture upstairs. Shakers, as in, hey more salt on them fries. STEM? Wazzat?

      • It is racist to suggest that Samoans can be just as successful as any other race when it comes to the professions? That they deserve the best education possible and should not be relegated to making a life through the dangerous sport of football? Ahi….please. Geesh.

      • list all the doctors, lawyers, scientists that kahuku football produced. in fact why don’t you give us the list of all the kahuku football players who went on the D1 football and their college majors. back up what you post with evidence. List the doctors from kahuku football.

    • What are you talking about???? Did you know that the Kahuku is the reigning Speech and Debate club team champion? Future attorneys and teachers and any other profession that they could choose. Where do you get your facts????

        • Not too many articles about any school’s academics. Mostly sports right? My point was that their team goes up against some of the most notable “academic” and mostly private schools in very complicated debate forums, and win consistently. It’s sad that you would so quickly downplay a “club”. There’s more than football to be proud of at Kahuku.

        • Anyone who equates ONE club activity success to academic excellence of the whole educational institution is reaching an “uneducated” conclusion much like an individual who considers this a “negative” comment.

      • You people make comments about the Kahuku community with some hearsay, idiotic comments. The community like any community may have their flaws but family means everything to many in the community. Education is just as important to the students in Kahuku so it’s irritating to read comments demeaning and racist to the community. If you have never lived in the area then keep your prejudices to yourself.

    • Wow Allie. How long have you lived here? Obviously you only know Kahuku because of football, and thus you make erroneous conclusions that insult a large group of family oriented people. You should be ashamed of yourself. We know that you miss Obama and life is hard right now. If you are an educator you are part of the problem and not the solution. I suggest a swift career change, for the kids.

    • You have no idea what the hell you’re writing about to make these ridiculous comments. You’re always shooting off your negatives thoughts with no substance.

    • you STILL around old man? Hows your BS degree (and i aint talking about Bachelor of Science) going at UH old man? Going for your Masters in BS old man? Shaddup already

    • People needs to chill, Tata was a great coach and Kahuku will always have the players to play. Let’s hear his side before judging him. Thank you Mr Tata for coaching at Kahuku. Liberals always got something bad to say.

        • I was replying on Allie’s remark with her liberal out burst, how it ended up on your reply I don’t know. But yes enough liberal on these post think we’re all about Football, I played Golf at Kahuku back in the late 60’s where we dominated the state with coach Baranaba. Yes we love our sports, but education always came first. You’ll be surprise how many of us became very successful as alumni’s of that great school. I’m one of them and I supported them every time they come to the continent for any kind of school event. Tata is a great coach, why he left no one knows and everyone is judging. CHILL and we soon we’ll find out.

  • The final score against Bishop Gorman was 35-7, NOT 42-7 as the write of this article stated. Even I, as a casual fan saw that error as soon as I read it. A little research would be appreciated Nick, it just takes a couple of mouse clicks. As for Tata, he seemed like a great coach based on his wins and losses, but obviously something’s going on behind the scenes that the public doesn’t know about.

    • That call to have Ah Hoy play QB after 3 1/2 quarters of defense was a question. Kid is tired, the regular “jumbo set” was carving yardage. Dam that fumble wasn’t even caused by the defense. Then the 4th and 1, and Maiava goes back to pass? Sack,gave over.

  • Does anyone know if he was forced out or if it was his choice? The article is not clear and alludes to a force out, but just wondering if anyone dialed in knows for sure. mahalo

    • Well, I must say from experience that it’s not only at Kahuku, though I guess because it is Kahuku, and football at that, they have a little bigger profile. We’ve somehow created a culture where parents have too much say. It can be things like how practices are run or even how much playing time your child gets. Sometimes, it can also be going against administrative philosophy which I suspect might be the case here. But, in any case, every school has probably had some degree of this happening to its coaches, and too bad, too, because it’s not as if these coaches are getting paid millions of dollars to do it. Most are really poorly paid volunteers. I know one of our football head coaches told me that the money he made coaching was used to purchase healthy snacks for the players because he knew that some of them hadn’t eaten all day.

      • agree 100% everyone should go watch a pop warner or even a flag football game for youths and see how bad today’s parents are. They go nuts at these youth league games, yelling at their kid and talking crap about other kids on the same team. mother and fathers walking around with tattoos and wannbe gangsta image.
        Great parent models for their kids to follow. Just like that all star football game turned into a MMA match in the stands. Parents are the worse. you know what i’m talking about!! no class, no education, ghetto to the max

  • Not surprised at all! Coach Tata will be coaching at a D1 College Football program next season after his 2 year sabbatical leave at Kahuku. I didn’t expect him to be committed to Kahuku long term but will be valuable to any college as a recruiter. He’s been linked to several collegiate job openings according to message boards.

  • What?
    You would hire a C student over a straight A student?
    No ways your a owner, and if you are then you have plenty of workers to hire from, because all the straight A students are already working for your competition.

  • That principal and A.D., my opinion is they are a pair of real control freaks, power trippers. Why so many coaches being dismissed? My way of the highway mentality is what I bet. Why say you, people?

  • Sounds like more internal POLITICS @ Kahuku HS behind closed doors … their Principal needs to be held to a higher standard in situations like this … or they, the powers there @ Kahuku, are afraid that if the truth comes out the Coach would be in a better position to defend himself … Siuaki Livai, Reggie Torres, all very successful Coaches let go … makes me say H-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m !!!!!