Cal Lee is returning as coach at Saint Louis School, the post where he engineered the longest dynasty in state high school football history.
Lee will also be a post-grad counselor at the all-boys’ Catholic school. An official announcement from the school is expected Tuesday, but Lee finalized details with administration officials this afternoon and is expected to start work immediately.
Lee replaces Matt Wright, who was fired in December after two seasons. Saint Louis finished 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the ILH last season, with the two losses coming against fellow Interscholastic League of Honolulu rivals Kamehameha and Punahou. The Crusaders last won the state championship in 2010.
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Lee, 67, is the winningest high school football coach in state history at 241-32-5, all at Saint Louis where he was previously head coach in 1971 and 1982 to 2001. He returns to where his teams won 14 consecutive Prep Bowl and state championships. Lee also won 55 consecutive games from 1985 to 1990. He is leaving his alma mater, Kalani, where he has been defensive coordinator the past two seasons.
"I want to thank Saint Louis and I am truly humbled and grateful for this opportunity," Lee said, in a text to the Star-Advertiser. "The first order of business will be putting together a staff and meeting with the players. Although I’m sad to leave Kalani, I’m excited to be going back to another home, the place that gave me my start in coaching."
Lee’s brother, Ron, will join him at Saint Louis as offensive coordinator. Ron Lee has been the OC at Kalani since 2010 and also held that post at the University of Hawaii and Saint Louis, and was head coach at Kaiser.
After leaving Saint Louis in 2001, Cal Lee was head coach of the AFL2 Hawaiian Islanders and linebackers coach and defensive coordinator at UH. He was among the assistant coaches not retained when head coach Norm Chow took over at UH in 2012.
In 2000, Lee was named football coach of the year by the National Federation of State High School Associations. He received a similar honor from The Sporting News in 1995. "Cal is to be credited for bringing Hawaii high school football to national prominence," Keith Amemiya, then executive director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association, said in 2001. "He is respected by by his peers because his teams are always well prepared."
The dynasty at Saint Louis included some controversy, including players drinking and damaging hotel rooms after a game in Las Vegas, and ILH teams electing to forfeit rather than play the Crusaders because of competitive imbalance and criticism for what some considered an over emphasis on football at the school.