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.