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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Kobayashi resigns as coach at Waimea

By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer

Jon Kobayashi, one of the most successful coaches in Hawai'i high school football history, has stepped down from his coaching position at Waimea.

Kobayashi, 34, said he wants to devote more time to his family and also plans to work toward professional development. He and his wife, Leila, have a son and are expecting another child next month. Kobayashi teaches special motivation at Waimea, but said his earnings are limited because he has only the minimum bachelor's degree.

"I never did have a chance to go back to school, so I'm still at the bottom of the totem pole," Kobayashi said. "I want to start picking up some more credits."

Liko Pereira, Waimea's JV head coach this past season, has been promoted to take Kobayashi's place.

"I'm pretty excited, but nervous too because it's a big job," said Pereira, a 1989 Waimea graduate whose father, Pat, was the Menehune's head coach in the late 1980s. "It's definitely big shoes to fill."

Since Kobayashi took over in 1993, Waimea has compiled a 58-2-1 record in the Kaua'i Interscholastic Federation and won 10 consecutive championships. It went undefeated in nine of those regular seasons.

In three of the past four state quarterfinals, the undersized and undermanned Menehune upset an O'ahu Interscholastic Association runner-up, beating Kailua in 1999 and this season, and Castle in 2001. All four of Waimea's state tournament losses have come to the eventual champion.

Under Kobayashi's tenure, the Menehune also beat Punahou, Leilehua (twice), Waiakea, Maui, Radford and Konawaena. Kobayashi's overall record is 75-16-1.

Kobayashi said stepping down "was a difficult decision" but added he is comfortable with what is being left behind.

"Nobody is indispensible," he said. "I felt it was the perfect time to go. We've got a good crop of kids coming back, so (Pereira) is gonna have something to work with."

Kobayashi said he and his staff are grateful for the support the program received from West Kaua'i, and added he won't drift too far away.

"I'll still be here if they need help," Kobayashi said. "I still bleed blue."