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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 9:59 a.m., Thursday, July 11, 2002

Former UH coach to join Kamehameha Schools

Advertiser Staff

Bob Wagner, who spent 19 years coaching football at the University of Hawai'i, is returning to the state as athletic director of the Kamehameha Schools East Hawai'i campus.

"My family and I are excited to come back to Hawai'i, which we have always considered home," Wagner said today.

He leaves an $85,000-a-year position as assistant head coach of the University of Texas-El Paso football team to operate the athletic program of the year-old campus in Puna.

Details of his contract were not immediately available.

The 300-acre Big Island campus has a $225 million physical plant and will enter limited competition in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation this fall. The school expects to field a limited number of varsity and junior varsity sports this year and add to the offerings in subsequent years.

"The people and the facilities are all first class and I'm excited about being there," Wagner said. "It is more like a small college than a high school."

Wagner was 58-49-3 in nine seasons as the Rainbows' head coach between 1987 and '95, winning the school's first Western Athletic Conference championship in football in 1992. Prior to that he spent a decade as an assistant to Dick Tomey.

Under Wagner, UH made its first two NCAA bowl appearances, the Aloha Bowl in 1989 and the Holiday Bowl in 1992. The 11-2 finish in 1992 marked the school's only Top 20 finish in the polls.

He was fired after the 1995 season and later spent two years as an assistant coach at Arizona before joining UTEP in 2001.