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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 1, 2002

Tengan won't lead St. Louis football

By Dennis Anderson
Advertiser Staff Writer

Defensive coordinator Delbert Tengan has turned down the offer of St. Louis School to replace legendary football coach Cal Lee.

Tengan said he hoped Lee would reconsider his retirement and remain head coach of the team he has led to 16 straight Interscholastic League of Honolulu championships and national prominence.

But Lee, who also is athletic director at St. Louis and in charge of the search for his own replacement, said last night that he was not a candidate.

"We'll just open it up and see who wants to take on the challenge," Lee said. "We'll take applications for a couple of weeks and try to get someone in place by the end of March."

Tengan, an assistant to Lee for 15 years, was given until yesterday to accept the job. He said yesterday, "I asked Cal this week to take my name out of consideration for head football coach."

Tengan, 41, is also head basketball coach at St. Louis and indicated that uneasiness of the school administration over his being head coach of both sports was part of the reason he declined. "I would love to do both but there was concern on their part," he said.

He said he does not want to give up coaching basketball because "I had some goals in mind that I wanted for the program and we haven't reached them all yet."

St. Louis hasn't won a state basketball championship since 1986 and "that's one of my goals," Tengan said. "If I left basketball I would fall short of that goal."

St. Louis was ILH champion and state basketball runner-up in Tengan's first year as coach in 2000.

"It definitely was an honor to be considered for a program so rich in tradition and I thanked Cal for his endorsement," Tengan said. "I also would like to thank the players and fellow assistant coaches who supported me."

Lee, head coach at St. Louis for 21 years, announced last July 8 that he would retire at the end of the 2001 season, saying simply, "It's time."