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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, May 14, 2004

Delbert Tengan back as Saint Louis football coach

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By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer


The more things change, the more they stay the same for Saint Louis School's prodigious football program.

At least that's how it seems on Kalaepohaku's rugged slope, especially after yesterday's announcement that Delbert Tengan is returning to fill a head coaching vacancy caused by Darnell Arceneaux's resignation on May 5 after one season.

Tengan was the head coach in 2002, taking over for the legendary Cal Lee but stepping down four months after winning the state championship.

Then Arceneaux, a former Saint Louis quarterback, guided the Crusaders to their 18th consecutive Interscholastic League of Honolulu title.

Arceneaux resigned last week, citing the lack of a full-time position on campus, and Tengan was immediately approached by athletic director Todd Los Ba–os. He accepted the offer yesterday morning.

"I'm very happy," said junior receiver Shane Perry, referring to Tengan's return. "He was the coach my sophomore year, and I didn't think he would come back. But even though the coaches change, the tradition is the main thing."

That tradition appears to be in good hands with Tengan, who will bring back most of his 2002 assistants.

"When Todd asked me to consider coming back, the major deciding factor was if I would be able to assemble a quality staff," said Tengan, who had been an assistant to Lee for 15 years. "I've basically been able to bring back almost everybody who was on the 2002 staff, and we've added some new faces as well. I really feel this staff was A-1 quality, and now we have a nice blend of experienced guys and some bright young coaches, too."

Tengan said offensive coordinator Vince Passas will return, as will longtime assistants Sam Downey, Reid Hasegawa, Shawn Kalima and Bill Duarte. Former Crusaders Craig Stutzmann, John Hao, Jacob Yoro, Pulou Malepeai and Junior Wong also will join Tengan's staff.

"I'm real happy we've got a lot of guys who played in the program, who can relay their experience to our players and keep the tradition going," said Tengan, who graduated from Kailua but has taught and coached at Saint Louis since 1983. "They all know the football expectations that were set by Cal."

Tengan also is the head coach for the Crusaders' varsity basketball team and cited the workload of guiding both programs as one of the reasons he stepped down in 2002. But he said he is better prepared this time to take on the double duty.

"After experiencing one year of that, I think I've got a better handle on how to do it," Tengan said. "Plus, I definitely missed football, that's the thing. After coaching football for 16 years, I felt it was time to take a break and I never thought I'd come back this fast. But I did some radio work (for ILH football) last season and enjoyed it, and I stayed in touch."

Los Ba–os said when Arceneaux announced his resignation, Tengan's was the first name he thought of as a successor.

"He's someone who is right here in the Saint Louis family, and the kids see him every day," Los Ba–os said. "It was not easy or a given that he would come back, but I'm very pleased he did and I really like the staff he picked. It's not too much of a change for the kids ... they know what will be expected of them."

Aaron Bain, a junior receiver, said he was disappointed when Arceneaux stepped down but his spirits were uplifted with yesterday's announcement.

"We were clueless, we didn't know who the next coach was going to be," Bain said. "But Coach Tengan and those assistants, they know the system real well so I think this is good news. We were kind of hoping we could keep something going every year, and it's good they picked someone quick instead of dragging it out."

Last year, Arceneaux was not hired until June 23, barely a week before the summer pass league started. With new interleague games added to this fall's schedule, there is a more pressing need to have everything in place early.

"We gotta play (state champion) Kahuku the first game," Perry said, " so we better get started."

Reach Wes Nakama at wnakama@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2456.