Football coach to be hired soon
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
New Saint Louis School athletic director Ed Paola said yesterday the Crusaders' football head coach job is officially vacant and he expects to have the position filled by sometime next week.
After former athletic director Ulima Afoa was let go on Feb. 19 and new principal Pat Hamamoto was introduced on Feb. 22, the school asked coaches of the fall and winter sports to submit "courtesy letters of resignation," to allow the incoming AD a chance to assess the programs and hire each head coach individually.
Paola, who was hired as AD on Monday, said through school spokeswoman Jodi Anne Yoshida that he planned to contact all fall and winter head coaches to update them on their status.
John Hao, who has been head football coach the past two seasons, said yesterday morning he did not submit a courtesy letter of resignation and was waiting to hear from the school before deciding whether to re-apply. Hao had planned to start the team's offseason conditioning program on March 1, but was told before then "to cease all training" until a new AD was hired.
Paola said the school already has received resumes for the football coaching position, but he had yet to review any of them as of yesterday morning. He will retain his duties as physical science/biology teacher and senior class advisor through May.
Scott Gonsalves, who had served as interim AD, will continue to assist with athletic director responsibilities.
Paola said it is "a top priority to hire a football coach" quickly, but said it is even more important to "find the right person."
"We hope to do it in a week, but if it takes longer to make the process work, then we'll do that to make sure we have the right person," he said.
Paola, 49, is originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., and has more than 20 years of administrative experience in education, including a position as athletic director at Assembly Christian School in New Iberia, La. He has spent the past five years at Saint Louis — as a science teacher, science department chair, summer school director and senior class advisor.
He also has coached JV baseball and intermediate golf for the Crusaders, and has 12 years of coaching experience overall.
"I believe in our school and in our kids," Paola said. "I want the kids to do their best, I think they can do well."
Paola described his management style as "hands-on."
"I'm going to be involved," he said. "I think athletics should enhance the school, not the other way around. I think the coaches should be disciplinarians and mentors and hold the kids accountable for their actions. I want our coaches to be there for the kids."
Paola said he is pleased with the varsity baseball program, and not just because the Crusaders are 9-1 and Interscholastic League of Honolulu first-round champion.
"I've been to about five games, and I'm very happy with what I see," Paola said. "The coaches are never negative, they're always positive. They talk to the players, instead of talking at them."
In a statement, Saint Louis president Walter Kirimitsu said Paola's military background — he served eight years in the U.S. Army Reserves, completing Army Ranger, Airborne and Air Assault Schools — also was a factor in his hiring.
Hamamoto added, "Based on his obvious support, dedication and commitment, we knew he would be able to connect with our student-athletes and their parents."
Read his blog on high school sports at http://preptalk.honadvblogs.com