Saints rescind offer to Papali'i
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
Saint Louis School appeared to have a new football coach in place Friday morning, only to have the deal fall apart by late afternoon.
Sam Papali'i — a former longtime college assistant and Kealakehe head coach from 2001 through 2005 — was offered the job Friday morning and accepted, but the offer was withdrawn later that afternoon.
"After further consideration, we talked some more and decided it would be better to go in a different direction," Saint Louis athletic director Ed Paola said yesterday.
Papali'i said new information was provided to Saint Louis administrators Friday about his tenure at Kealakehe, including a 2004 incident in which he walked onto the field during a game against Hilo to address officials about numerous personal fouls by Hilo players.
"To be honest, I had forgotten about it and failed to mention it in the (Saint Louis) interview," Papali'i said. "I wasn't suspended for it; it was an emotional moment because I thought (the Vikings) were taking cracks at my team, including my son. Everybody makes mistakes."
Papali'i, a 1975 Saint Louis graduate, described yesterday's turn of events as going from "the bright side to a hurricane." After accepting Paola's offer around 10:30 a.m. Friday, he was called back in for a second interview at 3 p.m. and was told the offer was withdrawn at about 5.
"I was shocked," he said. "I felt this was the perfect situation for me, and I was so happy about being able to give back to my alma mater. I was looking forward to getting started on my journey."
Papali'i said things began to turn sour Friday afternoon, as word of his hire began to spread among parents and alumni. He said people started calling the Saint Louis administration about the move.
"I think someone was trying to sabotage me," he said.
Paola said he would not discuss any other candidates at this time.
Saint Louis quarterback Marcus Mariota and receiver Duke Bukoski each ranked among the top performers yesterday at the NIKE SPARQ Combine in Long Beach, Calif.
More than 1,000 athletes were tested in the 40-yard dash (laser timed), vertical jump, power all throw and pro agility shuttle. Results were electronically tabulated and athletes received a SPARQ rating that can be compared to other athletes across the nation. NIKE sponsors more than a dozen such combines across the country.
Bukoski, an Advertiser All-State selection last year, had a SPARQ rating of 105.33, ranking him at No. 12 among all receivers at the time and in the top 50 among all athletes, regardless of position.
Mariota, who is expected to be the Crusaders' starting quarterback next season, posted a SPARQ rating of 101.73, ranking him in the top 10 among all quarterbacks.
Bukoski and Mariota are both juniors.
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