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Star-Bulletin Sports


Friday, September 21, 2001


[ UH FOOTBALL ]



UH Football


Nevada coach,
captain have Hawaii
connections

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By Dave Reardon
dreardon@starbulletin.com

RENO, Nev. >> One thought he wanted to be a bank executive instead of a coach. The other was supposed to dance hula rather than knock heads with defensive tackles.

But former Hawaii defensive back Kim McCloud and ex-Waianae offensive lineman Kika Kaululaau ended up here. They are key figures in the 0-2 Nevada football team's hopes for this season as it opens Western Athletic Conference play against UH tomorrow at Mackay Stadium.

McCloud is the Wolf Pack's secondary coach and head coach Chris Tormey describes Kaululaau as his best offensive lineman.

After two years in the CFL, McCloud returned to Hawaii and put his economics degree to use. He worked at a local bank; he was a budding executive. He married a local girl, Renee. He appeared set.

"That wasn't a surprise because he was always interested in business," said UH associate head coach George Lumpkin, who was on the Hawaii staff when McCloud played for the Rainbows from 1987 to 1990.

But McCloud surprised himself. He went to help coach football at Kaiser High School, mostly as a favor to former Rainbows teammate Tony Gayer.

The coaching bug bit, and it wasn't long before McCloud was dumping spread sheets for playbooks.



Ex-Waianae offensive lineman Kika Kaululaau.



"I found I really liked working with young people, helping them improve," McCloud said. "Then it just went from there."

His first taste of college coaching came as a graduate assistant at Missouri in 1997. Then Tormey, who was the head coach at Idaho at the time, hired McCloud. Two years ago, Tormey got the Nevada job, and he brought McCloud with him.

"He's a bright young coach," Tormey said. "And of course it helped that we worked together before."

McCloud's defensive backs are young, too. The 33-year-old is mentoring two freshman starters and a sophomore and a junior. None of the 10 DBs listed on the Nevada depth chart are seniors.

"We're young, but I think we've got some talent," McCloud said. "But any time you go up against an offense like the run-and-shoot it's going to put pressure on your secondary, no matter how experienced they are.

"The problem with trying to stop them is that some teams might have a guy like (UH receiver) Ashley Lelie, and maybe you can double-team him," McCloud said. "But you can't do that with UH, because if you concentrate on stopping him, (Craig) Stutzmann or one of the other two are going to get you.

"(Hawaii coach) June (Jones) does a great job of not showing any tendencies, so you don't know which guy is going to get you when."

While McCloud is important to Nevada's attempts to slow down Hawaii's offense, Kaululaau will try to help the Wolf Pack put the ball into the end zone against a Warriors defense that allowed only one touchdown by Montana two weeks ago.

"I have a lot of respect for Hawaii," the 6-foot, 329-pound senior left guard said. "But I think our offense is just as good. Our quarterback (David Neill) can throw the ball like (UH's Tim) Chang, but he can run, too, and he has more experience."

Kaululaau, a team captain, is the leader of a young offensive line. Left tackle Nick Rae is the only other senior.

Judging from his bloodlines and where he grew up, it would seem Kaululaau is right where he should be -- playing college football. But that wasn't the original plan.

Kaululaau's father, Kimo, and uncle, Keith, were outstanding linemen at Waianae. But when his sons were young, Kimo said he didn't want them to endure the injuries he did playing football. So he had them learn hula instead.

"That's true, but that went out the window a long time ago," Kika said. "We're a football family all the way."

Despite being named all-state in 1997, Kaululaau received no major college feelers. He went to Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, Calif.

Although he did well there, he still didn't draw much notice from Division I-A programs. But his coach at Hancock, Bill Tripp, was hired to be an assistant at Nevada, and Tripp brought Kaululaau along -- but without a scholarship.

"We made a deal," said Kimo Kaululaau. "I told Kika we'd pay the bill if he took care of the diploma. When he got his scholarship last spring, I guess we got the better of the deal since he is holding up his end and graduates next fall."

Tormey said Kaululaau is a charismatic leader.

"His teammates like him a lot, which factored into him becoming a captain," he said. "We expect a lot from him this season."

Kaululaau said he loves Reno and expects to live here for at least a few years after college and get into teaching and coaching.

He knows the Wolf Pack will likely take some more lumps before they can become a contender in the WAC.

"It's kind of hard coming from Waianae, when you're used to winning and it's an established program," Kaululaau said. "But this gives me the other side of it, the building up part. I want to coach some day, so it's good to know both sides of it."



UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii



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