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Star-Bulletin Sports


Saturday, December 1, 2001


[ PREP FOOTBALL ]



St. Louis still hoping
Lee will stay

Both the principal and the president
are holding out hope their head
football coach will consider returning


By Dave Reardon
dreardon@starbulletin.com

The St. Louis School administration has no immediate plans for finding a replacement for Cal Lee, the most successful high school football coach in state history.

The Crusaders' principal and president both said they hope Lee will change his mind and remain on the job he has held for 21 years, winning 18 league and 15 state or Prep Bowl championships. Lee's overall record is 241-32-5.

"We're not even at that level yet," principal Burton Tomita said yesterday when asked about a process for replacing Lee. "We're still hoping Cal changes his mind. Until that's resolved, we won't put much thought into (a replacement).

"We want to sit down with Cal after he's had a chance to relax," Tomita said. "He's a great asset to the school."

School president Allen DeLong also said yesterday he hopes Lee reconsiders.

Although Lee wavered earlier in the week and said he might remain the coach, he sounded like he was ready for a break after Friday's 21-14 state championship loss to Kahuku.

"Unless someone hits me in the head and tells me I'm dreaming, this is it," he said a few minutes after the game.

Lee, 54, said he plans to remain as St. Louis athletic director. There has been widespread speculation that he would join June Jones' staff at the University of Hawaii, where Lee's brother, Ron, is an assistant coach.

In the past Jones has acknowledged that he has spoken with Cal Lee about joining the UH staff, but yesterday Jones declined to talk about the subject.

One question is if a position attractive to Lee would be available for him next season at Manoa. In the past, he has turned down opportunities to be a lower-level assistant at UH, holding out for defensive coordinator or head coach. Neither of those positions are likely to be open in the near future.

When asked Saturday what he would do next, Lee didn't hesitate in his answer.

"Get my boys back to school and collect equipment," he said.

How about after that?

"I don't know what I'm going to do, really," said Lee, who has also been mentioned by party leaders as a possible political candidate.

Lee said there are many capable coaches on his staff who could step in for him, but didn't want to mention specific names.

"There are so many who could do it," he said. "I wouldn't want to leave anyone out."

No one has publicly expressed interest in replacing Lee.

"That's a tough act to follow," said defensive line coach Sam Downey, who has coached with Lee for 21 years. "Who would want to try?"

If Lee does step down as coach, these, in alphabetical order, are some of the possible replacements mentioned by others close to the program. Lee's comments about them are from a 1998 Star-Bulletin feature article about his coaching staff. Their high school alma maters and years of graduation are in parentheses:

JEFF MATSUZAKI

Alma mater: Waipahu, 1985

Background: The brother of former St. Louis all-state receiver Micah Matsuzaki has coached Crusader slotbacks the past six years. He's a relatively young but well-respected member of the staff.

Lee on Matsuzaki: "He's constantly trying to improve all the players he works with, a good motivator."

VINCE PASSAS

Alma mater: St. Louis, 1974

Background: The Crusaders' offensive coordinator would be a prime candidate, but said last summer he is comfortable in his current role of working on the offensive schemes and one-on-one with the quarterbacks. The former St. Louis quarterback's job as a real estate broker also takes much of his time.

Lee on Passas: "Nearly all the quarterbacks that he's worked with have turned out to be all-state caliber. A good reflection of his coaching ability."

TIM SEAMAN

Alma mater: Kaiser, 1979

Background: He coaches the inside linebackers and played for Cal and Ron Lee in high school. Seaman has a DOE job at Kaiser and a young child, so time for head coach demands could be a concern for him, too.

Lee on Seaman: "The players seem to like his coaching techniques, his motivation, his knowledge of the game."

DELBERT TENGAN

Alma mater: Kailua, 1978

Background: Many consider St. Louis' defensive coordinator as the most logical choice if a new head coach is needed. But Tengan is also the school's varsity head basketball coach; it is a position he enjoys and at which he has been successful, taking the Crusaders to the state final two years ago.

Lee on Tengan: "For a guy that never played football you would never know it because he's one of the top defensive coordinators in the state ... a student of the game, a plus for the program."



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