High School Beat
Waipahu AD Lee Loy leaves for elementary-school post
Changing locations is tough enough in any job.
Hartwell Lee Loy is changing speeds, as well. The longtime athletic director at Waipahu High School is now a vice principal at Waikele Elementary School.
Lee Loy's voyage as an educator brought him to Kahuku prior to Waipahu. He has seen and cared for athletes at a wide range of levels in his years, but the new avenue is a whole new world.
"Understanding the dynamics of an elementary-school setting is totally different from a high school or middle school," said Lee Loy, who won't miss the combativeness and politics involved with high school sports.
Along with the many positive memories he carries, there are elements to being an AD that nobody likes. The phone calls and meetings with disgruntled parents who feel their children don't play enough, for example, are never enjoyable for any athletic director.
Lee Loy expects a different atmosphere at Waikele.
"It'll be a lot closer-knit and closer. There won't be factions," he said. "And I have to understand the curriculum."
Taking Lee Loy out of athletics, in one way, is like taking a fish out of water.
"I'll miss the friendships, the bonds, the time spent with a lot of people. Of course, I'll miss sports. That's always been my passion, trying to build a good program, teaching the kids about moral character, being a good citizen," he said.
One of the recent examples of clarity in Lee Loy's leadership came during the current era of football coach Sean Saturnio. The English teacher guided Waipahu to a spot in the state tournament in 2004, but the team struggled this season. Turnout numbers have hit a plateau, partly because of high standards set by Saturnio.
Saturnio can't save every student who struggles to make grades or follow rules, but he tries his best, and Lee Loy knows it. That's why he supported Saturnio late in the recent season when the coach had to suspend half the team for violating a team rule. Waipahu had to forfeit its homecoming game, but Lee Loy stood by his coach.
Instead of using wins and losses as the only measure, Lee Loy gave Saturnio his full support because of the principles and integrity the coach instills in his players.
"By the time they come to high school, a lot of their behaviors and attitudes are cemented in. They come to practice, follow the rules, go home and get fed the same thing," Lee Loy said. "Without the family structure and support at home, it's hard to change behavior."
At the elementary-school level, he hopes to make more of a difference.
"Somehow, we lose the kids when they move on to middle school and high school, in general. We tend to not have the parental involvement," he said, noting the attendance of high-school PTA meetings compared to those at elementary schools.
Former boys basketball coach Stacy Nii is Waipahu's interim athletic director.
Filling big shoes: Former offensive coordinator Cliff Walters is succeeding Sam Papalii as head football coach at Kealakehe.
Walters spent 30 years as a high-school and college coach before retiring and moving from Alberta, Canada, to Kona. His high-school teams won six provincial 5A titles, and his provincial all-star teams won national crowns in five of 11 seasons.
Kealakehe, one of the largest schools in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation, hired Walters as a counselor for at-risk students last month.
The Waveriders won the BIIF football title last fall before falling to Waianae in the opening round of the Division I state tournament. Two of the more notable Kealakehe players in college football are Jesse Mahelona of Tennessee and James Kamoku of Wisconsin.
All-American Bomber: Hawaii's two representatives in the All-American Bowl game at Lafayette, La., brought back memorable experiences.
Konawaena's Dylan Rush, recruited as a defensive end by UCLA, played tight end and did a lot of blocking for a run-oriented team. Joining him was Farrington lineman Whitley Fehoko, who enjoyed his week. The highly-recruited Governor received offers from LSU and Nebraska, according to his mother, Linda, and is mulling over his choices.
What made his stay in Louisiana unforgettable, though, was a broken nose suffered during a PAT kick.
Rush got a thrill during an informal long-throw competition among his team's quarterbacks. The longest toss was 60 yards until Rush picked up a pigskin. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior flung a spiral 75 yards.
Chosen few: Kahuku's Shiloah Te'o and Aiea's Lofa Liilii were among the invited players at the U.S. Army National Combine presented by Reebok. The football event was held over the weekend at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Corvallis-bound: Kamehameha lineman Ryan Pohl committed to Oregon State last summer. An incorrect university was listed in Sunday's recruit-watch story.
To nominate ...
To nominate an athlete of the week, contact the Star-Bulletin Sports Department by 11 p.m. Sunday: