Stress-filled job is what Livai left
WITH all the whispers and rumors and speculation and conspiracy theories -- and especially with some of his former assistants going on the Channel 2 news to hint about something (did I really see that?) -- I'm now not one bit surprised that Kahuku football coach Siuaki Livai decided it was time for him to step down.
I'm not saying it's because I believe any of these rumors of wrongdoing.
I'm saying, if you were him -- wouldn't you want to retire?
Would you need this kind of stress?
The more that comes out, the more my surprise is that he stayed as long as he did. Put in his shoes, many of us might have played that old Johnny Paycheck song a long time ago.
Let's face it, Livai had maybe 80-something sets of parents to deal with (and we all know how parents can be, even the nicest ones). He was responsible for more than 100 kids (and they all wanted to play, and they're all teenagers, holy Lord). Every Kahuku fan thinks he or she has ownership of the program (and they do). Every time he won there was another eligibility or recruiting rumor floating around (the people at Saint Louis and Punahou can probably empathize with that).
And now it comes out -- well, we've all heard things, these last couple years, but going on the Channel 2 news doesn't leave much doubt -- that the relationship he had with some of his assistants was, shall we say, an uneasy alliance.
With that kind of dynamic on the staff, how did Kahuku win any games?
With Livai at the helm the Red Raiders went 102-20 and won four state crowns -- with all this stuff going on in the background. Maybe he's an even better coach than we thought.
I like Livai. He's got a sense of humor. He really seems to care about the kids. He really seems to emphasize school. He really cares about the legacy of Kahuku football. He didn't seem to take himself too seriously, outwardly shrugging off stuff like this.
And you'll notice he isn't saying any of these headaches are why he left.
No, I'm saying it's why I would have.
Even now, in the face of all the talk, he's still outwardly just shrugging it off.
You can't keep everyone happy, and it seems he didn't try. And no, Kahuku hasn't been immune to problems. No school is. And with all the transfers in and out there might yet be a bone in a closet somewhere, who knows -- but every year they were cleared.
Now, after 10 years, it's all behind him, and he'll have peace. A regular guy with a regular job. No more rumors or unrest. No more talk.
It's hard to imagine the kind of stress he must have had. But in the past week, we may have gotten a look.