Just For Kicks
After 32 years, Clague steps down a winner
ONE of the longest and most successful coaching careers in Hawaii high school history came to an end on Feb. 17 when defending champion Punahou edged Kalani 3-2 to win its 16th high school state championship boys soccer title.
It was Bob Clague's final match as Buffanblu head coach, ending a 32-year career that also included seven runner-up state tourney finishes.
"I've been a head coach for 32 years and I think that is enough. I was getting a little tired," said Clague, who also is retiring from his position as a sales representative for Hawaiian Power Fluid this month.
"I was lucky to have great assistant coaches in Scott Metcalf and Bernie Alvarez."
Clague, from the Isle of Man, originally came to Hawaii in 1967 on a six-month assignment to train workers in a new plant here owned by the company he worked for in Manchester, England. He stayed.
In 1974, Punahou boys coach Ralph Martinson asked Clague to be his assistant. Clague took over as head coach the following year and won his first state title in 1976.
Punahou repeated in 1977. Clague coached the Buffanblu to back-to-back titles in 1982 and '83 and 1985 and '86. Then there was a streak of four consecutive crowns starting in 1989 and a run of three beginning in 1994.
"Coaching is a lot of work. I would start preparing in June, thinking of different things to do at practice. Some years we did the summer league with two teams and I coached both," Clague said.
"When Ralph asked me I never thought I would go for 32 years. You have some years where you think you will do well but then we would have injuries. You have to have some luck.
"Punahou has great parents who have been very supportive. In the early days not many knew much about soccer because the sport was new. Now you have parents who are a lot wiser about soccer, who are coaches and referees. You might think they would be pushy, but they just sat back and enjoyed it."
Clague said he had a number of good teams, but that the 1982 team was his favorite.
"That team had everything. We had such depth. It went undefeated (15-0)," Clague said.
Many of his players went on to compete at the college level. Clague has no idea how many.
There will be at least one more this fall. Clague reports that striker Nick Love has committed to play for Gonzaga.
» Morgan Langley, a senior at Iolani, will take his soccer talents to Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania this coming fall.
He joins his brother, Dylan, who was a freshman midfielder for the Tide last fall.
"In the beginning, I didn't want to go to the same school as my brother, but now I'm pretty excited about that," said Morgan, who also considered Wesleyan in Connecticut.
The striker was on Iolani's 2005 and '06 state runner-up teams and was named to the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, All-State and state tournament teams as a junior.
Langley skipped prep soccer this year to play for the Honolulu Bulls in MISO's Men's Division I.
"At one time I kind of regretted it (not playing for Iolani), but now I think it was a good choice," Morgan said. "I was able to play with some of the greatest players I've been around."