Smith stands by firing of Morgado
The aftershock remains on the Garden Island, where longtime coach Kelii Morgado was released on Friday from his job as Kauai High football coach one day after being offered the position by administration.
The decision was upsetting for players and parents.
"I've been speaking to many parents. They're shocked (the administration) let Kelii go," said Kauai council member Mel Rapozo, who has a son in the program.
Morgado became head coach in 1999 and implemented a run-and-shoot offense that led to the end of Waimea's 11-year grip on the Kauai Interscholastic Federation crown. The Red Raiders have won the past four championships.
Supporters are lining up to voice their concerns, but some administrators have been silent. Kauai athletic director Ross Shimabukuro cited privacy issues in his "no comment" response to the Star-Bulletin's inquiry.
In fact, since athletic director Charlene Quinones retired last year, principal Linda Smith opened up all coaching positions at the school, including the football post held by Morgado for eight seasons. The football position is currently in an interview process.
"We're at a loss in a lot of ways. Anything to do with personnel issues, we can't say or share," Smith said. "Our athletic administrator has been hearing from parents who are upset and those who support. There are two sides."
Rapozo, a Kauai graduate, has been watching the situation closely.
"I've watched the program develop. What he's done for my son is incredible. I see how the program built my son's confidence. Kelii stresses schoolwork," Rapozo said of Morgado, who is a teacher at the school.
Rapozo, 42, has also been commissioner of the Pop Warner Association on the island, and volunteers his time as a spotter at KIF games.
"I think it's unfair what they're doing to him, and it's unfair to the kids. Who will suffer? The kids'll suffer," he said.
"I definitely want to hear the other side. If, in fact, this is personal or political, then shame on who's responsible."
Rapozo said that stipulations were made to the coach when he met with administrators on Thursday, including one that would prohibit him from leaving practice briefly to pick up his son from preschool, as he did in the past.
Smith said the problem is broader than that.
"It's not specifically about his child. It goes back to our expectations of coaches," she said.
Athletes Of The Week
St. Andrew's Priory basketball
She scored 40 points in the Pride's four-overtime 84-81 win over Kamehameha II. It is believed to be a single-game record for the school.
Paul Snieder Punahou baseball
He went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and pitched five innings for the victory over Kamehameha. Also fired an inning of scoreless relief for a save against Mid-Pacific.
» Harrison "Jeeter" Ishida, Punahou:
pitched the Buffanblu to wins over Saint Louis and Mid-Pacific.
» Josh Kaiwi, Makua Lani Christian: struck out 15 and finished with a two-hitter in a win over St. Joseph.
» Ridge Carpenter, Kalani: homered twice in a win over Arcadia (Nev.).
» Zach Kometani, Punahou: went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs against Saint Louis.
» Ta Nitra Byrd, Radford:
scored 21 points against Aiea.
» Jamie-Marie Farrigno, Kamehameha II: had 22 points against St. Andrew's Priory.
» Natasha Helsham, Aiea: scored 23 points against Radford.
» Johnelle Kapua, Mid-Pacific: scored 23 points against Maryknoll.
» Iwalani Rodrigues, Roosevelt: scored 19 points with 12 rebounds against Kalaheo
» Jamie Ronolo, Moanalua: scored 21 points against Farrington.
» Chelsie Sato, McKinley: scored 22 points against Waianae.
» T.J. Kua, Kamehameha:
led the boys field with an even-par 72 in an ILH tournament at Mid-Pacific Country Club.
» Jessica Au, Kaiser:
scored five goals in a win over Pearl City.
» Dara Tawarahara, Iolani: led the Raiders with five goals in a win over Kamehameha.
529-4787. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
To nominate ...
To nominate an athlete of the week, contact the Star-Bulletin Sports Department by 11 p.m. Sunday: