Kajiyama to fulfill ‘dream’ with UH
As Hawaii gets ready for the start of spring football practice tomorrow, coach June Jones said one spot is sewn up for the fall.
Volunteer assistant Brian Kajiyama will be promoted to graduate assistant.
"Brian will be official in the fall," Jones said yesterday. "He'll be a GA. He'll do all the stuff he's been doing, working on the computer, preparing scouting reports."
Kajiyama, 30, has never played or coached football. He's confined to a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy. But he has been a source of inspiration for several years as a fan.
Last year, his contributions became more tangible. At the urging of defensive line coach and Kailua neighbor Jeff Reinebold, Kajiyama volunteered to do a tedious task often handled by full-time coaches; he began doing "cut-ups" of opponents' game tape on his laptop computer, aiding in scouting.
He received a game ball for his work in helping to prepare the UH defense when the Warriors beat Eastern Illinois 44-9.
Jones was also impressed by Kajiyama's work ethic.
"Sometimes I go to the office at 4:30 in the morning and he beats me there," Jones said.
Kajiyama graduated from UH with honors in 2003. He is working on a master's degree.
He was not available for comment yesterday. But Kajiyama said during an interview for a Star-Bulletin article last December that his dream was to become a graduate assistant for the football team.
Dennis McKnight's promotion to offensive line coach opened up a GA position. McKnight has one of the biggest jobs this spring, rebuilding UH's offensive line that lost three senior starters from a team that went 11-3.
The Warriors open spring practice tomorrow at 7 a.m. at the grass practice field on campus.