Chung is well-prepared for Roosevelt’s athletic director’s position
Congratulate former Roosevelt boys basketball coach John Chung on his new job, and he'll shake his head slightly.
Replacing longtime athletic director Rodney Iwasaki doesn't happen overnight, and in Chung's case, it didn't.
"Working under Rodney, he constantly was telling us, sooner or later, you might be in this position, so he was kind of preparing us," said Chung, who surrendered his roles as a teacher and coach to accept the interim position. Iwasaki left the job to work with Safety and Security in the DOE.
"We really weren't expecting it. It just happened," Chung said.
At Roosevelt, where Iwasaki was previously the football coach, Chung's presence was also seemingly eternal. Chung has been coaching since he was 18, and after 25 years, he finds himself thinking about paperwork instead of ballhandling work.
"I just gotta get used to the administrative side. It's different from being a classroom teacher. I've been getting a lot of help from other ADs, from Rodney," he said. "I thought it was a good opportunity."
Basketball season is still a month away, so Chung hasn't had time to miss the game yet. "I'm so busy, I really haven't had time to think about it. I've been working pretty much seven days trying not to screw anything up," he said.
The recently renamed Pete Vasconcellos Stadium will have a major makeover in the coming months. On Nov. 1, the project to replace the well-worn field and track begins.
"Rodney wanted to rename the field, and a lot of the alumni and former players got wind of it," Chung explained. "Some of them and Bert Kobayashi raised some money to help fund (the project), and the NFL kicked in some money."
After Gov. Linda Lingle and the Legislature released more funding, the project was born. Poly grass, which is similar to FieldTurf, will be installed, along with a synthetic all-weather track.
"Rodney used to bust his rear end trying to maintain the field, fertilize it. So many teams use the field," Chung said.
In addition to Roosevelt, Kaimuki and Farrington adopted the facility as their home field for decades.
Getting bogged down
Rainy season hits Oahu every year, but seems to have more of an effect this season.
Mud-caked football fields are stunting the offensive development of many teams. While private-school teams like Saint Louis and Punahou develop their schemes and game plans to new heights and numbers, public-school squads are hampered severely by porous conditions across the island.
FieldTurf is a friend of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, which plays most of its games at Aloha Stadium. For the Oahu Interscholastic Association, there is no alternative to school fields. From Mililani to Kahuku to Castle to Roosevelt, offensive coordinators in the OIA have altered their game plans because of the morass of muck.
At Castle, where the brown stuff was thick and wide, Kahuku running back St. John Lessary III seemed at ease with the conditions.
"The key is to take short steps," said Lessary, who led the Red Raiders with 76 yards on 10 carries. "You can't really cut on this mud."
In some ways, the thick mess is hindering defenses, too. Kahuku had a new 2-9 defensive formation for Castle's run-and-shoot offense, but the Knights went to the ground because of the mud. Kahuku, the defending state champion, historically meets pass-happy ILH champions late in the season. The weather-beaten fields of the OIA do little to prepare Kahuku or any other playoff team for state-tournament play, which is held at Aloha Stadium after the first round.
Rivals or not, coaches often feel empathy for their peers in many ways. Kahuku's recent problem regarding critics of coach Reggie Torres
-- people who want him fired -- was heartfelt by Castle coach Nelson Maeda.
"I know what he's going through. We went through that, too," the longtime Knights coach said.
"It's not about winning. If winning gets the kids more exposure, great, but the emphasis is on team. You want to express good things through a team framework."
One of the compromises granted by Torres after a team meeting on Wednesday was odd enough. "You can tape over your shoes now," senior safety Shiloah Te'o said. "Some guys do it, some guys don't."
Te'o added that the tape is sometimes for cosmetic purposes, but the point is clear: Torres may be old school, but he is also open to discussion.
"We can do a lot more now," Te'o said. "He's much more lenient."
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Athlete of the week
, Iolani football
The quarterback threw for 189 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 122 yards and two more scores against Saint Louis
» Teralyn Chang
, Kalani: 257 against McKinley, 260 against Kailua.
» Aaron Halemano, Kalani: 262 against Kailua.
» Cosmo Hirai, Roosevelt: 244 against Farrington.
» Lira Kim, McKinley: 247 against Kaimuki.
» David Lee, Roosevelt: 244 against Castle.
» Jordan Martino, Campbell: 245 against Leilehua.
» Jessie Navarrete, Kapolei: 251 against Waipahu.
» Andrew Nishihara, Leilehua: 242 against Waipahu, 248 against Campbell.
» Sky Uyehara, Hawaii Baptist: 587 high series against Kamehameha.
» Sean Arakaki
, Hawaii Baptist: 258 high game against Damien.
» Ian Frommelt, Leilehua: 257 high game against Aiea.
» Jordeen Koizumi, Pearl City: 267 high game against Nanakuli.
» Bryson Lee, Castle: 245 high game against Farrington.
» Peter Mochizuki, Kalani: 257 high game against Moanalua.
» James Pirtle, Pearl City: 225 high game, 634 high series against Waianae.
» Ray Takara, Kalani: 258 high game against Kahuku.
» Bryce Jenkins
, Leilehua: led the boys field with a time of 16 minutes, 32 seconds in the OIA West championships.
» Kristin Ali Keith, Mililani: paced the girls field with a time of 19:37 in the OIA West championships.
» Samson Anguay
, Campbell: rushed for 101 yards on seven attempts, including a 92-yard touchdown, against Mililani.
» Ryan Eastman, Saint Louis: two sacks, two hurries, three solo tackles and nine assisted tackles against Iolani.
» Joshua Fernandez, Farrington: rushed for 165 yards and one touchdown on 34 carries against McKinley.
» Rustin Funakoshi, Mililani: passed for 202 yards and two touchdowns against Campbell.
» Lucas Gonsalves, Saint Louis: caught three passes for 105 yards, including touchdowns of 19 and 80 yards, against Iolani.
» Mason Koa, Kapolei: ran for 149 yards and two touchdowns, and caught five passes for 83 yards and another score against Radford.
» Epa Maika, Radford: passed for 233 yards and two touchdowns against Kapolei.
» Micah Mamiya, Saint Louis: passed for 237 yards and three touchdowns against Iolani; also ran for 53 yards, improving his record to 17-0 as a starting quarterback.
» Keani Nishigaya, Saint Louis: rushed for 129 yards on just eight carries, including touchdowns of 63 and 29 yards, against Iolani.
» Justin Paderes, Kaimuki: rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns against Waialua.
» Keo Palimoo, Waipahu: ran for 108 yards and a touchdown against Nanakuli.
» Robbie Toma, Punahou: caught six passes for 177 yards, including touchdowns of 90, 24 and 12 yards, against Pac-Five.
» Ranson Tuitama, Roosevelt: ran for 137 yards and a touchdown, and also threw a 49-yard touchdown pass against Kaiser.
» Kaleo Wong, Kailua: rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown against Moanalua.
» Wikolia Enos
, Kamehameha-Hawaii: 10 kills and four digs against Waiakea.
» Lauren Minkel, Iolani: eight kills, three service aces against Sacred Hearts.
» Haililani Pokipala, Sacred Hearts: 12 kills against Iolani.
» Mali'e Yoon, Iolani: 31 assists and six kills against Sacred Hearts.
» Taylor Fife
, Pac-Five: three goals against Kamehameha.
» Kalama Souza, Kamehameha: three goals against Pac-Five.
» Michael Swanson, Pac-Five: three goals against Kamehameha.
To nominate ...
To nominate an athlete of the week, contact the Star-Bulletin Sports Department by 11 p.m. Sunday: