New Kapaa coach makes Osaki connection
Kurt Osaki, who designed uniforms for the NFL's Ravens and Bucs, will give the Warriors a new look
New Kapaa football coach Kelii Morgado is excited about his new mission in more ways than one. Since being hired in January, Morgado has been on a crusade to lift a program that has seen tough times.
"To me, this is a renaissance," Morgado said. "I'm excited to coach football and use the game to teach young men life lessons and prepare them for the game of life after football."
One way of changing the psychology -- Kapaa has lost 34 of its last 36 Kauai Interscholastic Federation games -- is through uniforms. Morgado and renowned logo designer Kurt Osaki are working together on a new uniform for Kapaa. Osaki's firm, Osaki Design, reworked the look for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego State and Hawaii, among others.
Osaki, a Kapaa graduate, is working with HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya on a project that could grow to a grand scale.
"They want to create a merchandising effort that will benefit the athletic teams, the schools and the communities that host them," Morgado said. "I am excited to be the pilot program of their vision."
Instead of Kelly green, the new look includes forest green and silver. Morgado hopes to raise funds for the program through sales of polo shirts, T-shirts, stickers and more. He'll do anything it takes to rejuvenate a program that has suffered 17 losing seasons in a row.
Morgado previously coached at Kauai and guided the Red Raiders to four KIF titles in a row. He was removed by the Kauai administration after the 2006 season, shortly after then-athletic director Charlene Quinones retired.
"Mr. (Gilmore) Youn (principal) and Mr. (Greg) Gonsalves (athletic director) are tremendous. I couldn't ask for a better administration to work for. We are all on the same page," he said.
When Morgado moved up from the JV program to varsity at Kauai in 2000, there were just 40 players left by season's end. At Kapaa, he already has a projected turnout of more than 100 players combined.
The run-and-shoot offense he brought to the KIF will be integral.
"I believe that kids want structure and want to be taught. The run-and-shoot will become part of Kapaa football," Morgado said. "Although, with the personnel we have in Kapaa, there may well be a lot more 'run' than there was at Kauai."
The new staff is a mix. Three former Kauai assistants will join Morgado at Kapaa, as well as a few former Kauai players and some Kapaa coaches, he added.