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Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, February 15, 2000

P R E P _ S P O R T S

Mike Akiu returns
to Kalaheo

The former UH and NFL player
is now head coach at
his alma mater

By Dave Reardon


Mike Akiu, Kalaheo's new football coach, is short on varsity coaching experience, but long on big-time credibility.

Akiu, 38, played for the NFL's Houston Oilers (now Tennessee Titans) in 1985-86, after starring on special teams at the University of Hawaii and standing out in several sports at Kalaheo.

One of the fastest receivers ever to play for UH, Akiu left more of a mark as a kick blocker and returner. He led the Rainbows with 491 kickoff return yards in 1983.

Since the end of his football career, Akiu has worked as a stevedore and coached the Windward Tigers Pop Warner Midgets team to a 95-5 record.

He is excited to return to his alma mater.

"Our goal is to try to bring the football spirit back to Kalaheo," Akiu said. "The kids are enthused. Last year there were only 22 players. We started off last Monday working out with about 50 kids."

Akiu replaces John Kapele Jr., who was 14-20 in four seasons with the Mustangs. Kapele was let go after Kalaheo finished last season 2-6 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Conference.

Akiu said his lack of varsity coaching experience isn't a problem, especially since many of his players will know him from the age 14-16 Tigers.

He also will enjoy continuity on his staff; Akiu said he is bringing his assistants from the Tigers.

They are: offensive coordinator Regan Kaanoi, defensive coordinator Richard Groder, running backs coach Danny Akiu, linebackers coach Richard Mello, defensive backs coach Rodney Kaanoi, and unassigned assistant coaches Jay Atkins and Robert Kekane.

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