Souza’s switch
stuns school

The Kamehameha coach
is excited to be an assistant
for Riley at OSU

Longtime Kamehameha football coach Kanani Souza will be on hiatus until January to be a graduate assistant at Oregon State.

A story in the Portland Tribune yesterday said he will coach tight ends.

"The school had to make announcements, and it's just one of those things," Souza said. "But it'll be a chance for me to experience something different. The excitement of something new is rejuvenating. I feel like I'll be a student again. That's great. That was the best time of my life."

Souza will also be leaving his position as assistant athletic director. Kamehameha co-athletic director Erv Kau said it caught everyone on campus off guard.

"We really hadn't firmed up things yet," Kau said. "This came out before he had a chance to talk with his players."

Souza, a Kamehameha graduate, guided the Warriors to their first state football championship last season. He amassed a record of 79-25-2 in nine seasons at Kapalama Heights.

"I'm going to miss Kamehameha dearly," Souza said. "It's very bittersweet. I'm gonna miss these kids, all of them. "

The news also stunned Warrior players.

"It'll hurt a lot. He's been there a while, and he taught us life lessons," senior wide receiver Waika Spencer said.

Souza has attended national football coaches conferences annually.

"I think this is a situation where he wants to learn more about football. It's an opportunity to learn and share that later with his players," Kau said.

Spencer and other players had wondered about their veteran coach.

"I guess for us, the seniors, we thought he might retire if we won the (state) title. He didn't say anything about it, but us football guys would talk about it," Spencer said.

Though the timing of the news was premature, Kau feels confident about the program's future.

"We should be OK. Kanani laid the groundwork, and I think all the coaches will stay," he said.

Souza coached the offensive line at Hawaii before becoming an offensive coordinator. However, Kau believes that speculation about Souza's intentions at the college level is without substance.

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