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Pahoa High plans to hire football coach in next week or two

June 15, 2014 - 5:56am

Pahoa High’s acting athletic director says he anticipates the school’s football team will have a coach hired in the next week or two, and fans can expect to see games played this season on the home field.

This month, Pahoa High and Intermediate Principal Darlene Bee met a deadline to declare the school plans to field a team this year. The next deadline will come July 24, when the school must must pay fees and make its final commitment to field a team.

Clemente Hudson, who was named acting athletic director June 1, said Friday that while the school will be able to back out before July 24 on its plan to launch a football team this year, he doesn’t foresee anything getting in the way.

“I’m looking at it as we’ll be ready,” he said.

The main concern boosters and school administrators currently have is the condition of the school’s football field.

“We must secure our field, and we must make sure it is in condition and ready for our kids to play on it,” Hudson said. “There’s no work presently being done on it. We need to have the field assessed by the state and see if it meets requirements set by the state to play football on. … It’s a good field, but it has been neglected. Nobody’s played on it for 14 years. It’s gonna have some work that needs to be done.”

If the field isn’t ready in time, Hudson said the school will be able to use Keaau High’s field until such time as Pahoa’s is ready.

“But there’s no reason why we can’t play at home. It’ll be a win-win situation for everyone,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hudson will continue to receive names to be considered for the coaching position until the end of next week, followed by a quick selection.

“We also want to make sure the new coach has a list of names of interested kids,” he said. “We want to have them start coming in next week.”

As for fundraising efforts to support the team, members of the Pahoa Booster Club say they’re about halfway through their $5,000 drive after a successful steak fry last month, club treasurer Nancy Kramer said.

The club committed to raising $5,000 to supplement $92,000 in funding from the state. The funding will cover expenses for launching the team and operations during the first year.

The money already was appropriated by the state Legislature for the football team, but has yet to be released by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. His deadline to announce the release is July 15, and boosters say the governor gave his assurances he will do so.

“When the governor came to our barbecue (fundraiser), he said money was coming, and we feel reasonably comfortable it will be here,” Kramer said, adding “of course, I won’t feel completely comfortable about it until the money is in the account.”

The Booster Club will host its next meeting at 9 a.m. Monday at Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant, club president Mark Henshaw said. The public is invited to find out more about efforts to launch the team, and meet the school’s new acting athletic director.

“We’re also going to talk about our parade and fundraiser, and our accountant will give an update on fundraising,” Henshaw said.

Email Colin M. Stewart at cstewart@hawaiitribune-herald.com.