Kahuku declares Freitas as interim coach

The Vavae Tata era is over and the Makoa Freitas days have begun at Kahuku.

A post on KahukuHigh.org on Sunday made it official. Freitas is the new football interim head coach, the Red Raiders’ fourth head man in the past five years. The switch from Tata to Freitas was first reported by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Friday.

Neither Freitas nor the Kahuku administration could be reached Sunday, but two of Freitas’ colleagues in the Oahu coaching fraternity talked about many of his positive qualities via phone calls.

“He’s a very good coach,” said new Castle head coach John Hao, who was an assistant with Freitas under Tata. “He’s knowledgeable and easy to work with. He’s straightforward. When I got the Castle job, I called and asked him if he would come and coach with me. I knew he was going to say no because he lives and works right there in Kahuku.”

Darren Johnson, another new coaching hire on Oahu last week, believes Freitas is the right man for the Red Raiders.

“He’s an awesome guy and a great choice,” said Johnson, Campbell’s new football head coach who lives on the North Shore and is a former Red Raiders assistant. “He’s genuine and he really cares about the kids. If I was ever coaching at Kahuku, I would want him to be the O-line guy. He’s involved in the community. He’s helped with the (Laie Red Raiders) Big Boyz and with the JV team.”

Freitas was an offensive lineman at Kamehameha, the University of Arizona and the Indianapolis Colts. According to the KahukuHigh.org post, he has master’s degrees in Business Administration and Accounting from Indiana University, and he works as an assistant controller at Brigham Young-Hawaii.

“We are always striving for the best experiences for our student-athletes at Kahuku High and Intermediate School,” the KahukuHigh.org post reads. “We are happy to announce our interim Head Varsity Football Coach, Makoa Freitas, who shares this goal and has been a part of the Kahuku football program for several years.”

Hao was thrilled for Freitas that he was picked for the Kahuku job.

“When I heard about it, I called him and told him I was happy for him,” Hao said. “He has a long road ahead of him in a high-profile job like that. You’ve gotta be resilient, but he’s the best one to deal with that pressure. He was raised in a very good family. His dad Rockne and his brother Makai were there (at Kahuku) every game we had. He’s smart and resilient.”

Hao had good things to say about his experience at Kahuku and expressed how he was welcomed with open arms by the community and the parents of the players, despite the fact that he was let go by Tata in the middle of last season.

In his two years, Tata went 24-2, won a Division I state title and got the Red Raiders to the first Open Division state championship game. He took over for Lee Leslie, who went 9-3 in 2014. In 2013, Reggie Torres’ last season of an eight-year-run that included three D-I state titles, the Red Raiders went 6-5.

There was no mention of Tata nor a reason for his firing in the KahukuHigh.org post. Calls to Tata and the Kahuku administration last week have not been returned.


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