There’s just something special about being the head coach for your alma mater and Waimea’s Kyle Linoz now knows that feeling.
“Aw man, it was just happiness finding out yesterday (that I got the job), but I got right back to being nervous and scared. It’s a big job and I’m excited to take on the challenge,” Linoz said.
The 1991 Menehune graduate played three years at the quarterback spot for “Big Blue” and worked under 10-time KIF champion head coach Jon Kobayashi as a quarterbacks and defensive backs coach from 1998-2002.
“He’s a Waimea High School graduate and was with the program. We felt he’d do a good job and would hopefully take the program into the right direction,” Waimea athletic director Kobayashi said.
According to Kobayashi, Linoz was one of two strong applicants for the position as Waimea’s head football coach.
“The other applicant was very strong. It was very close. I think when we chose him (Linoz), it was because we felt we could work with Kyle and being since he was a (former) player and coach, we felt he would be a good part of the tradition,” Kobayashi said.
Linoz replaces Liko Pereira, who put in three years in the Menehune program.
However, under his direction, Waimea wasn’t able to bring home any KIF titles, after winning 12 straight under Kobayashi.
“The bottom line was that Liko was at a point in his career that he wanted to step down. We did offer him the coaching position, but his decision was not to apply. He did a great job with the young men. We appreciate all that he and his staff have done for the program and we just hope that ‘Big Blue’ will get back on track,” Kobayashi said.
And that’s where Linoz steps in. For the past three years, he’s been the Koloa Pop Warner Midgets head coach, which has been near the top of the standings under his reign.
“Our philosophy is to get the kids to become better people first and then worry about football, but we’re going to go with the old Waimea strategy of running the football and playing good defense,” Linoz said.
His staff consists of Jerry Jona, Dominic Agu, Mason Moriguchi, Rocky Aviguetero, Keli’i Aguiar, Tony Garma, along with volunteers like Scott Rita, Thomas Rita, Clifton Hashimoto, and Brian Ueno. Harris Moriguchi will be the strength and conditioning coach and Lois Keamoi will serve as the academic advisor.
“Hopefully I’ll be ready and the kids will be too. There’s already practice next week,” Linoz said.
Linoz credits his family, especially his wife Cherie and his one-year-old daugh-ter, Kyrie, for standing by him throughout the process.
Under state rules and regulations, coaches are on contract on a year-to-year basis.
But for Linoz, the first process will be to get bigger player turnout for Waimea.
“That’s the first big challenge. Having the kids wanting to play is crucial. We need to get the kids out, hopefully believing in the program,” Linoz said.
- Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or email@example.com.