Side Lines for Sunday — March 26, 2006

After for a combined 10 years of coaching the Menehune boys soccer program, Mark Kennett decided to step down from his position various reasons.

“It’s for personal reasons and my responsibilities at work have increased. I’m going to stay involved with the program. The door is left wide open,” Kennett said.

Kennett coached from 1991-1996 and came back as a JV coach in 2001 and then he took over the varsity program in 2003.

Along the way, Kennett coached four KIF championship teams, which included a 2005 third-place state finish, where they toppled the four-time state defending champion Mililani Trojans.

“It was the highest finisher ever for a Kaua’i team (in soccer) and sometimes I still put in that game tape (against Mililani) to pick myself up,” Kennett said.

The win over the Trojans was arguably one of the biggest wins for a KIF team in any sport at the state level.

Waimea eventually lost to the eventual state champion Kamehameha-O’ahu Warriors, but finishing up in third was the highest placement for a public school at the 2005 tournament.

Kennett also mentioned that athletic director Jon Kobayashi has asked him to recruit for his replacement.

“I’ve given some recommendations. Artie Elkington is who I recommended strongly, but work might keep him out of it. Coach Peter (Sit) was also considered, but he also doesn’t have the time,” Kennett said.

Ultimately, Kennett hopes that Elkington will be the person to take over the Menehune boys soccer program in the future.

Elkington was an all-star performer for the Menehune back in his playing days in the 1990s.

Kennett, who is passionate about his craft, said that coaching Waimea was such a big part of his life.

“It’s been an honor to coach at Waimea. Bill Arakaki (Waimea principal) and Jon Kobayashi have been wonderful to me. They made coaching a real pleasure,” Kennett said.

Kennett also noted that he wasn’t alone during his tenure as the head man for the Menehune boys program.

“The help from the parents out on the Westside is phenomenal. Watching the kids growing up and make something of themselves is a huge reward for me.”

In the meantime, the position for the girls soccer head coaching position has also opened up.

Second-year coach Jen Norton is reapplying for the job.

“I want that position. A lot of other people were interested in the job, so that’s why they opened it up,” Norton said.

Norton, a former college soccer player from Virginia, has bonded with her athletes, but in two seasons under her direction, the team hasn’t won a game.

“I love the girls. I think it’s fair (that they’re opening up the position). I don’t know why I won’t get it, unless there are more qualified applicants.”

  • To apply for either the boys or girls soccer coaching positions, contact Menehune athletic director Jon Kobayashi at 338-6804.
  • Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or kauaisports@kauaipubco.com.
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