Morgado: ‘It’s not about me anymore.’

Former Kaua‘i High School head football coach Keli‘i Morgado sat before more than 50 parents, players and supporters, last night at the Lihu‘e Neighborhood Center, to discuss the recent meetings he’s had with the administration.

“I was told that kids don’t like me and I argue too much,” Morgado told the crowd.

Morgado asked for proof or at least wanted more information on these complaints, but was not given or shown anything.

Athletic director Ross Shimabukuro, who recently took over for Charlene Quinones, confirmed that documentation of these complaints do exist.

In mid-January, all coaches were asked to reapply for their positions. They were told that this was as a courtesy to the new athletic director.

When Morgado met with the administration, he was offered a contract with seven stipulations. He had issues with three of them.

One of the stipulations being the “zero tolerance” of swearing in front of the players. Morgado explained that if the coaches were to do so, they would be fired, no questions asked. Morgado felt that those expectations were too high and unrealistic.

Another stipulation was that he was not allowed external employment. He was told that he could not teach driver’s education during the off-season.

Morgado said he was a single parent and that was how he supplemented his income.

The third stipulation was the most personal for him. He was told that he could not leave practice to pick up his son from the Kaua‘i Community College pre-school. His son turns 4 years old in two weeks.

Morgado said he and the administration agreed to allow him two weeks to think it over.

“I said I needed more time to think about this. I had this black cloud over my head, that if anything (went wrong) we could get fired on the spot,” he said.

He was notified that the time had been reduced to one week. Then, shortly afterwards the contracted offer was rescinded.

The high school promoted Derek Borrero, the former junior varsity head coach, to the position.

With that announcement, the decision was final. Morgado would not be returning to coach the team.

The school’s Football Boosters Club president Duane Girard accompanied Morgado on stage also, to talk about what will happen in the future and answer questions.

“We are all saying this has been done poorly,” Girard said. “But we’re not here to debate if we can get his job back. We’re not doing this (questioning the administration) to get his job back. We’re doing this to make sure this doesn’t happen to coach Borrero, or at Waimea or Kapa‘a.”

The administration said the schools were working on a statewide contract that would apply to all coaches. But neither Morgado, Girard or a number of the parents attending, saw it that way.

“These policies need to be fine tuned,” Girard said. “We need to fight for a process that is equal for all. We’re going to beat this as long as we can beat the drum.”

Art Fujita, whose son is a basketball coach at Kaua‘i High School, said that if they were going to anything about the situation, they would have to do it 100 percent.

“I want this wrong corrected,” Fujita said.

Morgado was quick to put everyone back in focus of what he thought was really important.

“It’s not about me anymore. It’s about how you treat people,” he said. “It’s about the process and the process is flawed.”

Phone calls to the school’s principal Linda Smith earlier this week were not returned.

Morgado was a member of the coaching staff for 11 years, 8 of which he was the head coach. He led the team to four straight Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation championships and the Division II State Championship game.

• Lanaly Cabalo, sports editor, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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