‘Kauai has been incredible’

PUHI — At least 100 Rainbow Warriors fans were in attendance at the Na Koa Meet the Coach event late Thursday afternoon at Kauai Community College.

Local fans had the opportunity to interact with the University of Hawaii football coaching staff at the meet-and-greet. More UH supporters trickled in as the evening went on.

“I told him, ‘I bet they all came here to find out who’s the quarterback,’” said UH fan Steven Kaui of his conversation with UH head football coach Nick Rolovich. “He said, ‘Maybe you should come to the game and find out who it is.’ Just a little short humor.”

Rolovich and his staff hosted youth and high school football camps Wednesday at Vidinha Stadium.

“Kauai has been incredible. The amount of aloha we’ve been shown, for all the years we were here but especially this trip, it’s been incredible,” Rolovich said. “I’ve really enjoyed meeting the people and seeing people I haven’t seen in a really long time.”

Rolovich added while interacting with the local fans, he’s mostly received questions about the team.

“They want to know who’s the quarterback. They want to know how good we’re going to be. Just the normal questions,” he said.

Also in attendace was former Waimea High School varsity football coach Tommy Rita, who said he’s been a UH fan for many years and regularly attends the Na Koa event when it comes to Kauai.

“That is great. It’s fantastic. If I was coaching, I would try to pick his brain as much as I can,” Rita said. “They’re exposed to big-time football, yeah? We need that.”

Rita added he’s hopeful the UH program under Rolovich will turn things around soon.

“He’s got a lot of experience. He’s been around football. I don’t think we can go anywhere but up,” the former Menehune coach said. “We cannot go more down. So, I think it’s going up. They got a good staff. Things will be OK.”

The Na Koa Football Club is the official booster club of the UH football program.

“We try to go to the neighbor island, and we’ve been coming to Kauai for a number of years,” said Na Koa executive director Kimberly Fujiuchi.

She said it was also an opportunity to do a little fundraising.

“We’re the only Division I program, the only football program, in the state. I’m sure Coach Rolo would say the same thing, but we really feel like we represent the state,” she added. “Unfortunately, we can’t bring the team everywhere, but we can get the coaches out. We really are trying to build support throughout the state.”

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