Live Telethon With Chow Proves Successful for Na Koa
By Rodney S. Yap
A mini telethon that Na Koa Football Club coordinated as “An Evening with Coach Chow,” generated more than $60,000 in three hours Wednesday night before a live television audience.
The broadcast was aired across the 50th state on both KFVE the Home Team and OC Sports Channel 12. The Hawai‘i News Now sports team of Chris Tanaka and Mike Cherry were joined by “Sunrise” co-anchor Steve Uyehara in a night devoted to conversation with Coach Chow, his staff and some returning players.
Viewers called in donations and more than 30 alumni players, from the 60’s to last year’s seniors, answered phones and shared challenge requests.
Tanaka quarterbacked the format and interviewed UH head coach Norm Chow, his position coaches and players. Cherry, meanwhile, educated fans of UH football on the support services Na Koa provides the football team and its players. The faces behind the leadership of the Na Koa organization surfaced as did the value and importance of its mission.
“I am really impressed with how coach has taken over the program,” said Hawaii News Now General Manager Rick Blangiardi. “Coach I truly believe that we need to win off the field for you guys to be able to win on the field. That’s why we’re asking the people of Hawai’i tonight to help us raise some money for the much needed operational funds for you to do the things necessary and to fulfill the expectations of this program.”
The Warrior football team will be at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday for its 12th practice, a two-hour session starting at 9:30 a.m. Players and coaches will be available to sign autographs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
When asked about spring practice, Chow said, “We’ve been practicing for 10 days yesterday and it looked like 10 days.”
The 15-day spring practice schedule is a get-to-know process for coaches evaluating talent and players learning the new schemes and techniques they will be asked to execute when the season rolls around Sept. 1 at USC.
“It’s exciting because of the way the young men have bought in to what we’re trying to get done,” Chow said. “The run-and-shoot offense, which is a very productive way of playing offense, is not a part of us anymore. We’re trying to run the ball a little more. We’re going to be very, very aggressive on defense, playing a lot of man (to-man) schemes with Coach (Thom) Kaumeyer. So it is different but the young guys are so willing, and want it so badly, it’s made it fun. Although sometimes we’re making errors, that’s ok as long as the attitude is there, the want-to is there, the try-hard is there, we’re going to be fine.
“It is an exciting time. To run a Division I football program it takes a lot of money because of all the things that are necessary to be successful.”
A lot of the success the team will enjoy will be predicated on coaches putting players in position to be successful, Chow said.
“We’re teachers. I feel that our job as coaches is to magnify the skills of the players we have. So we have to determine the type of players we have. If (quarterback) David Graves is not good behind center than we shouldn’t have him behind center. Basically, you get back to what you know best. But for the most part we want to make sure our guys have success because they are doing what they are good at.”
Chow said he warned returning players about the level of intensity the program required, while dealing with the multiple changes.
“They needed to know about us and we were not going to force ourselves upon them. We wanted them to get a feel for us and that we were going to meet back two or three weeks after recruiting and we were going to find out their commitment to us. We’ve told them, ‘This is going to be a tough program to be a part of,’ because we are embarking on a new schedule, a new conference, we’re going to play some extremely difficult games, and we’re going to practice and make sure we are ready for the schedule.”
Defensively, Kaumeyer tried to paint a picture.
“What we’re trying to do is maximize what we have on defense. Part of our strength is going to be the defensive line,” the coach said. “We have some seniors in there we have some very good players who got some sacks a year ago. We have a young linebacker crew, so our idea is to get five guys down at the line of scrimmage. That way we can kind of minimize the amount of double teams we get up front, one-on-one pass rush, or one-on-one blocks to beat. We feel with the defensive line and the linebackers we have in that defensive scheme, that we’re going to put some pressure on the quarterback.”
Kaumeyer shared the defensive goals the Warriors have.
“No. 1 is we want to win the conference. Then after that we want to be the top defense in the conference and be in the top 10 in the nation. And that’s something we believe we can get to, but we have to do the right things at the right time. To come together as a group and achieve those things as a group. If everybody buys into it individually, we have a good chance of accomplishing that as a group.”