Maui’s Kauhaahaa Reportedly Going to Wisconsin
By Rodney S. Yap
Wisconsin is set to introduce Utah State’s Gary Andersen as its new football coach on Friday, Dec. 21, and former Baldwin High School coach/player Chad Kauhaahaa is reportedly going to join him in Madison.
Two confirmed sources have indicated that Anderson plans to hire Kauhaahaa, the current defensive line coach at Utah. Kauhaahaa served as defensive line coach at Utah State in 2009 and 2010.
Doris Sullivan of Pacific Islands Athletic Alliance wrote: “Confirmed! Maui Boy Chad Kauha’aha’a will join Gary Andersen’s staff at Wisconsin,” in a PIAA Hawaii Facebook post Wednesday night.
Sullivan founded PIAA, a non-profit organization assisting Hawaii and American Samoa athletes secure athletic and academic scholarships, and has been networking with college coaches for more than a decade.
As a Utah recruiter, Kauhaahaa was responsible for Los Angeles, Hawaii and American Samoa. Hawaii has been Kauhaahaa’s recruiting area since he began his college coaching career in 2005.
When Kauhaahaa was at Utah State he helped recruit former Maui High standout Kamaloni Vainikolo (2008, transfer from El Camino College), who is currently a coach on the Sabers’ staff, and King Kekaulike all-star defensive end Elvis Kamana-Matagi (2009), who is a red-shirt sophomore nose guard at Utah State.
Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel writer Jeff Potrykus reports in jsonline.com that Andersen is expected to bring most of his staff to UW.
However, the Salt Lake Tribune is reporting today that Aggies’ offensive coordinator Matt Wells will replace Anderson at Utah State. The school is expected to introduce Wells later this afternoon.
Maui Now’s attempts to reach Kauhaahaa for a comment last night and today have been unsuccessful.
Kauhaahaa, who also worked as the defensive line coach at Weber State from 2005-09, coached Utah senior defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, who was named a first-team All-American by the Associated Press on Dec. 12. It was the second major All-America team for Lotulelei, who was named a first-team Walter Camp All-American on Dec. 6.
Two seasons ago Kauhaahaa joined his alma mater (1997) and coach Kyle Whittingham, who was the Utes’ defensive coordinator during Chad’s playing career at Utah from 1993-96, where Kauhaahaa as a second-team all-WAC defensive lineman in 1996.
Kauhaahaa posted a 25-5-2 record in three seasons as head coach at Baldwin, winning two Maui Interscholastic League championships. His teams ranked in the top five in the state all three seasons.
According to Potrykus’ story, Wisconsin running backs coach Thomas Hammock and assistant secondary coach Ben Strickland are expected to be retained.
“Hammock is an outstanding position coach and as recruiting coordinator should be able to hold together UW’s 2013 recruiting class,” Potrykus writes.
UW was expected to introduce Andersen at a news conference today, but a snowstorm changed those plans.
Andersen interviewed with Wisconsin on Monday.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported Tuesday that two sources close to the Badgers program said Andersen was athletic director Barry Alvarez’s top choice to succeed Bret Bielema, who left to take the Arkansas job.
Alvarez certainly is familiar with Andersen. On Sept. 15, the Aggies nearly upset the Badgers, but lost 16-14 when kicker Josh Thompson missed a 37-yard field goal in the final seconds.
In four years at Utah State, Andersen was 27-24, including this season’s 11-2 mark. The Aggies nearly went unbeaten, losing only to Wisconsin and BYU, 6-3.
Andersen led Utah State to its first bowl victory in 19 seasons on Dec. 15, a 41-15 triumph over Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
On Nov. 30, Andersen released a statement through the university that he would remain at Utah State after his name had surfaced in connection to multiple openings. But that was before Bielema left Wisconsin to take the job at Arkansas, opening up one of the more attractive positions in the Big Ten.
The Aggies won nine games in the previous four seasons before Andersen took over. The last football coach to finish his tenure in Logan, Utah, with a winning record was Phil Krueger who went 21-12 from 1973-75.
There was some speculation that Alvarez, who is coaching the team in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, would return to coaching for at least a year if he didn’t get one of his primary targets.
Andersen, a native of Salt Lake City, worked at Utah as an assistant under both Urban Meyer and Kyle Whittingham before taking the Utah State job in 2009.