Rod York steps up as new head football coach for Trojans
Sometimes where you are is where you belong.
Rod York can relate to that. His work as Mililani High School’s defensive coordinator the past three seasons, and before that under Nolan Tokuda at Leilehua, made York an in-demand candidate in the off-season for jobs at other schools.
But York, who also is a special education teacher at Mililani during the day, decided to stay and coach the Trojans.
“I had offers to go elsewhere, but I wanted to stay,” he said. “I planned on staying as an assistant at Leilehua until Darnell (Arceneaux) surprised us all with his decision (to leave Mililani’s head coaching job).”
When Arceneaux elected to jump in the spring to Saint Louis, his alma mater, York was quickly named interim head coach and was officially hired as head coach in the last few weeks.
“I’m excited and honored,” he said. “ This is where I will end my coaching career.”
Asked about the major difference between being head coach and an assistant, he responded, “ Now, I don’t have to ask permission to do a lot of things.”
Athletic director Glenn Nitta noted several reasons York will make the ideal head coach for the Trojans, who went 7-3 last year in Arceneaux’s final season. “We like his integrity — he’s disciplined and he holds people accountable,” Nitta said. “He’s passionate about the game and about the kids. He has a blue-collar work ethic, and he has a good plan. He’s been with the program awhile, and having him on campus during the day is a plus.”
It is still possible York will call the defense during games as he did when he was defensive coordinator.
“We’re talking about that right now,” he laughed of his play-calling duties, adding that with former Leilehua standout B.J. Fruin on his defensive staff, it should help compensate for his own shift to new responsibilities.
The rest of the defensive staff will remain intact with assistants Aaron Dacuag, Andy Scott, Sam Searle, John Naipo and Frankie Fau returning. On the offensive side, Bobby George takes over as coordinator. A former player of the year at Saint Louis in the ’ 90s, George was Aiea’s offensive coordinator last year on Wendell Say’s staff. Joining George on the offensive staff are B.J. Batts, Brendyn Agbayani, Tyler Williams and Jeff Cadiz.
Coaching changes often bring on the dreaded “transition year,” but in York’s case, that isn’t necessarily true, as he was entrenched as much as any coach in the program over the past three years. “There hasn’t been too much of a transition,” he said. “I was very involved with the kids doing grade checks every week, and I’m familiar with how to run things. I know the administration, the kids and their parents already.
“And Darnell has been real good as far as the transition. He always answers his phone, even when in the middle of his own practice at Saint Louis. I even called him early in the morning.”
The Trojans return highprofile players at key positions, including quarterback Trent McKinney, running back Ethan Cook and receivers Kevin Fuentes, Hassan Richardson and Darius Calma.