Rod York steps up as new head foot­ball coach for Tro­jans

MidWeek Islander (Central Oahu) - - Front Page - By JACK DANILEWICZ

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.

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