Thursday, April 03, 2014

Rich Miano steps down as Kaiser coach

After two seasons, and lifting his alma mater to a state title, the Rich Miano era at Kaiser is done.

Sources confirmed Wednesday night that Miano has resigned as football coach, just months after guiding the Cougars to the Division II state championship.

Miano sent an email to his coaching staff, parents and players. He pointed to his new job (as a stevedore) and a desire to simplify his life as two reasons for stepping down. 

Miano's team went 19-4 in two seasons, including 12-1 last fall. Kaiser defeated Kauai 17-7 in the D-II final.

His short stint produced an immense display of talent, some of it homegrown and some of it coming from transfers. That led to some controversy, particularly from programs that lost football players to Kaiser.

Miano played 11 seasons in the NFL after an unusual, but successful ascension as a younger player. He was a standout defensive back at Kaiser, helping the team win the Prep Bowl in 1979. He walked on at the University of Hawaii and became a starter and All-WAC selection in 1983 and '84.

*** 5/1/14

Cameron Higgins is the new head football coach at Kaiser High School.

Sources confirmed that Higgins has been selected to succeed Rich Miano, who stepped down after two seasons.

Miano's teams went 20-4 in those two years, winning the Division II state title in 2013. Higgins, the former Weber State and Saint Louis quarterback, was Miano's offensive coordinator.

*** [9/3/14]

No matter the official title, Rich Miano sees himself as a coach, a builder of teams, a consolidator of support. This is as true today for the safety manager for Horizon Lines as it was when he was an assistant under June Jones and Greg McMackin. He also hopes to bring these elements to television, as he teams up with Robert Kekaula to broadcast UH football games on OC-16.

For a passionate supporter and occasional critic of the program, providing color commentary for his alma mater is a challenge that is both welcome and difficult.

“I knew this job was dangerous, so to speak,” Miano says. “But as I told Dan Schmidt (OC Sports’ general manager and executive producer), I only know how to be professional.”

That professionalism will be watched carefully.

UH has the right of refusal, allowing the school to choose who will broadcast its games. Miano got the OK from athletic director Ben Jay and head football coach Norm Chow, but that doesn’t make the job easier for the 11-year NFL veteran.

The decision to take the job was an easy one. Miano has known Kekaula for years and was eager to work with the affable broadcaster. The only issue was the status of his friend and mentor Dick Tomey, whose position he is filling. But that wasn’t actually an issue because the former UH and Arizona head coach is retired, traveling and enjoying time with the grandkids. Tomey will likely continue working with OC-16 in a lesser role.

*** 10/29/14

After months of discussion, the OIA has decided to institute a rule forcing many transfers to sit out from their sport for a year.

League principals approved the rule, which kicks in for the 2015-16 academic year, by an 18-0 vote.

OIA executive director Raymond Fujino said the new rule comes with an appeals process. In a case where a family moves to a new district out of necessity, an appeal could be heard.

The new rule will require a student-athlete to sit out one calendar year in any sport he or she previously played at the varsity level. For the most part, though, the new rule is in effect because of transfers in football.

Transfering has become a growing concern in high school football in recent years, most prominently at Kaiser and Mililani. The hiring of former University of Hawaii assistant coach Rich Miano spurred an influx of football transfers during his two seasons at Kaiser. Miano said openly that he and his staff would do their best to "recruit" football players to the program, which had been struggling in Division II.

Mililani was also drawing a large number of transfers during that time, though coach Rod York never uttered the "R" word. York, another former UH player, insisted that he never reached out to players or parents to lure them to Mililani.

With those two programs rolling up victories and collecting more talent, administrators began to ratchet up discussions about changing the transfer rule.

Miano left the job after last season, and the chatter around a rule change seemed to simmer down. However, things heated up again when a Kauai student-athlete left that campus during the preseason to transfer to Kaiser, where Cameron Higgins is now the head coach.

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