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Curtis Lee to be honored at HIADA in June

March 15, 2012 - Robert Collias
The start of my story from today's edition:

KAHULUI - Curtis Lee's main focus as football coach at Maui High School was not championships.

Lee did earn titles - his 129-69-7 record at the Sabers' helm from 1984 to 2004 included nine Maui Interscholastic League crowns and four Neighbor Island championships - but the first thing he had in mind when he arrived on the Kahului campus was much simpler.

"When I came out of college and I started coaching, I had only one goal in mind," he said. "And that one goal was to send a kid to Division I football on a full scholarship. I didn't think about winning, losing, championships, because (education) is what I got out of it."

Lee, who retired from teaching at Maui High in 2008, will be honored for his work as a coach during the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association meeting in June. Two coaches are recognized each year - Lee will be joined by longtime Saint Louis offensive coordinator Vince Passas.

Previous recipients include former Lahainaluna football coach Lanny Tihada and former Baldwin basketball coach and AD Jon Garcia.

"It is nice that maybe people feel like I am in that class," Lee said.

Click here for the rest of the story.

Lee was the winningest current coach in the state at the time of his retirement and Maui High is 8-49-1 in the MIL since his departure with three winless seasons in the mix.

MIL Executive Director Joe Balangitao is the man who nominated Lee for the honor — those two went head-to-head from 1990-99 in the Maui High-Baldwin Big Game, crosstown rivalry. They combined to win all but two of the MIL crowns in that span.

Lee was very thankful to Balangitao for the nomination for this overdue (IMHO) recognition, as reflected by this quote that did not make the story:

"Being a coach and athletic director and head of the MIL, I am sure that he knows what goes into coaching and the dedication and the time and how unselfish we all are, not just me, all of the coaches," Lee said of Balangitao. "So, I am honored. I was thinking to myself, 'Why me? Why now?' I guess people still remember."

Rest assured, coach, they remember.


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