WAILUKU - Baldwin High School football coach A.J. Roloos has resigned his position after six
seasons - all of which resulted in Maui Interscholastic League Division I championships - school Principal Catherine Kilborn confirmed Tuesday.
Roloos guided the Bears to the semifinals of the state tournament in 2007 and 2011.
A.J. Roloos has been under investigation by the Department of Education for his alleged inappropriate interaction with students.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
"Yes, he has," Kilborn replied when asked if Roloos had resigned.
She didn't know the exact date but believed the resignation was tendered in the latter part of June. He has been the subject of a state Department of Education investigation over alleged inappropriate interaction with students.
Keneke Pacheco, a 13-year assistant coach for the Bears, has been named interim head coach for the 2013 season by school Athletic Director Kahai Shishido. Kilborn said the job will be open after this season. With less than a month to go before practice begins, she said that it was not possible to go through a formal job search this year.
"I'm very excited," said the 52-year-old Pacheco, a 1979 Maui High School graduate. "The whole opportunity to be part of Baldwin football at a bigger capacity, I think it's a great challenge for me."
Roloos has been under investigation by the Department of Education since February for his alleged inappropriate interaction with students, according to a letter sent to Baldwin parents by the DOE.
When asked if the investigation was the reason for Roloos' resignation, Kilborn said that "it was his personal decision."
"He tendered his resignation in writing," she said.
Kilborn is not sure of the status of the investigation but said she will know soon when it concludes.
"I have not received a report, so typically if there is any kind of ongoing investigation it's conclusion comes with a report," she said.
Susan Kitsu, director of the DOE civil rights compliance office, said she could not comment on the investigation because it is a personnel matter. The letter sent to parents outlining the investigation of Roloos was written by Kitsu, and forwarded to Kilborn and Alvin Shima, complex area superintendent.
Kilborn said she does not know how long it will take before she receives the report on the investigation.
"That's difficult to say, it is in the hands of the investigators," she said. "I have been involved in other investigations where reports were forthcoming quickly and other investigations that took upwards to a year, so it depends."
But when the investigation is concluded and the report is presented to her, Kilborn noted that she will be the "decision maker."
"The way investigations work, because I would be the decision maker as a result of the investigation, I am not involved in terms of being questioned. I question others," said Kilborn, a 15-year principal at the intermediate school level before taking over at Baldwin.
When asked if law enforcement might become involved in the case, Kilborn said: "I don't anticipate anything because I don't have the facts of the case at my hand."
Multiple attempts to reach Roloos by phone were unsuccessful.
Kilborn, who took over as principal in November, said she did not know Roloos very well and could not say if she was sad over Roloos' departure.
"I have been at Baldwin High School for such a short time," she said. "I always regret when circumstances are unpleasant. I don't know A.J. personally or well, so I don't think my personal feelings have much to do with the situation."
Replacing Roloos at the helm of the Bears will be Pacheco, who played one season at West Hills (Calif.) Junior College before a broken ankle ended his career. He will be the third first-year head coach among the five MIL teams this season, joining Kyle Sanches at King Kekaulike and Cody Nakamura at Kamehameha Maui.
The Bears will be looking for their 10th MIL title in the last 11 years this fall.
"It is definitely a high standard that we have set," Pacheco said. "We want to go out there and make the fans proud of what we do and what we accomplish this year. We want to just play Baldwin High football, play good, sound football and try to keep up with the great tradition for Baldwin High School."
Pacheco said that Rodney Figueroa, who was an interim co-head coach through spring drills with Roloos unavailable due to the ongoing investigation, will stay as defensive coordinator and also will serve as an assistant head coach. David Carino is the offensive coordinator.
Nakamura, a former standout receiver at Baldwin, moved from the Bears' staff to Kamehameha Maui. Jordan Helle, a record-setting quarterback for the Bears before graduating in 2008, has gone from the Baldwin staff to be offensive coordinator for the Warriors. Brian Harris, a former head coach for the Bears, is the new offensive line coach at Kamehameha.
"The MIL is a tough league," Pacheco said. "Basically, we have only so many teams on the island, every given season we have competition. I am going to miss all those guys, but we move forward, we move on, we plug away at the new style of football that we want to bring to Baldwin High School."
* Rob Collias can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.