Athletic Dept. Leadership Changes 

Three Molokai High School (MHS) athletic department staff members are leaving their positions this fall, bringing in new, temporary leadership and triggering a lengthy hiring process for permanent replacements.

Athletic Director (AD) Hoku Haliniak has accepted a position with the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) as its Director of Sports Information and will be leaving Molokai this month. She said the assistant athletic director and the athletic trainer are also stepping down for personal reasons.

Haliniak called it “a huge coincidence that everyone’s leaving at the same time.”

Lee DeRouin, MHS science teacher and girls basketball coach, has been named the temporary AD.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge and keeping Molokai athletics moving forward and second to none,” said DeRouin, who has been coaching in Hawaii since 1996, with about 15 of those years on Molokai.

Progress for MHS Athletics

Haliniak said in her two years as MHS AD, she was able to schedule a lot of championship games on-island, which saves travel funds and brings in money for Molokai. Last year, Molokai hosted the cross country and softball Maui Interscholastic League (MIL) Championship, and this year, the girls volleyball and boys basketball championships will be held here. Two years in a row, the Molokai wrestling team held tournaments on-island. In 2016, the girls basketball and boys volleyball championships are also planned for Molokai, according to Haliniak.

Haliniak said she was also able to assist in bringing in outside athletic funding. Molokai High athletics received $85,000 last year she said, which has gone to updating safety equipment, new uniforms, and travel funds for the upcoming 2014-15 seasons. The additional funding will also support a new boys and girls judo team, which was formed for the upcoming year based on interest and the availability of a coach.

In addition, Haliniak said she campaigned for flexibility in MIL divisions to better match teams with their competition. She sat on a committee seeking to develop MIL policy on Division I and Division II to allow teams to move up and down in leagues based on how they’re playing that season. Currently, Molokai is a DII school, and Haliniak said many have wondered, why can’t individual teams play in the division they’re best suited for? She said Molokai’s baseball team, for example, should be DI, but current policy doesn’t allow it. She added that she hopes the next AD will continue this campaign.

Molokai athletic facilities are also receiving upgrades. The new softball field has recently been completed, and will be ready to use this season. In addition, Haliniak said a recent inspection of the school’s gym, the Barn, will hopefully lead to fixing a leaky roof and replacement of basketball rims. She said the inspector called the Barn “one of the most beautiful gyms in the state,” and Haliniak gives props to the custodians for keeping it in top shape.

Haliniak said she would like to thank those who have supported and helped her, especially the Parks and Recreation Dept. She added that she hopes she can continue to support Molokai athletics through her new position, and perhaps channel more HHSAA funding to the island.

“I feel sad and happy at the same time,” said Haliniak of her coming change.

Up for the Task

DeRouin said he has been busy learning the ropes from Haliniak and hopes to carry forward her goals while he holds the position.

“My whole life I’ve been coaching and working with students and in athletics,” he said. “[Molokai] is probably the most challenging AD in the state. I love the kids here and whatever I can do to help them succeed is my priority.”

As a biology, environmental science and physiology teacher, a substitute will be taking his place as long as he holds the temporary AD position, he said.

He added that as a classroom teacher, he will carry the relationships he has built with students into his new job, teaching “responsibility and all those lifelong lessons that kids learn through athletics.” He said as a coach himself, he feels he also has a good understanding of the needs of coaches and the challenges of traveling that he will bring to the table as AD.

“I’ll do the best I can with the time I’m there,” DeRouin said.

In the meantime, Haliniak said hiring a permanent AD position can be a lengthy process that can take “three months to three years.” The job posting must first go out internally, within the Hawaii Department of Education, for 30 days, and will be available to principals, vice principals, educational officers and other ADs. If no one applies, Haliniak said the position will be posted externally, allowing anyone in the nation with the proper qualifications to apply.


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