Miano Fulfills His Destiny As Kaiser’s Head Football Coach

A lifetime in football (at all levels) has taught Rich Miano to always maintain a readiness for the unexpected.

Indeed, when the Kaiser job opened unexpectedly this spring, he responded without hesitation.

“(As a college coach at UH) I’ve always preached to high school and Pop Warner coaches that the roots of what we do are at these levels and not in the pro or college game,” said Miano, who played 11 sea- sons in the NFL following a noteworthy career at UH.

“The first part of my giving back is at my alma mater. I’ve been here (Hawaii Kai) 30 years now, and this seemed like a perfect fit. It’s my destiny.

“I prepared to be a head coach for a long time,” he added.

Among Miano’s trade- marks as a player — and as an assistant at UH — was his will to work. The Cougars have quickly taken to his example, to hear him tell it.

“The anxiety I had about this level was that guys wouldn’t have a passion or love for the game,” he said. “I’m impressed with how

hard they’ve worked and how dedicated they are. I’ve been truly inspired by their work ethic, their ‘want- to’ and their perseverance. They run (condition) more than any team around. This game is not for everyone.”

As his hiring came at the end of spring drills and prior to summer workouts, Miano has special praise for assistant Chad Ikei, who has figured big in the transition.

“To me, he is the best strength coach in America,” said Miano, who also retained assistants Matt Faga and Sola Soliai from the previous staff. “He did a great job of holding this together (through the coach- ing change). I feel blessed to have them (coaches).”

Miano also had high praise for veterans Fiton Siiahi (LB/DE/RB/TE), Kai Gonda (S/RB/SB), Justin Isobe (MLB) and Mana Chong-Gum (QB/SB/LB) through the early days of the Cougars’ fall camp.

“Those four have emerged as our leaders as well as prospects for the next level,” he said. “They’ve stood out so far.”

Scheme-wise, Miano noted his many influences, but added “I’m also trying to establish my own (coach-

ing) identity. We’ll have a hybrid offense and an attack- ing type of defense,” he said. “We’re trying to run this as much like a college program as possible.”

Kaiser hosts Campbell in a pre-season game on

Saturday. The Cougars’ Oahu Interscholastic Association White Conference opener is set for Saturday, Aug. 18, versus Kalaheo (7 p.m. at Kailua High School).