Surfriders Honor Longtime Coach, Teacher Alex Kane Aug. 30
The hours that Alex Kane spent at Kailua High football stadium made the facility something of a second home during his 32-year tenure at the school. And on Aug. 30, shortly after dusk, the school will honor him for his years of service by officially naming its football facility Alex Kane Stadium.
“I’m proud, even though I understand that usually you have to have died for something like this to happen,” joked Kane, who will be there for a ceremony that night prior to Kailua’s home game against Aiea.
“We thought it would be fitting,” said athletic director Ramona Takahashi.
“He had a good impact on our school during his time here. There was an interest here in doing that when I became athletic director, but there’s a process that has to happen.
“When I took over,” she added, “I called on him a few times, and he came down and met with me and helped me. He’s a very humble man who has spent the last 55 years in athletics and education.”
Takahashi started coaching in Kailua’s girls basketball program when Kane was still the AD himself. “He was a total disciplinarian,” she said. “When he would walk through the school, people would notice. He had high expectations and was very clear in his directions. He was perfect for Kailua. He set the tone.”
In addition to serving as its longtime AD and head football coach, Kane also coached track and baseball at times. In fact, when he arrived on campus in 1962, he immediately accepted the head baseball job and became an assistant to then-football coach Joe Kahahawai.
“I’d just bought a place and wanted easy access to work,” explained Kane, who had been teaching at Kawananakoa Intermediate and coaching at Roosevelt High. “Joe was a great friend of mine, and I came to be his assistant.”
The two men saw the Surfriders win the OIA football championships in 1963 and ’64. Then in 1965, Kane became head coach and led the team to a third straight league title.
The real MVP of the Kane ohana, in Alex’s view, was his wife, Francis, who raised the couple’s four children (Eric, Jason, Kristie and Aaron). “She’s the one who held the family together,” he said. “I wasn’t around the house very much.”
For many of his years as a Kailua educator and coach, Kane also worked a second job as a maître ‘d at Queen’s
Surf in Waikiki. He then worked for Sheraton Hotels in security, and finally — at the request of a friend who had just bought a pub — as a bartender.
His shift at Queen’s Surf was from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., leaving Kane with only short periods of time to get some rest.
These days, he keeps active playing softball and following the activities of his 10 grandchildren, and he still follows the prep football scene. Grandson Dylan Kane plays for
Kamehameha-Kapalama and is among the state’s top Division I college prospects at present.
“I watch a lot of games, even when he (Dylan) isn’t playing,” said Kane. “I still enjoy the game.”