UH Rainbow Warriors select Am. Samoa’s Keikiokalani Misipeka-Kelemete as Running Back Coach
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The University of Hawaii Manoa’s Football Program has recently brought back their All-Time record setting quarterback Timmy Chang as their new Head Football Coach, and Chang is looking to start a new era with the Rainbow Warriors. Step One — Chang has hired six new coaches to his staff, which includes American Samoa’s very own Keikiokalani Misipeka-Kelemete, who is well known as Keiki Misipeka to everyone in the territory.
In an exclusive interview with Samoa News, via messenger, Misipeka, who has been a big help for the territory in assisting student athletes through recruitment programs and sending our local kids off island through scholarship opportunities, remembered the times he also coached in American Samoa.
His resume includes mentoring and coaching throughout the U.S. over the past 5 years – He told Samoa News via Messenger that “I’m going into my sixth year of college coaching. But before this, I volunteered my time assisting student athletes through non-profit organizations such as FH 100 and PISA.
“I would connect with programs from the Mountain West, Pac-12 down to the SEC and ACC conferences,” he said.
When asked about his thoughts when he found out that he was selected as a coach for the Rainbow Warriors, a team where he starred as a running-back, Misipeka replied via email, “I was full of excitement. I played there and enjoyed the brotherhood I have built with my former teammates.
“I’ve stayed in contact with them through the years and I appreciate Timmy Chang giving me an opportunity.”
He continued, “TC and I kept in touch throughout our college coaching careers. We shared how special it would be if we had the opportunity to coach together at Hawaii. To be given this opportunity, I am truly grateful and ready to restore the pride of the program.”
When asked about his focus and goals going into the UH Football program, Misipeka in his email to Samoa News noted that the key is “to understand our student-athletes, and to build and restore trust within our staff.
“TC, myself, Chris Brown and a few others have played here. We understand the culture, and I believe we can relate to the athletes.”
With the opportunity to coach on the Rainbow Warriors staff, Misipeka via email said that this will be an opportunity for the student-athletes from the territory to make it to a Division 1 program.
He went on to point out, “There is a lot of talented athletes that came out of American Samoa, players like Isaac Sopoaga, Destiny Vaeao, Frankie Luvu, Domata Peko, Logan Tago, Lepo Fualaau, Solomona Fetuao, the Mauigoa brothers, Oakie Salave’a and so forth. It’s unfortunate there aren’t enough programs recruiting on island.”
Misipika noted that “as the new running back coach and with ties to Samoa, I hope to recruit and bring that talent to the University of Hawaii.”
In his accomplishments, Misipeka wanted to acknowledge and thank those who’ve helped him on his life’s journey. Via email, he said, “First and foremost I want to give all the glory and praise to the Man above for His blessings, Amen.
“I [also] want to thank all the local coaches on island. I understand the service you provide the youth is voluntary. I want to thank our leaders for continuing to support the youth programs. I want to thank my family, friends, and especially my mom, Iolani Misipeka. Lastly I want to thank my wife and kids, the sacrifices we have made as a family. I love and appreciate all of you, GO WARRIORS!!!”