Mr. Afoa brings experience


Photo by Kainoa Deguilmo

Academic counselor Ulima Afoa in his new position on the high school campus of Kamehameha Maui. Coach Afoa brings much experience to help KS Maui student-athletes both here and in making the transition to college.

Mr. Ulima Afoa, KSM’s new athletic academic counselor, brings a unique background. Before coming to Kamehameha Schools Maui, Coach Afoa has served in many positions including serving as a dean and athletic director at the high school level and coaching at the college level.

For 18 years, Mr. Afoa served as a defensive assistant as well as a special teams coordinator at San Diego State University. He also spent two years in the same positions for football at the University of Hawaiʻi in Mānoa.

Mr. Afoa explained how rigorous and busy the life of college football coaches and players are.

He said that the days typically go 15-16 hours. The coaches start at 8 a.m. to review film. From there, players would come in around 10 a.m. to get into the training room and receive medical treatment. After that they’d do a “flush” run to keep warm. At 2, there are team meetings, and practice would start at 3 and run until about 6:30. Once practice is over, players have meetings until 7, and then have study hall. They all go home around 11. That’s a Monday.

The San Diego State Aztec Warriors under Coach Afoa played in the 1986 Holiday Bowl, the 1991 Freedom Bowl, and the 1998 Las Vegas Bowl.

In addition to his college experience, Mr. Afoa was also at James Campbell High School in Ewa Beach, and he heldd various positions at other schools, such as being a dean of students.

Prior to that, Coach Afoa was a football coach at St. Louis High School in Honolulu and eventually became an athletic director there. He also helped get the football program at Kamehameha Keaau started, and now he is here at Kamehameha Maui.

Mr. Afoa said he enjoys being an academic counselor because he likes working with student-athletes.

“It’s basically been my career,” he said. “I think it’s important to develop healthy relationships with student-athletes to provide them with pathways for success.”

Mr. Afoa said the experience of working with Division 1 college athletes has helped him in dealing with various kinds of student-athletes. He used football as an example.

“Even if you play…in the pros, that’s only one-sixth of your life, as your body can’t keep functioning athletically,” he said. “My job is to help you take what you learned from that one-sixth and apply it to the other five-sixths of your life.”