Look up the word “seamless” in the dictionary to find an accurate description of the transition Hilo High’s football team went through the last time it had to replace a head coach.
The Vikings can only hope the void created by Kaeo Drummondo’s departure is filled as effortlessly.
Drummondo is stepping down as coach after winning a second state championship to cap five uber-successful seasons, Hilo athletic director Kurt Kawachi said Tuesday in announcing a vacancy for the position.
Drummondo, a police officer, couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday night, but Kawachi said the 34-year-old father of four was leaving to become the defensive coordinator at Kamehameha-Kapalama, his alma mater on Oahu.
“On behalf of Hilo High School and the entire Viking nation, we wish to extend our deepest appreciation to coach Kaeo Drummondo for his five years of service as the head football coach for the Hilo High Vikings football program,” Kawachi wrote in an email.
Drummondo flirted with leaving the program two years ago after the Viking won their first of two state titles under his direction, stepping down to become an assistant at Santa Rosa Junior College. About a month later, citing family considerations, he returned as Viks coach.
Drummondo came to Hilo as defensive coordinator in 2012 under coach David Baldwin, who helped revive the program.
Baldwin was let go after winning back-to-back BIIF titles in 2013 and ‘14, and the program didn’t miss a beat under Drummondo, who fashioned a league dynasty that has won seven consecutive titles, only losing three BIIF games in five seasons.
Hilo’s Division I state triumph in 2017 was the first for a Big Island team.
Drummondo, who continued to coordinate the defense once becoming coach, championed a we-is-greater-than-me philosophy in the program that was praised by former school principal Robert Dircks, Vikings offensive coordinator and state Rep. Chris Todd, D-Hilo, and Kawachi.
“Coach Kaeo has left an indelible mark on Viking athletics and he will surely be missed,” Kawachi said. “His commitment to excellence has certainly resonated amongst his players and his coaching staff. We wish coach Kaeo and his family the very best in all their future endeavors.”
Kamehameha-Kapalama finished 2-6 in 2019 in the ILH’s rugged Open Division. From 2016-19, Abu Ma’afala was 14-24 as Warriors coach.
Hilo’s next coach will have to get to work replacing the 12 all-BIIF players – including Offensive Player of the Year Kyan Miyasato and Defensive POY Kalen White – leaving the program.
Kawachi said all interested applicants can pick up an application packet at Hilo High School’s main office or gym office. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 27. For more information, call 313-5600.