Bui Steps Down as Football Coach at Maui High

February 10, 2015, 10:43 PM HST · Updated February 10, 10:48 PM
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Maui High head football coach David Bui (right) stepped down Tuesday, citing family reasons for his decision. Bui is shown with assistant coach Kamaloni Vainikolo in the Sabers' 2014 season-ending game against Lahainaluna. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

Maui High head football coach David Bui (right) stepped down Tuesday, citing family reasons for his decision. Bui is shown with assistant coach Kamaloni Vainikolo in the Sabers’ 2014 season-ending game against Lahainaluna. File photo by Rodney S. Yap.

By Rodney S. Yap

Maui High School’s David Bui decided Tuesday to quit coaching football for the Sabers in favor of coaching baseball for his son’s Little League team.

Bui called the difficult decision “life-changing” — choosing to spend his valuable free time with his home family rather than his football family.

Bui steps down after guiding the Sabers to the Maui Interscholastic League Division I championship last year and the team’s first berth to the state tournament since 2000.

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“We tried to build a program that is tough and competitive every year, so regardless of when I made my decision to leave, it would be hard because I’m connected to the kids and I have a passion for the players,” the coach said.

Maui High ended its best season under Bui (7-3) in November, losing to sixth-ranked Farrington, 22-6, in the quarterfinals of the 2014 state tournament at Aloha Stadium.

“It was coming,” said Bui about his decision. “I knew it was going to be hard to walk away whenever I decided to do it and I think now is the right time to do it because I just got the job to coach my son’s baseball team.”

Maui High football coach David Bui helped the Sabers return to the state football tournament last year for the first time since 2000. File photo by Rodney S. Yap.

Maui High football coach David Bui helped the Sabers return to the state football tournament last year for the first time since 2000. File photo by Rodney S. Yap.

Bui’s youngest son, Peyton, plays 9-10 Little League baseball for the Waikapu Brewers. His oldest son, Dana, will be a freshman next year. Both sons attend Kamehameha Schools Maui.

“These last few weeks was the decided factor,” said Bui, who teaches ninth-grade English at Maui High. “Originally when we mapped it out I was just going to coach around my boys’ off-season schedule. But No. 1, I didn’t feel it was right part-timing it for the football boys and No. 2, I saw how happy my little one was to have me as his coach and we’re kind of doing well right now. I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity and thought this was the right time.”

Maui High suffered a decade of losing seasons until Bui was hired in 2011. Determined to “change the culture” of the program, the Sabers went 6-4 in 2013, marking the school’s first winning season since 2003.

After making his decision, Bui said he talked with athletic director Michael Ban first after school Tuesday and then texted his assistant coaches about a half hour later. News that he was stepping down travelled quickly around campus and soon afterwards parents “were texting me” he said.

Maui High head coach David Bui talks to his players prior to the Sabers' first-round game against Baldwin last year at War Memorial Stadium. File photo by Rodney S. Yap.

Maui High head coach David Bui talks to his players prior to the Sabers’ first-round game against Baldwin last year at War Memorial Stadium. File photo by Rodney S. Yap.

“It took a lot of people to build this program, it wasn’t just me,” said Bui, who plans to call a meeting to address the players in a week or so. “It’s hard to walk away because we know what’s coming back and we have a shot at it (the MIL title) again next year. But to me the way we envisioned things and the way things have played out, it would have been hard to walk away no matter when I decided to do it.”

As for the future of the Saber program, Bui said: “I’m hoping we will hire in-staff. There might me a couple of guys, I don’t want to put them on the spot or anything, but there’s one or two that I know are interested in the job. And when the time comes we’re going to sit down and discuss that — then I can make a recommendation and hopefully we can keep the continuity going.”

For now, Bui’s career record at Maui High is 19-19 overall and 16-16 in the MIL.

When asked if he sees himself returning to the gridiron, perhaps a few years from now?

“I hope so,” he answered. “I want to enjoy my older boy, whose going to be entering high school and playing competitive sports, so I want to enjoy that and be able to coach him up and kind of help him out. And my other son, he’s young and impressionable, so it’s important that I be there for him and when he gets a little bit older and has had enough of his dad maybe then I’ll get my toes into it again.”

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