The landscape is changing rapidly among the Maui Interscholastic League hierarchy.
Half of the MIL's 12 schools have or will have new athletic directors this academic year.
The dean of the league's athletic leaders, Seabury Hall's Steve Colflesh, will retire at the end of the 2012-13 school calendar.
Steve Colflesh – Seabury Hall athletic director, who will retire after the school year
"I originally came here in 1980, took a year off, and returned in 1984 and I have been here ever since," Colflesh, 65, said Tuesday. "I'm excited for the program because I know that whoever takes over with all that energy and excitement will take it to - I hate to use the term, but - another level."
Melissa Colflesh, Steve's wife, was in Seabury Hall's original graduating class in 1967. After more than three decades on the Olinda campus, it is time for the Colfleshes to enjoy their grandchildren, ages 2, five months, and five weeks.
Steve Colflesh leaves with the legacy as a pioneer in the development of Division II sports across the board in the MIL and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association - the MIL was the first in the state to define the small schools as D-II.
"It's been great," he said. "We are very fortunate in Hawaii because it is such a small state, we all have input. We can sit in a meeting with guys like Ralph Martinson, those guys from Punahou, the legends, Cal Lee, and we can communicate and try to make a change. And as you know, people in Hawaii are the best. They are tolerant people, they are willing to change, they listen.
"For 30 years, it has been an absolute treat. And to work with (MIL executive directors) like Bobby Matsumoto, Stephen Kim, Kenji Kawaguchi, and now Joe Balangitao, guys with great integrity. They are all doing it for the right reasons, it is so special."
Colflesh's latest project has been spearheading the development of eight-player football - this fall, the MIL was the first league in the state to have the game as an official sport.
"A lot of people have been asking me what I will miss most," Colflesh said. "I think it is more the stories of the kids, who have just come through here and have really benefitted from being in athletics. . . . The championships, those are great and all that stuff, but that's not what it's about."
Kamehameha Maui's first athletic director Kurt Ginoza stepped down in September and former Kamehameha Kapalama football coach Kanani Souza is in place as the interim AD until a permanent replacement is named in December.
Maui Preparatory Academy has former Lahainaluna and Utah football standout Kawika Casco in his first year on the job. He runs an athletic department that is just starting to develop for the 7-year-old school, where varsity athletics are required for the high school's 53 students.
MPA has six sports currently and Casco hopes to add golf on an individual basis in the spring. When asked about eight-player football, Casco smiled and said that is a possibility in the future.
"Attending the (Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association) conference this summer was a huge help, networking with other ADs and taking a couple of the classes that they offered," Casco said Wednesday. "That was a huge help in making sure that I was prepared for the job."
Casco took over for Ryan Kirkham, who moved up to principal.
"Having Ryan as a former AD and as my principal right now has been a huge help," Casco said. "He's a sports guy and he backs the athletics program. He knows the importance of it."
MPA has a goal of adding surfing as a varsity sport, something Kim Ball - one of Casco's wrestling coaches at Lahainaluna - has been crusading for for more than a decade.
"I think for the whole MIL it is really close to getting started," Casco said. "This year it wasn't passed as a sport, but on the club scene, coach Kim Ball has been the driving force. He has done a lot of groundwork. I would really like to see it go further next year. We want to have a surfing team here and I would like to see the whole MIL have surfing as a sport."
Molokai athletic director Hoku Haliniak replaced Camie Kimball, who retired at the end of last year.
St. Anthony's Al Paschoal will remain as dean of students, but hand his dual role of AD to Tylan Rogers, who will continue as the school's athletic trainer and co-head football coach. Rogers takes the AD role on Nov. 1.
"I have spent the last 2 1/2 years with the kids, so I know a lot of them," Rogers said. "Al has been showing me the ropes, and he is still going to be our acting dean of students, so he is going to be sitting next to me, helping me out. This is a great opportunity that St. Anthony has given me and I can't wait to step up and see what I can do for the school."
King Kekaulike's P.K. Higa received official notice last week that he has had the interim tag removed and is the permanent replacement for the retired Kurtis Saiki.
Casco, the MPA athletic director, said Colflesh will be missed.
"He has been a huge help for the MIL," Casco said. "He has done a lot of groundwork - you look at the D-II schools and now you have got eight-man football. He has been a leader for the MIL, especially for the smaller schools."
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com