Okimoto made most of opportunity

It was 1992, and the Warriors had one last football scholarship to offer. Head coach Bob Wagner and recruiting coordinator Kanani Souza wanted to award the scholarship to someone who would “pay it forward” following his UH career.

Wagner and Souza consulted with several high school coaches. Skippa Diaz, the legendary Farrington High coach, made a compelling case for an undersized running back whose family was living in public housing at the time.

“Skippa saw a lot of kids come and go,” Wagner said in a telephone interview this morning. “When somebody like him says, ‘this kid is an absolutely great young person … ‘ Character matters. Skippa was a good part of it. He thought so highly of Randall, it was, ‘Hey, let’s give this kid a shot.'”

Randall Okimoto was a member of the Warriors for five seasons. He earned his degree, then returned to his alma mater as teacher and coach. On Wednesday, Okimoto announced he was stepping down as the Governors’ head coach after 16 seasons.

“One of the things we tried to do the last three or four years I was coach … we tried to get UH players out (into the community) as head coaches,” Wagner said. “Certainly you want to win games. But you want to develop people.”

Wagner said Okimoto was deserving of that final scholarship.

Wagner recalled thinking: “He’s such a good kid, even if he doesn’t play a lot, he may be a real asset to the community by being a part of the program.”

Wagner added: “Sure enough, it worked out that way.”


  1. burro sabio March 8, 2018 8:13 am

    Ekahi, Ichi, Uno, One, Foist

    Always sorry to see someone of Okimoto’s character step down but he will continue to be a great influence at Farrington.

  2. Mitchhawaii March 8, 2018 8:16 am

    Congrats Randall! You’ve come a long way!

  3. A-House March 8, 2018 10:45 am


    another feel good story about a “local” boy who did great things for his high school and community

    best wishes to Mr. Okimoto!

  4. 808WarriorFan March 8, 2018 10:51 am

    Tough loss for “Da Govs” … hope their replacement is up to the task … also a couple of “addah kine stuffs” … GOOD LUCK TO THE WALKONS … & … any word / update on who will replace former UH Special Teams Coordinator Mayer Chaudhari … ???

  5. Da Punchbowl Kid March 8, 2018 10:51 am

    Great coaches – Diaz and Okimoto. Coach Okimoto will be missed!

  6. Maddog50 March 8, 2018 10:54 am

    A great story about a guy who came from humble background and did well. Don’t know Randall but know guys like him. Congrats and best wishes Coach in all you do! GoWarriors!!

  7. Aaron March 8, 2018 12:05 pm

    Coach okimoto has season tickets on my section and is often in the stands at warrior football games. Farrington is losing a good one…

  8. Willie March 8, 2018 12:37 pm

    Randall is a class act, coaches with passing on life leassons to all his players as a priority. He sure did pay it forward, I’m sure his players really appreciate what he did for them, both on and off the field. Props to him on a great coaching career with the Govs.

  9. seewhy March 8, 2018 12:58 pm

    Mahalo for all your years of service! Da Govs are sure losing a good one.

  10. Captain Ron March 8, 2018 1:07 pm

    Regarding Devin Griffith, “Walk-on tryout has drive to overcome struggles”, in today’s sports section. Since, at the moment he isn’t a college athlete, can he receive gifts or help from those who feel so inclined? He certainly sounds like a young man worthy of our support. Would it be permissible to contact him through the football office?

  11. Na Alii Pride March 8, 2018 1:15 pm

    I always thought Bob Wagner was a good guy. I was a junior at UH and got to write for the student newspaper. Whether it was after practice, or late at night, he always took the time to answer my questions. So did Coach Les. Jus sayin.

  12. H-Man March 8, 2018 2:34 pm

    Great Warrior, great coach, great person. Aloha and fair sailing to Wendall Okimoto.

  13. Akamai Okole March 8, 2018 4:11 pm

    Great Afternoon All!

    Nice run for a Warrior/Gov Running Back.

    Aloha Coach.

  14. burro sabio March 8, 2018 6:20 pm

    According to Football Scoops, Keiki Misipeka will be RB Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at Delaware State.

  15. Maddog50 March 9, 2018 6:10 am

    Just 15 days away from spring practice. Very excited to here about the progress of the red shirt crew at almost all positions and also the early arrivals that will be among this group. Wish I could be there to attend practice. I think it’s gonna a completely new look and a different kind of energy with the new staff. Awaiting announcement of ST Coach to round out the staff and also a little more news on the walk-ons that have been invited to participate. I heard about 8 or so that got invites, maybe a gem or two as far as contributors. GoWarriors!!!!!

  16. PONO March 9, 2018 6:49 am

    Coaching at Farrington is not an easy job. Thanks to coach Okimoto for making a difference in the lives of many young men. He may not have been the best X’s and O’s coach but no one cared more about his players.

  17. suckkabooya March 9, 2018 9:53 am

    The Big West Conference is the perfect conference for Hawaii Basketball. It’s such a winnable conference for everyone in it. There’s just no dominant program there. Ganot has an opportunity to become that program, he just needs to create an identity. His teams play hard and that’s a good starting point. They needed another Noah Allen type player (or a bigger version of Stepteau) and they would have been that team this year. Ganot is so close. Also, our (Hawaii’s high schooler’s) elite players can succeed in this conference, they just need to have a little more exposure to the “Mainland” style of play as youngsters (like our young Football prospects have). Ganot has some Riley Wallace DNA so I think he can do it. It’s right there. Mediocrity…so frustrating.

  18. Andrew March 9, 2018 10:26 am


    it’s quite embarrassing actually. Comparing the schools in the conference, UH should really be one of the top teams in the conference across all sports. In reality though, UH is a middle of the pack program overall in the Big West. Volleyball (Women’s, Men’s and Beach) are the exception.

  19. Stephen Tsai March 9, 2018 12:30 pm

    New post: http://www.hawaiiwarriorworld.com/?p=45568

Comments are closed.