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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Like father, like son for Punahou's Ane

With a seven-year playing career in the NFL, The Advertiser's 2008 All-State Football Team's Coach of the Year could've taken a different path.

But Kale Ane followed his heart — and his father's footsteps — into coaching high school. And in his 10th season, the 1971 Punahou School graduate guided his alma mater to its first state football title.

"I really love the high school level," Ane said. "I love working with the kids and being a part of that. I've sometimes wondered what it would be like to coach college because there's more you can share because (the players) can digest more. I think it would be the same at the pro level. I enjoy watching the pros; I'm in awe of what they do. But I think high school and college would be more fun for me."

Ane was raised on football. He couldn't help it. His father was Charlie Ane (Punahou '49), who starred at USC and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection during a seven-year career with the Detroit Lions. After retiring, the elder Ane got into coaching. He was head coach at Damien from 1977 to 1981 and then at Maui's St. Anthony from 1992 to 1998. He passed away in May 2007.

Ane nearly mirrored his father's career. After playing collegiately at Michigan State, he played seven pro seasons, mostly with the Kansas City Chiefs, before retiring in 1981. He jumped into coaching quickly, joining his father as assistants at Radford under Bobby Stevens in 1982 and 1984. He later spent eight years as strength coach at the University of Hawai'i before coming back to his alma mater. He became head coach in 1999, when his father joined him.

"Towards the end of my career I started seriously thinking about coaching," Ane said.

Perhaps it was planted in his mind at an early age. Ane and his father always talked about coaching.

"We had been doing that for years, ever since I was young," Ane said. " 'What would you do with this?' I'd say, 'This,' and then he'd go 'No, you can't because I'm going to do this.' 'Well, you didn't say that. Now do this then.' We'd been doing that forever."

Sometimes the discussions got heated, Ane recalled. But just as there are officials to keep order on the field, there was Marilyn — Charlie's wife, Kale's mother — to keep the peace. His parents, he said, were his inspiration.

"My No. 1 influence is my father," Ane said. "My mom was always a big influence. She was in charge of the ice cream. When things got heated between me and my dad, she had to bring the ice cream to cool us off."

With a state title to his name, this is not the end for Ane, who also is assistant athletic director at Punahou. Tom Holden will retire at the end of the school year, but Ane said he is not ready to give up coaching to pursue the top position.

"It's such a big job that they'd prefer not to have a coach do that portion," Ane said. "I'm grateful I can coach and be an administrator here. That's the bout that we have here. Tom does a great job and people don't realize the hours that he puts in."

And while Ane will lose one of the most decorated high school players this state has seen in Manti Te'o, there are more players to groom for the next level, whether it's in football or not.

"I'm looking forward to coaching," Ane said. "I'm excited about it. We're going to miss Manti and the seniors. It's bittersweet every year because it's like graduation. They're gone and the relationship will be different now. But I'm grateful for the time we had together. I'm looking forward to how they do at the next level or what ever endeavor they decide to get into."

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