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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Coaching rivalries put aside at All-Poly Camp

By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer

VIDEO: Polynesian college coaches and prep players gather for All-Poly football camp

In the midst of college football's increasingly intense, dog-eat-dog world of recruiting wars exists an ohana-like fraternity that willingly shares secrets about diamonds in the rough.

While sometimes in the running for the same coveted prospects, they also tip each other off on hidden gems and make suggestions on how to get them on campus.

They also serve as mentors, job counselors and friends-in-need.

"It's a great brotherhood," said Brigham Young University defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi, referring to the Polynesian Coaches Association. "We have a great network, and there's a lot of camaraderie."

Nowhere is that more evident than at the nationally renowned "All-Poly Camp," which is being held in Hawai'i for the first time this week after eight highly successful years in Utah.

The three-day camp — featuring more than 300 mostly local high school players instructed by coaches representing more than 20 colleges — wraps up today at Kapi'olani Park with a full-pads scrimmage followed by an awards ceremony and barbecue lunch.

There are several, maybe dozens of NCAA Division I prospects attending the camp, and no doubt some will receive added recruiting attention after it is over.

But since its inception eight years ago, with only eight coaches and about 40 athletes attending the inaugural event, the All-Poly Camp is not so much about "who will go to what college" but more about all of them continuing their education, period.

"The bottom line is we want all of these kids to go to college," said Colorado associate head coach Brian Cabral, a former standout at Saint Louis School who played eight seasons in the NFL. "We'll pass names around, a lot of it is finding a place for all of them. Division I is not for everybody, but there can be a college for anybody ... We want them to leave this camp a better football player and understand the importance of academics."

The PCA network extends from coast to coast and beyond — from Annapolis, Md., (Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo) to Louisville, Ky., (Louisville graduate assistant Abu Ma'afala) to Jonesboro, Ark., (Arkansas State defensive backs coach Corey Batoon) to Logan, Utah (Utah State defensive line coach Chad Kaha'aha'a).

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