Aylett Wallwork Jr. received one of the best news of his football life on Monday when he was named the new head coach of Maui High School, his alma mater.
He will, however, be missing a key person when the Sabers take to the field in the fall: Aylett Wallwork Sr., who died in March 2021 and was a noted assistant at Maui High from 1988 to 2002 under the legendary Sabers head coach. Curtis Lee.
“My father was at every training session” said Wallwork Jr. “Since I came back to practice (in 2016), his truck was parked on the side of the Maui High practice ground. For Big Boys, we practiced on the Maui High JV practice ground. He drove straight to the field with his truck – he was there every day. He was there more than most of our kids.
“When I left, he was texting me what I had done wrong. So I miss him a bit. … It was just difficult. Last season we had a season, but it was a bit hard to look aside and he’s not there.
Wallwork will be surrounded by his wife, Aspen, and their daughters Madison, 17, Emma, 12, Olivia, 9, when the 2022 season begins in
August. He will be the Sabers’ ninth head coach since Lee retired after 21 seasons in 2004.
“Oh, I’m excited – I mean, I’ve been leading our Big Boy team for a
whereas, to have the chance to see kids, some of them since sixth grade, go up to high school and be part of their success, I’m thrilled,” Wallwork said.
Maui High athletic director Mike Ban told Wallwork of the decision at noon Monday. Wallwork graduated from Maui High in 1992 before playing his first season at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and two more at Hawaii before injuries ended his career.
“We want to congratulate Coach Aylett Wallwork on becoming our next Head Football Coach,” said Ban. “He graduated from Maui High School and he played college football and we look forward to the seasons to come.”
Wallwork has been the interim head coach of spring drills since Robert Dougherty announced May 4 that he was moving to California to take a head coaching position at Morro Bay High School in the fall.
“We wrap up Spring Ball on Wednesday, just trying to plan for the summer with our weightlifting program, going into pre-season,” Wallwork says.
Maui High finished 4-2, all in Maui Interscholastic League play, in 2021 in the only season Dougherty coached. He was hired in November 2019 after the Sabers went 0-8 in MIL play, and the 2020 season was wiped out by the pandemic.
“We have a good core of kids, they are very good young men, we just try to keep them together,” Wallwork says. “Honestly, I’m just a little overwhelmed right now because I didn’t want to get too carried away during spring prom and plan so many things that, you know, if I wasn’t the person to do it.
“I just wanted to make sure I was the guy before I started doing everything. There are a lot of things going through my head. »
Wallwork said he would like to see the program return to the heavy hitting he enjoyed success with under Lee.
“There are certain things about the attack that I want to change, there are certain things about the defense that I want to change, so there is a lot of tweaking that we are trying to do, trying to get to a point where I’m comfortable,” Wallwork says. “Maui High has always been known as a racing team and we’re looking to move in that direction, but also keep some of what Rob did last year.
“So we’re trying to combine two styles because kids know a certain path and we want to be able to move seamlessly without confusion.”
Wallwork played defensive line, linebacker and punter during his time as a Saber. He played with Kraig Vickers, Fohe Ngalu and Mike Labuanan.
Wallwork, a 22-year veteran of the Maui Police Department and currently a detective, joined Maui High’s football staff in 2016 under Keith Shirota. Since then, Wallwork has also served as Maui High’s assistant under Rodney Figueroa, James Kammerer and Dougherty as head coaches.
Wallwork’s first call after being told by Ban that he had the job was to his wife and the second call was to Lee. Dougherty contacted Lee and asked him to participate in the program, and it’s something Wallwork plans to continue.
“I just hung up the phone with him” Wallwork said of Lee. “He’s my former coach, my dad coached with him for years, my dad was one of his assistants. So I’ve always been close to Coach Lee. I always thought his input was important. Honestly, football hasn’t changed – it’s just the terminology and the kind of system people want to use, but, I mean, football hasn’t changed.
“You still have to tackle, you still have to run. Coach Lee’s opinion means a lot. He has already done it. He knows the school, he knows the story. It was one thing, Rob made a connection, but, yeah, I’ll keep it that way.
The Dougherty staff remained in place under Wallwork this spring while in an interim position. Wallwork will be discussing its future staff in the coming days, but several of the current staff members may stay on.
“There are a lot of things going through my mind right now and I really can’t tell you everything because I want to be able to talk to them first,” Wallwork says. “I’m just excited for the opportunity.”
*Robert Collias is at email@example.com