With all the battles that the Warriors fight for Hawaii on the field, Na Koa Football Club ensures that somebody is fighting for them when they’re off the field. Na Koa is a booster club dedicated to raising funds and support for Warrior football providing financial backup for players in academic pursuits as well as a breadth of other ventures.
Scott Kaulukukui, senior vice president at Hawaii Federal Credit Union, was named president of Na Koa last month and is dedicated to supporting the players and the football program. He hopes to raise $1.2 million by the end of his two-year term. Kaulukukui chose to get involved with Na Koa because of his family’s history with the Warriors.
“My family has been involved with UH football from back in the ‘30s when my uncle Tommy was a player,” Kaulukukui explains. “Then he coached in the ‘40s, and my dad played quarterback for him. This is my opportunity to give back to a program that has been so good to my uncle and my dad.”
Na Koa raises money for Warrior Football through club membership and a variety of events. Kaulukukui explains that those funds go toward helping the athletic department with anything it can’t afford, including players’ equipment and operational tools from video cameras to field maintenance.
The majority of Na Koa’s money goes toward helping athletes stay on track for graduation and ensuring that academics remain a priority for players. Funding players’ summer school tuition is a big part of that effort, Kaulukukui says. Na Koa funds also support a full-time academic coordinator to advise athletes and offer tutorial services.
For Kaulukukui, helping players both on and off the field is the best part of being involved with Na Koa. “You get great satisfaction to see the success of the program not only on the field ... but when you see [the players] graduate and get their degree.”
Na Koa has two benefits coming up this month. Starting at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 25, it hosts the 15th annual Pigskin Pigout at Murphy’s Bar and Grill, a Merchant Street block party that features food, drinks and a live auction. Tickets cost $100 and are available at the bar. For more information, call 531-0422 or visit hawaiibowlfoundation.org. And on Aug. 29, Na Koa hosts its second annual Na Koa Bowl from 5 to 10 p.m. at Stan Sheriff Center. The fundraiser will feature live entertainment by Henry Kapono, and past UH players will be in attendance. With a donation of $500, attendees can win a chance to be a “Fan Turned Sportscaster.” Fans will get to choose their favorite former player and interview them to produce a sports feature that will air during the live broadcast on KFVE. For more information, visit nakoa.org.
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