Former University of Hawaii defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold is still making an impact in Hawaii even though he’s been working away from the Aloha State for the last 13 years. Reinebold is currently a coach in the Canadian Football League, but is still a part-time resident of Hawaii.
“I always came back in the offseason,” said Reinebold via Facetime. “But my brother moved here… I guess it’s been three years now. And he’s a retired military guy. So we’re starting to build a compound.”
Reinebold is holed up on Kauai currently, but he’s still helping families on Oahu.
“It really started with something I saw on television where they talked about keep Hawaii cooking.”
That inspired Reinebold to hit up his longtime friend Lane Muraoka, the owner of Big City Diner.
“When we would play late at night in Halawa at the stadium, I was living in Waimanalo and he would say ‘no problem Coach, we’ll keep the Kailua store open so you can get something to eat after the game.’ That’s the kind of guy he was,” remembered Reinebold.
The two decided to build on Lane’s existing partnership with the Make a Wish Foundation. Jeff will be fronting Big City Diner meals for deserving kids whose wishes are unable to be granted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They may be waiting on their wish, and now nobody knows when they’ll get their wish,” said Reinebold. “So we thought, man that’s a cool way for a family to take the pressure off one evening. Mom don’t got to cook, pops don’t got to cook. They can just enjoy each other and good food. And just make it a little nicer for everybody.”
Reinebold was part of that legendary June Jones team in 2007 that went to the Sugar Bowl. Now, he’s been coaching in Canada for the past eight years. His Hamilton Tiger-Cats are prepping for an online draft later this month.
“It’s going to be interactive that way but there won’t be any physical contact,” he said. “We can’t work out players now. We can’t bring players in for interviews. We’re working every day for football but we don’t know when it’s going to come, if it’s going to come.”
With a history of recruiting UH players, Reinebold has been connected to Hawaii for a long time.
“I grew up as the son of a baseball coach and we moved everywhere. And I never really felt at home anywhere we were,” reflected Reinebold. “And when I got off the airplane here for the first time and I breathed the air and the smell of the flowers, you know. I just said, ‘this is it. This is the place.'”
“If you’re fortunate enough to call Hawaii home then you gotta dig in and help because that’s the Aloha Spirit that we all love so much about this place.”