Remembering Kaluka Maiava, fierce NFL linebacker turned inspirational high school coach

Remembering Hawaii

On December 27th, 1986, former high school standout and NFL linebacker Kaluka Maiava was born. He turns 33 today.

Maiava was a standout linebacker at Baldwin High School. Inspired by Chicago Bears great Brian Urlacher, he notched 304 tackles, 61 tackles for a loss, and 16 sacks in his junior and senior years at Baldwin. He was named the all-state defensive player of the year in 2004, the first neighbor island player to win an award in a major category. One of Hawaii’s top recruits, he went to USC for college, becoming the first player from Maui to play for the Trojans. In college, he was named USC Special Teams Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006, Second Team All Pac-10 in 2008, and the Defensive MVP of the Rose Bowl in 2009.

Drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL draft, Maiava played for the Browns until 2012. In 2013 he signed a 3-year deal with the Oakland Raiders, but frequent injuries led to his release in the middle of the 2014 season.

He returned to Hawaii burned out from football, but as he started to heal his injuries, his passion was reignited. He volunteered at Honokaa High and Intermediate schools on Hawaii Island, then moved to an assistant coach position for Hawaii Preparatory Academy. He became head coach at the beginning of the 2019 season and helped take HPA move from a 1-7 season last year to a 6-3 record this year.

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