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Bodor finds home in Hawaii 

End Zone

Bob Bodor knows all too well what he would have been doing this week.

His seventh Colorado College football team would have started preseason practices, leading toward the season opener Sept. 12 at Pomona-Pitzer. And each day, as he had done countless times while he was CC's head coach, he would have looked up from the practice field and marveled at the sight of Pikes Peak.

Instead, Bodor has a different view now. He's 4,000 miles away on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, coaching on a field that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

"I never got bored of looking at Pikes Peak every day," he says. "But even though it's pretty warm over here right now, the breezes are prominent and the view is remarkable."

Obviously, this stop wasn't part of Bodor's career plan. But after CC decided in late March to kill football, along with women's softball and water polo, Bodor needed a job at a time when football openings already are filled.

He wound up as defensive coordinator at Kapa'a, one of Kauai's three high schools. It's not exactly a football factory, having gone without a Kauai island title for 20 years. Since arriving there in early July, though, Bodor has leaped into his new challenge.

Last weekend, the Kapa'a Warriors opened their pre-conference schedule with a 16-0 victory over Kalani, a Honolulu school, and Bodor's defense allowed only two first downs in a dominating performance. After another nonleague game, Kapa'a will enter conference play, facing its two Kauai rivals three times. Each island's champion makes the playoffs.

"It's definitely a different format than you usually see," Bodor says. "But I've seen tape of our opponents, and it's a high quality of football. They send a lot of kids from here to play at Division II and D-III schools in Oregon and California. I'm learning plenty from the coaches here, too.

"And when the games start, it doesn't matter what the level of competition is."

You have to admire Bodor, embracing such a radical change at 43. He, wife Bridget and their younger kids are adjusting quickly, with their older daughter having just started college on the mainland.

But this conversation can't be just about Kapa'a. It still has to be about Colorado College, because Bodor can't forget his staff and nearly 40 players who don't have each other as part of a team anymore.

"I talk to players every day," starting with upperclassmen, he says. One all-conference defensive back, Brendan Ross of Colorado Springs (Pine Creek), transferred to league foe Trinity. Defensive lineman Alpha Anders of California went back to his home state at Pomona-Pitzer. Luke Northam, a local running back from Classical Academy, is staying at CC and playing basketball.

Others, like senior fullback Sean Farrell and placekicker Tyler Brickell, another Springs kid, have chosen to remain at CC though their football dreams are gone.

"It's really sad for Sean, because he could play for any D-III school in the country," Bodor says. "But I feel for all those guys without football anymore. I hope the school realizes this isn't over just because the program is gone. It's a new chapter, and CC has to figure out how to take care of them, and the athletes in the other sports. They're the real victims in this. The decision is over, but a lot of young people are really hurting still."

As for Bodor, he's taking the high road, focusing on the future, not the immediate past.

"I just hope the college can make it work, figure out a way to offer an education that includes diversity at all levels — socioeconomic, racial — without those sports," he says. "I also hope they figure out a way to keep the alumni in the fold, because CC has a lot of football alumni who are just tremendous people.

"I will definitely be following college football, especially the Colorado schools, starting with Air Force because [head coach] Troy Calhoun was always so nice to me. It hurts, but I'm looking at this personally as a positive. I'm still coaching, that's the bottom line, and the kids here have big goals and that feels great. The minute I show up at school, that's my comfort zone. I'm sitting here in Hawaii, experiencing something I never would've done otherwise."

And if anyone deserves a better ending someday, Bob Bodor does.

routon@csindy.com

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