Super Bowl legend, Seth Joyner, former University of Hawaii quarterback, Timmy Chang, Arizona Cardinal safety, Aaron Francisco, were among some of the greats in football at the Ikei Performance Football Camp held at Keaau.
Weight lifting giant, Chad Ikei, brought the National Football League stars to the Big Island to participate in a three day football camp.
Ikei, who is a 1989 graduate of Kaiser High School on Oahu, went on to set 21 national records in power lifting in Colorado Springs while broking eight world records.
Today Ikei trains some of the best athletes in the world and many of them are in professional football.
“Our coaches working with the kids over the past three days are Tala Esera, offensive line; Anthony Arceneaux, wide receivers; J.D. Runnels, running backs; Vaka Manupuna, defensive line; Aaron Francisco, defensive backs; Timmy Chang, quarterbacks; and Seth Joyner working with the linebackers,” Ikei said.
The list of high profile coaches is a who’s who in the sport of football and all of them were trained in strength and conditioning by Ikei.
“This is the second camp I’ve done with Chad,” Seth Joyner said. “I like to come out and do these things, when my schedule permits. I used to train with Chad after I got out of the game. He is a phenomenal product and I’m willing to help anytime I can.”
Joyner played linebacker for a number of NFL teams during his 13 professional seasons and ended his career with the Denver Broncos and a Super Bowl ring.
“The year before joining the Broncos I played with the Packers (Green Bay) and we just missed winning the Super Bowl. Winning the Super Bowl was the cherry on the top of my career,” he said.
Joyner now heads the Joyner-Walker Foundation a non-profit organization that gives back to the community and he is working on becoming a transitional/motivation speaker.
Aaron Francisco, safety for the Arizona Cardinals and a former Kahuku Red Raider, also enjoyed the spot light playing in the Super Bowl.
“Making it to the Super Bowl was a dream come true, something that doesn’t happen to most players in their lifetime,” Francisco said.
“I’ve been helping Chad do these camps for the past three years and I’m happy to share my experiences with them. I hope the kids learned some basic fundamental skills as Chad has a unique skill and knowledge to pass on to them.”
Ceci and Ty Kahooilihala were instrumental in bringing Ikei and his coaching crew to the Big Island. “I went on the internet and looked for football camps that would help kids from our island,” Ceci Kahooilihala said.
The three day two night camp offered everything from running technique, to weight training, and included nutrition and supplement training.
“I came to this camp because I wanted to learn ways to train at a higher level, so that I can play in college,” Keli’I Kekuewa a soon to be senior offensive lineman from Kamehameha-Hawaii.
“I found everything that they taught us to be helpful. The agility and cone drills were difficult, but they taught me a lot. If you’re really serious about football this camp will get you to the next level,” Kekuewa said.
Blake McCormick, a center on the Konawaena football team, was equally impressed with his three days of camp.
“I spent the past three years playing center because I weighed 260 pounds, but because of my height I knew that I needed to lose weight and change position,” McCormick said.
Over the past year McCormick dropped his weight to 199 and is now looking at becoming a linebacker for the Wildcats. “I needed to come to this camp and learn to make the transition to a different position,” he said. “I’ll be a senior this year and I’d like to be able to play at the college level next year.”
Tyrone Kahooilihala, Jr., echoed the same praise for the Ikei Camp. “I’ve been to the Maui Just Win Camp and the two camps held at Kamehameha, but this one was tougher and more challenging,” he said.
“We spend eight hours each day working on weight and drills and we got a lot of individual, one-on-one help,” he said.
Kahooilihala was also impressed with the healthful food served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. “They fed us well and they gave us healthy snacks throughout the day. I also got to work on my footwork so that I can be faster and quicker,” he said.
According to Keaau athletic director, Iris McGuire, the student/athletes were asked to pay $200 for the three day camp, but on Oahu the camp typically cost between $400 and $500 per athlete.
“We had several kids that couldn’t afford to pay so our Booster Club picked up the balance for them,” McGuire said. “We will be doing a lot of fundraising during the year to cover our expenses, but it is all worth it.”
“I’d like to see more kids, from other schools, come and participate in this camp. We’re giving these kids a positive activity and hoping that they will learn to enjoy the comradraire with players from other schools.”
“We’re hoping to do this as an annual event and we need to find the help of some sponsors,” McGuire said.
“This is more than just a football camp,” Ikei said. “We teach these young people how to become successful in real life.”
“We are all volunteers and we only ask for the cost of travel arrangements,” Ikei said.
At the end of the final day of camp Ikei gathered the athletes around and was heard saying, “Someday I hope you can give back to your school and to your community.”