When news broke that Daniel Te’o-Nesheim had died, many were shocked. After all, Te’o-Nesheim was in impressive physical condition, a 30-year-old man who had returned to his roots to coach football after his NFL career came to a close.
Yet his life was apparently destined to finish where his football career began, with Te’o-Nesheim named the head football coach in May 2017 after two seasons as an assistant on the Hawaii Prep Academy staff.
For Te’o-Nesheim, returning to Hawaii Prep was a natural thing. The 2005 Hawaii Prep alum was active in whichever community he found himself in. When he returned to Hawaii Prep 10 years after graduating, Te’o-Nesheim took on an assistant’s role. That he was promoted to head coach two years later says much about Te’o-Nesheim and the drastic shape of the Hawaii Prep football training.
Te’o-Nesheim’s 2017 squad struggled to a 2-6 record, but that hardly was the real impact of his involvement back on the Big Island. Rather, that’s reserved for who he was on campus, and all the roles he held and impact he delivered to students.
“(HPA feels) deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend, colleague, and alumnus Daniel Te‘o-Nesheim,” read a HPA statement. “Daniel, a 2005 graduate of HPA, returned to his alma mater in August of 2015 as an assistant football coach and assumed the head coach position in May of 2017. He was also a member of our residential boarding program, serving as a dorm parent. HPA is working to support our students and community through this difficult time. We feel Daniel’s loss acutely in our HPA ‘ohana, and our hearts go out to his family and friends.”
As of now, no details on Te’o-Nehsheim’s untimely death have been released, and it is too early to determine how Hawaii Prep will replace him for the 2018 football season.
For now, that doesn’t matter. HPA players and students will continue to work in the memory of their idol and teacher.