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Dave Reardon

Points East

By Dave Reardon

Monday, November 15, 1999


Reunion Saturday
for Navy’s Norwood

LAUREL, Md. -- The rice cooker clackety-clacks in the background. The young man comes to the door wearing shorts, a Kamehameha volleyball T-shirt, and a huge smile.

It could be any house in Hawaii.

But Brian Norwood, his wife Tiffiney and their four children live an ocean and a continent away.

The shirt is courtesy of Tiffiney's brother, Damien Hardy, the former Hawaii volleyball player who is an assistant coach at Hawaii Pacific.

The rice cooker is a necessity. "It's an every-night thing at this house. We get Hinode on the base," says Norwood, who coaches the secondary at the Naval Academy. "And the family sends us the good Aloha Shoyu."

The former Radford and Hawaii defensive back might sound homesick, but he's really not -- he's one of those lucky people with roots in more than one place. He spent part of his childhood near Annapolis, so he's familiar and comfortable with the area.

Next Saturday, Norwood's homes collide at Aloha Stadium.

HE looks at it as a business trip first, but is excited about reuniting with football and non-football friends.

And Tiffiney, whose family still lives in Hawaii, is making the trip, too.

Norwood's been back before -- for two Aloha Bowls, one with Dick Tomey and Arizona, and one with Navy and Paul Johnson. But this is the first time he coaches against his alma mater.

"Being able to go back is tremendous," he says. "Coaching against my mentor George Lumpkin, Rich Miano, who coached me when we were playing together, and coach Jones, who I've know since I was a player is incredible."

NORWOOD said Justin Takasaki, a freshman Kamehameha grad, might make the travel roster. Takasaki has played mostly junior varsity this year, and twisted an ankle when he had an earlier opportunity with the varsity.

But Takasaki could be a factor Saturday, as it will be all hands-on-deck when the Midshipmen DBs try to slow down the Rainbows' run-and-shoot.

Norwood's charges had a big hand in last Saturday's 45-21 win against Tulane, as the Navy secondary intercepted five passes.

He began breaking down the Hawaii offense yesterday.

"Coach Jones does a tremendous job," Norwood says. "I could tell right away that they have big play potential on every down. We'll have to get to it and put together a good plan."

Speaking of good plans, Norwood says Jones had the perfect blueprint when he returned to Hawaii.

"One of the best things coach Jones did was he brought back as coaches guys who had invested sweat, blood and tears in the program, guys who knew about Hawaii, the kids, how things are done there," Norwood said. "And they're solid football guys."

Like Norwood.

ALTHOUGH he is very happy at Navy, Norwood says he would like to coach for Hawaii someday.

For now, he settles for being a fan.

"I'm really fired up. I'm really proud of where the program's at and what coach Jones and the guys I know have done," Norwood says. "That's my history."

It's obvious Brian Norwood still bleeds green.

It just won't be the case for three hours this Saturday.


Dave Reardon, who covered sports in Hawaii
from 1977 to 1998, is a sportswriter at the
Gainesville Sun. E-mail reardod@gvillesun.com



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