HAWAII SPORTS HALL OF FAME
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Maa Tanuvasa won two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos, and former UH coach Jim Schwitters is the winningest tennis coach in NCAA history. Schwitters was also named Hawaii's Player of the Decade in the 1970s.
Schwitters, Tanuvasa inducted
The Hall welcomes a former tennis coach and a two-time Super Bowl champion
The way autographs are selling these days, Jim Schwitters might have been able to retire sooner.
Schwitters, the winningest tennis coach in NCAA history, used to have participants sign in for his tennis class at the University of Hawaii instead of taking roll call.
For one semester, Maa Tanuvasa signed a sheet before hitting the UH courts.
Several years after Tanuvasa helped the Denver Broncos to two Super Bowl titles, "a couple of coeds who remember the good-looking guy in the class came and asked me if I had kept the sheets," Schwitters said. "They were hoping for his autographs, which continue to be more valuable every year. I didn't keep the roll sheets."
Last night, autographs from both Tanuvasa and Schwitters were prized mementos from the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame's induction banquet at the Honolulu Country Club. Several hundred guests and 16 past inductees attended the event welcoming the two members of the ninth class.
"I'm still in shock," said Tanuvasa, now an assistant football coach for his alma mater, Mililani High. "To be part of a group like this ... I don't know what to say. I'm now in with players I idolized growing up ... Jesse Sapolu, Kurt Gouveia, Russ Francis, Rockne Freitas. And then there's Duke (Kahanamoku). Wow."
It was a treat for Tanuvasa to be reunited with his former instructor.
"I wasn't much of a tennis player, though," said the All-Western Athletic Conference defensive lineman.
"He was very athletic and who knows how good he could have been if he had stayed with it," Schwitters said. "What I do remember is that all the coeds in class thought he was good looking."
Schwitters, the UH men's and women's tennis coach from 1965 until 2003, said he was also surprised by his selection "because our sport is not as high-profile as some of the others."
During his coaching career, Schwitters' teams won 1,326 matches, a national record. In 2004 he was inducted as a member of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association Hall of Fame.
Schwitters is an outstanding player in his own right, with more than 350 titles. He was voted Hawaii's Player of the Decade in the 1970s.
Tanuvasa played for nine NFL seasons and was a defensive tackle for the Broncos when they won Super Bowls in 1998 and 1999. He was also part of the 1992 UH team that won the WAC championship and the Holiday Bowl.
The Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame has display space at Bishop Museum, Aloha Stadium and Honolulu International Airport. The Web site is www.alohafame.org