Ah You the latest Sun Devil to resurface before Hawaii Bowl
Arizona State hasn't needed to look far for motivational speakers for its Sheraton Hawaii Bowl post-practice talks. Former Sun Devils greats living in Hawaii keep finding ASU.
Thursday, it was a three-star general.
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
Who: Arizona State vs. Hawaii
Where: Aloha Stadium
When: Tomorrow, 3 p.m. (Stadium gates open at noon)
Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM
Parking: $5. Lot gates open at 10 a.m. Alternate parking at Leeward Community College (free, $2 shuttle), Kam Drive-In ($5, free shuttle). Occupants of first 500 vehicles at Leeward and Kam Drive-In receive a certificate (one per vehicle) for two 32 oz. soft drinks in the stadium. Parking also at Radford High School ($3, no shuttle). No tailgating at alternate parking sites.
Stadium security: Fanny packs, purses and backpacks and handbags will be permitted subject to check. No illegal contraband, weapons, fireworks, coolers, cans, bottles, air horns, noisemakers, umbrellas, outside food and or beverages are allowed inside the stadium gates.
Tickets: Adults, $15-$45; North end zone general admission child, $10. Call (808) 548-2695.
Yesterday, it was an All-American who was a big part of three consecutive bowl victories.
Junior Ah You walked out of the ASU history book and onto the Aloha Stadium FieldTurf, looking as fit and imposing as ever. The 57-year-old needed no introduction, although Sun Devils coach Dirk Koetter gave one anyway, aiding those who had not read their own media guide.
And Ah You helped it along, not to brag but to reinforce what playing football could do for a young athlete. He went from Kahuku High to MVP honors in both the Peach Bowl (1970) and the inaugural Fiesta Bowl (1971) to the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame after an 11-year career.
"I was the first Polynesian player at ASU," said Ah You, who played from 1969 to 1971. "I played my heart out because I could have been picking pineapples here. Instead, I got picked up by a good coach (Frank Kush), just like you have been picked up by a good coach.
"I thanked my coach and I want you to thank yours for what has been given to you and what he has done for your future. Thank this man, because you could be somewhere else or nowhere else.
"There are three types of people: ones who make it happen, ones who wait for it to happen and ones who wonder what happened. I played on teams that were part of the last time (ASU) won bowl games three years straight. You have a chance to make that happen."
The Sun Devils beat Purdue in the 2004 Sun Bowl and Rutgers last year. The only time ASU won bowl games in three consecutive years was 1970 (Peach over North Carolina), 1971 (Fiesta, Florida State), 1972 (Fiesta, Florida) and 1973 (Fiesta, Pittsburgh).
Ah You, a three-time all-Western Athletic Conference awardee, was accompanied yesterday by his son, Kingsley, who was born during his father's sophomore season at ASU. The pair drove down from Laie, where the 16th Junior Ah You Christmas Bowl is midway through its two-week schedule.
Other notable former Sun Devils from Hawaii include defensive end Al Harris (Leilehua) and linebacker Wayne Apuna (Saint Louis).
Harris led the Mules to a Prep Bowl victory, was a first-team All-American at ASU, and played on the Chicago Bears' 1986 Super Bowl championship team.
Apuna was Hawaii's first high school Parade All-American.
Haka considered: ASU junior offensive lineman Brandon Rodd grew up in the shadows of Aloha Stadium, living in nearby Alii Plantation. The Aiea High product was so close that running around the outside of stadium was part of his fitness routine.
There are some 15 Polynesians on the ASU team and Rodd, who is part-Hawaiian, said there was some discussion of performing a haka.
"All the Poly boys came together and agreed that it would be respectful to UH or to New Zealand," Rodd said. "We do have some culture on our team but not as much as Hawaii. And for us to perfect one, we would have needed a kahuna to help us on short notice.
"We decided it wasn't the right place or time, especially at Aloha Stadium especially against the Warriors."
Rodd will graduate in May with a business degree but has one more year of eligibility. He hopes to move back to Hawaii as soon as possible.
Rodd wears his pride on his left arm: a tattoo that combines the pueo (owl), his family's amakua, the Hawaiian islands, waves and lauhala, the last for strength.
What next?: Koetter is a lame-duck coach following his firing last month, the night of the team banquet.
"I'm 47 and two jobs I said I always wanted (coaching Boise State and ASU) I've already had," he said. "I'm a little nervous about how I'm going to top that. We did a lot of good things in six years. We just didn't win enough games."
Return visit: Two Sun Devil seniors have been invited to next month's Hula Bowl, safety Zach Catanese and defensive end Kyle Caldwell.
Catanese said he has accepted the return trip, while Caldwell said he likely will come back.
"It's a great opportunity," Caldwell said. "It's awesome here. I don't know why you wouldn't want to come here and play football."