JONES FOUNDATION EVENT
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
UH quarterbacks past and present Tyler Graunke, June Jones, Colt Brennan, Elroy Chong and Michael Carter assembled yesterday. Another, Richard Mamiya, was also present for yesterday's announcement of Warrior Quarterbacks For Charity. CLICK FOR LARGE
Hawaii QBs team up for charity
June Jones gathers Hawaii quarterbacks for fundraising event
In a state with no professional teams, the quarterback at the University of Hawaii is usually the most prominent athlete.
Warriors coach June Jones -- who was a UH quarterback himself, in 1973 -- announced an inaugural event yesterday called Warrior Quarterbacks for Charity.
Jones was joined by current Warrior QBs Colt Brennan and Tyler Graunke and former Rainbows Michael Carter, Elroy Chong and Richard Mamiya at a news conference promoting the Aug. 20 dinner at the Kahala Hotel and Resort. Proceeds benefit Friends of Hawaii Charities, H.U.G.S. and the June Jones Foundation.
Jones expects around 16 quarterbacks to attend the event, which will feature silent and live auctions of memorabilia.
Notre Dame walk-on Rudy Ruettiger of the movie "Rudy" fame will appear, and Henry Kapono will entertain.
Visit www.WarriorQuarterbacks.com or call 956-6508 for ticket information.
Brennan led the nation in numerous passing categories last year and is a Heisman Trophy candidate going into 2007. He said he enjoyed meeting some of his predecessors yesterday.
"To see the impact they have on the community is cool. One thing that's evident about all of them is they're all successful and happy," he said. "Hopefully we can add to the tradition and heritage that the players before us have established."
June Jones and Elroy Chong have a unique bond
Hawaii football coach June Jones nearly died in a car accident on the morning of Feb. 22, 2001. A little more than a month later, he accomplished something many healthy people can never do.
Among others, he had Elroy Chong to thank for it.
"It was one of the most memorable physical achievements of my lifetime, I remember it was March 27, because I wrote it down," Jones said yesterday, near Waialae Country Club, site of the feat. "I actually played a round of golf with him, and I broke 80. I couldn't even bend over, couldn't reach down to pick up the ball."
Jones said the staples that held his broken body together ripped apart with every swing.
"It was some of the worst pain I ever felt," he said. "But after something like (the accident), you have to get back to what you used to do."
Chong put the ball on the tee for Jones, and he pulled it out of the cup for him. And for months after, Chong did much more for Jones. He was the taskmaster pushing him to as complete a recovery as possible.
Chong, a physical therapist for more than 30 years, and Jones, the Hawaii coach since 1999, already had a bond. They were both UH quarterbacks.
Yesterday they were joined by others who, past and present, have shared that title -- Colt Brennan, Michael Carter, Tyler Graunke and Richard Mamiya. They gathered to announce "Warrior Quarterbacks For Charity," an Aug. 20 fundraiser benefiting Friends of Hawaii Charities, H.U.G.S. and the June Jones Foundation.
Other UH quarterbacks, including Larry Arnold, Garrett Gabriel, Warren Jones, Alex Kaloi, Dan Robinson, Nick Rolovich, Gregg Tipton, Jason Whieldon and Shawn Withy-Allen, are expected to attend the dinner event at the Kahala Hotel and Resort.
Also, Rudy Ruettiger, the Notre Dame walk-on of the movie "Rudy" fame will appear. Former UH player Henry Kapono is scheduled to entertain.
Chong and Jones said the respect they had for each other as friends and athletes was key to Jones' recovery.
"I felt he'd coach again, because his faculties were there," Chong said. "I wasn't sure how he would respond physically, and I'm sure he's hurting to this day. His neck, his hip, his shoulder, his knee, his wrist, his elbow. There were so many different injuries."
Jones said he began receiving treatment from Chong about a month after the accident, in which he was critically injured.
"He pushed me like an athlete, every day," said Jones, who received physical therapy for over a year. "He set aside time for me. He's one of the most giving people that you will ever meet."
Jones returned to coaching duties in time for preseason camp in August 2001. The Warriors went 9-3 that year, and Jones' coaching record at UH is actually better after the accident (53-27) than before it (12-13). He became the program's all-time leader in coaching wins last year.
Jones said he will never be as healthy as he was before the crash, but he's able to endure the stresses of his job thanks to routines learned from Chong.
"He knows it's important for him to stretch and exercise daily. I do play golf with him occasionally, so I know he's doing well," Chong said. "I can't say he's 100 percent recovered, but he's doing well."
Chong has helped the UH football program in other ways, too.
"When June came back (as coach in 1999), anything he asks, I'm right there for him. I try to support him and the university," said Chong, an Iolani graduate who went to Montana before returning to play at UH in 1971 and 1972. Jones lettered at Hawaii in 1974 before transferring to Portland State.
"He's one of the most giving people that you will ever meet," Jones said of Chong. "He's a real special person."
For sponsorship and ticket information for Warrior Quarterbacks For Charity, visit www.WarriorQuarterbacks.com or call 956-6508.