RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Former UH women's athletic director Dr. Donnis Thompson, right, talked with senior woman administrator Marilyn Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano last night.
Thompson holds court
Trademark red earrings and red shoes.
A voice as distinctive and strong as ever.
Time and disease may have robbed Dr. Donnis Thompson of her sight, but the University of Hawaii's first women's athletic director has clear memories of her time at the helm of Rainbow Wahine athletics.
Thompson shared several stories during yesterday's dedication ceremony of a bronze sculpture of herself that is on the ewa concourse inside the Stan Sheriff Center.
"I received a call, asking if I'd like to develop a track and field program at the University of Hawaii," the 74-year-old Thompson said. "I had 1 minute to decide. I didn't know what to do with the other 59 seconds."
That was 1961. Twenty years later, Thompson left UH to become the Hawaii superintendent of schools, leaving behind a program that has remained strong to this day.
Thompson said she was proud of a number of things, including hiring Wahine volleyball coach Dave Shoji. Shoji presented Thompson with a lei and warm hug prior to the start of yesterday's Western Athletic Conference match against Louisiana Tech.
Thompson, who moved from the mainland to Hawaii Kai earlier this year, posed with friends and fans for pictures next to her sculpture during the Wahine's 30-20, 30-15, 30-16 sweep of Louisiana Tech.
"Isn't this beautiful?" she asked.