The Heisman Trophy is shown in this 1978 photo.
Allens make Colt’s N.Y. journey complete
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When Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan appears as a finalist at the Heisman Trophy ceremony tomorrow in New York, he will be surrounded by a horde of media and a small group of friends and family from coast-to-coast and the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Brennan's parents, Terry and Betsy, of Irvine, Calif., will be at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square, as will younger sister Chanel and grandmother Sharon Jefferies. So will Brennan's girlfriend, Shakti Stream. His older sister, Carrera, is expecting her first child and cannot make it.
"She's already mad at that kid," Terry Brennan joked.
Athletic director Herman Frazier, media relations director Derek Inouchi and Manoa chancellor Virginia Hinshaw will officially represent UH. Assistant to the athletic director Chacha Kinilau and former media relations director Lois Manin will attend by invitation of Brennan, as will Brennan's family away from home when he went to prep school in Worcester, Mass. -- Fran and Christian Allen.
Brennan and the other Heisman finalists -- Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow -- were scheduled to arrive in New York today and begin making public appearances. Those include a banquet with high school football stars tonight.
The Star-Bulletin will report on the Heisman festivities from New York beginning today, with live updates on starbulletin.com on the UH Sports Extra blog. ESPN's Heisman presentation show starts at 3 p.m. Hawaii time tomorrow.
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Fran and Christian Allen are part of the Colt Brennan story that is often forgotten. But Brennan will always remember the Allens, and vice versa.
Before Hawaii, before Colorado, there was Worcester Academy in Massachusetts.
Brennan was stuck behind future Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart as the second-string quarterback for most of his career at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif. After starting his senior season, Brennan had few scholarship offers. So he went across the country to prep school.
He was matched with outside linebacker Christian Allen as a roommate. Allen lived near Worcester, so Brennan spent most weekends at Allen's home.
"He was 3,000 miles away from home. We indoctrinated him to the ways of life in Boston much like he's been indoctrinated to the ways in Hawaii. We kept in touch, good times and bad," said Fran Allen, Christian's father, in a phone interview yesterday. "You could tell he had talent. The team was OK, and it was a tough league. He didn't have a great line, but he had some really good receivers."
Wednesday night, Brennan's father, Terry, called Fran Allen and told him Colt wanted Fran and Christian to come to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony tomorrow. Brennan is among four finalists for college football's biggest individual honor.
"The answer was, 'absolutely,' " Allen said. "Obviously in Boston as a sports fan we're really spoiled with the Red Sox, the Patriots and now even the Celtics. But all of that doesn't mean anything when you compare it to knowing somebody who's achieved what Colt has and being able to share it with him."
Said Terry Brennan: "They were good enough to adopt Colt."
Colt Brennan said he "basically became a part of their family."
"We'd load up our dirty laundry, drive down to their house and his mom would take care of us and feed us and we'd hang out with his sisters and his friends," Brennan said. "Since then our families have become even closer. The relationship has held up and become even stronger."
UH athletic director Herman Frazier, sports media relations director Derek Inouchi and Manoa chancellor Virginia Hinshaw will be at the Heisman ceremony in an official capacity. Assistant to the AD Chacha Kinilau is paying her own way. Inouchi's predecessor, Lois Manin, is also attempting to do so. Manin was on standby for a flight to New York yesterday, trying to make good on a promise.
"I enjoyed a great working relationship with Colt for two years at UH. When I decided to leave (to become deputy manager at Aloha Stadium) I promised I'd be in New York when he made it for the Heisman," Manin said. "He did his part, so I'm trying to do mine.
"He's done everything within his power to lift the program into the national spotlight and deserves everything he gets. Yet he's the first to tell you it's not about him, it's about the team first."
Brennan said he invited Manin and Kinilau because of endless hours of work they did to help him.
"I wanted to invite some people who helped me at UH, and Lois and Chacha did so much work and took so much stress off of me. Without Lois' work I'd never be a Heisman finalist. Chacha also did a lot of behind-the-scenes work, making sure I was at the right places at the right times for volunteer events, chaperoning me to charity events," Brennan said.
"It's hard because you can only invite so many people. I wanted to invite my teammates, but I guess you can't do that."