10 WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE
- COLT BRENNAN -
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
UH quarterback Colt Brennan held court over a rapt crowd of reporters Friday during a Sugar Bowl press conference at the Convention Center Marriott in New Orleans.
UH star made the state proud
Not since statehood in 1959, arguably, have the islands been so united behind a single, head-spinning cause.
The architect of that enthusiasm, crystallized with tomorrow's Sugar Bowl, is University of Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan.
A 10 Who Made a Difference listee last year, Brennan continued his unrivaled contributions to Hawaii football and statewide pride in 2007.
The impact of UH's greatest football player ever transcended sports. He is a one-man chamber of commerce and has become the state's most visible figure.
After a 2006 season in which he passed for an NCAA-record 58 touchdowns, Brennan could have left for the NFL and probably a signing bonus in the millions of dollars. But at an emotional news conference in January, he announced that he decided to come back for his senior year.
"He's a leader, not just a vocal leader," teammate Davone Bess said. "He proves everything with his actions."
Everything changed when Brennan said he would stay. That's when the team and UH fans began to believe something spectacular could happen in the fall of 2007.
And it did, with an 12-0 season and unprecedented Bowl Championship Series invitation.
"Colt's always been an external thinker, sensitive to those around him," quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison said. "Now he has to deal with being Colt the rock star."
Brennan said this week he wants to be remembered as a straight shooter.
When it comes to his golden right arm, there is no doubt that will be his legacy.
After tomorrow's game against Georgia, the Hawaii quarterback will likely end his career with the highest percentage of passes completed in NCAA history. Brennan enters the game at 70.7 percent. Bruce Gradkowski of Toledo holds the record, probably for just one more day, at 68.2 percent.
If the Heisman Trophy finalist's views of the state of the UH athletic department are nearly as accurate as his passes, the school has a lot of work to do to maintain the momentum Brennan has provided the Warriors program.
Brennan has spoken critically of the state of the UH facilities on several occasions, including at the Heisman Trophy ceremony earlier this month in New York.
"The athletic department should be a diamond," Brennan said. "I really do hope they improve things, because it's been a long time coming."
Choosing the 10
In a daily countdown, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin is profiling 10 people who have made a difference in Hawaii during the past year.
These are people who worked in any field --community service, education, politics, law, labor, medicine, science, business, sports, entertainment, the arts -- to make a difference. Some fought controversial battles in public.
All that matters is that each, to the one, had a devotion to their cause that made a profound impact on Hawaii.
The 10 for 2007
» Dec. 22: John Garibaldi, Superferry
» Dec. 23: Isaac Hall, attorney
» Dec. 24: Deborah Zysman, Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii
» Dec. 25: Jennifer Kishimori, CatFriends
» Dec. 26: Lea Ok Soon Hong, Trust for Public Lands
» Dec. 27: Jaimie Kahale, Life Foundation
» Dec. 28: Moses Kalei Nahonoapiilani Haia III, Native Hawaiian Legal Corp.
» Dec. 29: Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines CEO
» Dec. 30: Darryl Vincent, United States Veterans Initiative
» Dec. 31: Colt Brennan, U.H. Quarterback