Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Thursday, April 1, 1999

Waterhouse shared
good fortune
with Rainbows

TO all those who knew him, he was just Alec. He could have been addressed as Mr. Alexander Cooke Waterhouse, in keeping with his lineage as a millionaire descendant of two prominent kamaaina families. Alec's grandfather co-founded Alexander & Baldwin, his great grandfather founded Castle & Cooke.

Yet Alec, despite his wealth, never showed it. Instead, he shared it.

"He was a magnificent person who shared his good fortune with others," said Dick Tomey, the Arizona football coach, who became acquainted with Waterhouse when he coached at Hawaii 22 years ago. They've been friends ever since.

"He was fortunate at birth, but he was a giving individual," said another former UH football coach, Bob Wagner, also on Tomey's staff at Arizona. "He did a lot for the Rainbow football program that the average fan was not aware of."

There's a lot about Waterhouse that people don't know, other than that he was the Patron Saint of Rainbow football. He loved his adopted Rainbows so much that he bleeds UH green. More often than not, he would be wearing his green palaka shirt.

Tomey and Wagner had football retreats for their staffs at Waterhouse's two getaway estates on Maui and Kauai.

"Our family's most favorite place in the world is his place in Kula (Maui)," said Tomey, who still visited there as Waterhouse's guest long after he left for Arizona. "He was kind enough to share it with our coaching staff."

As for his Kauai "Shangri-La," it's more than a ranch, believe me.

I still remember the timewe were playing in a foursome in a Koa Anuenue golf benefit. Waterhouse apologized for showing up a little late.

"I just got off the plane from Kauai," Waterhouse said.

"Oh? You have a condo on Kauai?" said someone else in the group.

"No, a ranch," Waterhouse replied.

A ranch. Yeah, right.

IT'S called "Kipukai." It extends over 2,000 acres with absolutely pristine sandy beaches along its seven-mile shoreline.

"It's a real special place, an incredible place," said Wagner, who remembers his first staff retreat there the year before the Rainbows won the Holiday Bowl in 1992.

The idyllic site was used as a setting for such Hollywood films as "Jurassic Park" and "Six Days, Seven Nights."

But it was Waterhouse's contribution to UH athletics that was invaluable. He was one of the charter members of Koa Anuenue, the major booster organization. He also was founder and president of Na Koa, the football-only booster club.

The impact of Waterhouse's death Tuesday at age 87 will be felt, especially at a time when UH athletics are in need of all the Alec Waterhouses of this world. It is assuring to know that Waterhouse's legacy of helping UH will continue, according to Ed Wong, CEO of Waterhouse Properties.

Waterhouse was looking forward to the coming football season under new coach June Jones, whom he first met as a Rainbow player back in the 1970s.

His death has created a big void in the UH athletic support system, said athletic director Hugh Yoshida. A void that will be difficult to fill.

"But more important, we lost a friend," said Ben Yee, a fellow UH booster.

In his typically unassuming way, Alec would have wondered what all the fuss was about.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

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