Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Thursday, May 6, 1999

Isle football honors
are long overdue

TALK about an idea whose time has finally arrived. And it's a great thing for Hawaii football, too.

On May 16 at the Sheraton Moana-Surfrider, 12 outstanding Hawaii high school seniors will be honored by the Hawaii Chapter of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame.

The 12 finalists -- from among the dozens of nominations submitted by the athletic directors of Hawaii's high schools -- listed alphabetically are:

Bullet Gerald Ho, St. Louis slotback.
Bullet Joe Igber, Iolani running back.
Bullet Christopher Koyama, St. Louis kicker.
Bullet Siuaki Livai Jr., Kahuku lineman.
Bullet Chad Mahoe, Kamehameha running back.
Bullet Clesson Oligo, Waimea wide receiver.
Bullet Joseph Siofele, St. Louis linebacker.
Bullet Vince Sivas, Aiea lineman.
Bullet Korey Smith, Moanalua wide receiver.
Bullet Joshua Tabisola, St. Louis defensive back.
Bullet Tyronne Tausaga, Kaimuki defensive back.
Bullet Sione Thompson, St. Louis wide receiver.

One of them will be named that night as Hawaii's 1999 nominee as a possible western regional representative to the national organization's annual banquet in New York City in December.

SELECTING just one will be a dilemma. Igber, who's headed for the University of California, is Hawaii's all-time record holder in scoring and rushing. Siofele is the state's top defensive player and was named a high school All-American. He'll be playing for Dick Tomey's Arizona Wildcats next year.

The event is the first fruit of the Hawaii Chapter, which was organized last year. Hawaii had never been part of the NFF & College Hall of Fame and, consequently, no high school football player from here has ever been honored. Or could be honored.

Two years ago, Earl Galdeira attended the annual banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria to receive an award for officiating. He saw 16 strapping young men from around the nation being honored.

When he asked why no one was from Hawaii, Galdeira was told, only local chapters belonging to the NFF & College Hall of Fame could submit nominees.

SO, Galdeira, former Western Athletic Conference commissioner Joe Kearney and UH athletic director Hugh Yoshida got together with other football-minded individuals to get Hawaii on the ball.

Now Alaska is the only state without a chapter. Considering Hawaii's rich football history, it had been an embarrassing oversight. But not anymore.

In contrast to Hawaii's first get-together that evening, the Bay Area chapter recently celebrated its 39th awards dinner.

This isn't a football-only recognition.

The 12 scholar-athletes -- and it's not an oxymoron in this case -- are selected on three basic criteria: academic ability (40 percent), football ability (40 percent) and community involvement and leadership (20 percent).

In addition to the 12 athletes, two individuals will be recognized for their contributions to football -- Don Murphy and the late Alec Waterhouse.

The keynote speaker will be June Jones, Hawaii's new head football coach, with sportscaster Jim Leahey handling the emcee duties.

Those interested in attending (individual tickets are $30 apiece), can telephone Galdeira at 839-5575 or Mark Zeug at 732-8805 or 737-9017.

Be a part of a history-making night for Hawaii football.

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

E-mail to Sports Editor

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