Larry Tanimoto displayed his plaque next to Pokey Watson Richardson, who accepted for her late husband Dr. Allen Richardson.

UH honors ‘Doc’,

The university inducts the humble
and selfless men to its Hawaii Sports
Circle of Honor

Humility and selflessness are the traits shared by the two latest inductees into the University of Hawaii Sports Circle of Honor.

Both the late Dr. Allen "Doc" Richardson and former Big Island state representative Larry Tanimoto continually gave of themselves without any expectation of reward. Such were the stories of the two men that family and friends shared at yesterday's luncheon at the executive dining room of sponsor Bank of Hawaii.

"Allen would have been very honored," said his widow, Pokey Watson Richardson. "I was very surprised he received it and I'm sure he also would have been. No, he probably would have said he didn't deserve it and someone else should get it."

Allen Richardson, an internationally renowned orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert, died last Sept. 1 at age 56 after a battle with cancer.

An All-America swimmer at Yale, Richardson served as the volunteer team physician for the Rainbow Wahine volleyball team for 25 years and also chaired the Orthopedic Residency Training Program, which provided physician coverage for all UH home volleyball, basketball and softball contests.

"Three days a week for 24 years I borrowed Pokey's husband," UH trainer Melody Toth said. "Thanks to Doc, we helped build the finest sports medicine department in the country. I think the men's teams were often jealous of the treatment the Wahine received. We had the best physicians available.

"I have begun to start my day asking, 'What would Doc do in this situation?' And then I go ahead and do it as he would have."

Tanimoto, recovering from a stroke, said he never thought he would receive such a prestigious honor. He also never thought about giving of his time to the Na Koa Football Booster Club or junior golf programs.

"You just do what you do naturally," the 59-year-old Tanimoto said. "You do what you think you have to do and you never do it thinking you'll get an award. This is such a great pleasure."

Tanimoto was the first male golfer on scholarship at UH and captained the golf team in 1966-68. The special-education teacher and high school coach was also a golf pro, the Parks and Recreation Director of the Big Island, Hawaii County mayor and a member of the UH Board of Regents.

He was a founding member of Na Koa and continues to serve on its board. Tanimoto also arranged the Warrior scrimmages and clinics on the Big Island under former coaches Dick Tomey and Bob Wagner.

Tanimoto was described as one of UH's biggest sports fans and, "He's a Hawaii state treasure to me," said Tomey, an assistant coach for the San Francisco 49ers. "There was nobody who was ever a better supporter. He's a great athlete in his own right but he was also a great supporter.

"He was always optimistic. He's a treasure as a person, an athlete and a supporter. To be a success as an athlete and a politician and yet be able to put yourself so unselfishly into a supporting role for a football team is incredible."

The official induction ceremony will take place during tonight's basketball game between Hawaii and Boise State at the Stan Sheriff Center.


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