Goo headlines 4 new inductees to Circle of Honor


POSTED: Saturday, February 06, 2010

They come from four different sports: baseball, basketball, tennis, and track and field. Yet the quartet have much in common beyond constituting the 28th University of Hawaii Sports Circle of Honor class.

Jyun “;Curly”; Hirota, Vince Goo, Jim Schwitters and Terry Albritton represented UH athletic teams with pride while remaining humble during their careers and after.

“;I read the Web site, look at the names, starting with (All-America volleyball player) Robyn Ah Mow alphabetically and including my high school (basketball) coach Willie Lee. ... It means a lot to forever be a part of the university,”; Goo, the retired Rainbow Wahine basketball coach, said at yesterday's media luncheon at sponsoring Bank of Hawaii. “;Willie called me this morning to congratulate me. He said, 'Yeah, we accept some good people once in a while.'

“;And Dad said congrats, too.”;

Goo's father, Ah Chew, is a former UH men's basketball coach. Vince Goo retired after 17 seasons in 2004 with the Rainbow Wahine as the winningest basketball coach in the state, men's or women's program, with 334 victories. He also had a near-perfect graduation rate, with 44 of 45 players who completed their eligibility receiving a degree.

Goo turned to Schwitters and said, “;You still have 1,000 more wins than I do.”;

Not quite, but Schwitters did retire after 38 seasons as the coach for the UH men's and women's tennis teams with 1,327 victories in 2003. At the time, he was the winningest coach in NCAA tennis.

“;I had some great players,”; he said. “;All coaches will tell you, it's all about the kids. We're not the ones who had the aces, made the baskets, scored the points.

“;The athletic department and I grew up together. It's so gratifying to look at the programs now and see that we were building the future.”;

Albritton, who died in 2004, set the world record in shot put at an all-comers meet in 1976 and finished second at the NCAA meet. A pioneer in plyometrics and other training techniques, Albritton was also a strength coach at UH and St. Anthony High in Maui, where his students included Philadelphia Phillies all-star outfielder Shane Victorino.

“;Dad allowed a lot of people to achieve success,”; Albritton's son, Shane, said. “;Growing up it was pretty cool to know your dad held a world record. But he was low-key about it.”;

Hirota, who died in 2003, was equally humble, his son, Wayne, said.

“;Dad was always appreciative that a boy from Ewa Plantation had the opportunity to play for UH,”; Wayne Hirota said.

Curly Hirota was a two-sport athlete, best known for his baseball success. But he also captained the 1948 football team.

Hirota went on to an all-star career in the Japan Baseball League, helping the Tokyo/Yomiuri Giants to four consecutive JBL titles as a catcher. He returned to coach baseball at UH and retired as the events manager at Aloha Stadium in 1994.

The group will be officially inducted tonight at halftime of the Hawaii-Fresno State men's basketball game. Their plaques join the others on the inner concourse of the Stan Sheriff Center.