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The 50 Greatest Sports Figures From Hawaii

Dec. 27, 1999
Dec. 27, 1999

Table of Contents
Dec. 27, 1999

20th Century
Inside The NFL

The 50 Greatest Sports Figures From Hawaii

There's a difference between loyalty to the home team--athletes
imported to play for our local colleges and pro franchises--and
the deep emotional bond we share with hometown heroes, the local
legends we knew back when. They are the boys and girls from next
door, or the next town. We watched them grow up, watched them
play when it was still play. Unfortunately, these luminaries are
almost inevitably dispersed because of sport's mercenary nature,
lured away by scholarships or contracts. Well, we're bringing
'em all back home for the millennium--not necessarily to where
they were born, but to where they first showed flashes of the
greatness to come. Thus, Broadway Joe is in Pennsylvania, not
Alabama or New York; and the Mailman is in Louisiana, not Utah.
The result: the top 50 from your state and, on the following
pages, a list of those from all 50 states. In short, the
ultimate home teams.

This is an article from the Dec. 27, 1999 issue Original Layout

#1
Duke Kahanamoku
HONOLULU
First great Hawaiian swimmer; in 1912, '20 and '24 Olympics won
total of three golds and two silvers; father of modern surfing.

#2
Chad Rowan
WAIMANALO
Known as Akebono in Japan, first foreign grand champion in
1,500-year history of sumo.

#3
Clarence (Buster) Crabbe
HONOLULU
Won gold in 400-meter freestyle at 1932 Olympics; set 16 swimming
world records.

#4
Russ Francis
KAILUA
Star QB at Kailua High; set national high school javelin record
senior year; drafted by Royals in 1974; a three-time Pro Bowl
tight end with Patriots and 49ers.

#5
Mosi Tatupu
HONOLULU
Special teams terror at USC has NCAA award named after him; NFL
running back for 14 seasons (1978-91).

#6
Herman Wedemeyer
HONOLULU
All-America running back at St. Mary's College in 1945; was
outfielder with San Francisco Seals.

#7
Ford Konno
HONOLULU
Six NCAA swimming titles at Ohio State; two golds, two silvers
at 1952 and '56 Olympics; set world records in 400- and
800-meter freestyle.

#8
Warren Kealoha
HONOLULU
Won 100-meter backstroke golds at 1920 and '24 Olympics; set four
world records; was undefeated in the backstroke until '26.

#9
Derek Tatsuno
AIEA
Set then NCAA career strikeout record at Hawaii from 1977 to '79.

#10
Sid Fernandez
HONOLULU
Led Kaiser High to state title in 1981; two-time All-Star won
114 games in 15 seasons in majors.

#11
Robyn Ah Mow
HONOLULU
All-America on Hawaii's women's volleyball team in 1995 and '96;
one of the best setters in college game.

#12
Robby Naish
KAILUA
Won first boardsailing world championship as amateur in 1976;
dominated pro tour, winning four titles in the '80s.

#13
Mike Lum
HONOLULU
Played first base and outfield for four teams in 14 major league
seasons; 103 career pinch hits.

#14
Jesse Sapolu
HONOLULU
All-State in football at Farrington High in 1978; All-Pro center
and guard earned four Super Bowl rings with 49ers.

#15
Adrian Murrell
WAHIAWA
Set state single-game rushing record (322 yards) at Leilehua
High; has three 1,000-yard seasons in six-year career with
Cardinals and Jets.

#16
Tom Haine
HONOLULU
Captain of U.S. men's Olympic volleyball team in 1968; named an
All-Time Great Player by U.S. Volleyball Association in 1990.

#17
Jackie Pung
HONOLULU
Won U.S. Amateur in 1952; first Hawaiian in the LPGA; lost '57
U.S. Open because of scorecard-signing snafu.

#18
Mark Tuinei
HONOLULU
State shot put champion and football star at Punahou High; won
three Super Bowl rings as Cowboys offensive lineman.

#19
Jesse Kuhaulua
MAUI
First foreigner to win a sumo title in Japan; now Akebono's
stable master.

#20
Rell Sunn
MAKAHA
Helped found Women's Pro Surfing Association in 1975; in '82 was
ranked No. 1 in world on longboard.

#21
Carl (Bobo) Olson
HONOLULU
Won world middleweight title in 1953; career record of
92-16-2 with 49 knockouts.

#22
Wally Yonamine
MAUI
First post-World War II foreigner to play pro baseball in Japan;
won three batting titles in 1950s; in Japanese baseball Hall of
Fame.

#23
Dave Shoji
HONOLULU
Built one of country's top volleyball programs at Hawaii; coached
three NCAA champions (1982, '83, '87).

#24
Kurt Gouveia
WAIANAE
Won state football championship with Waianae High, NCAA title
with Brigham Young in 1984; got Super Bowl ring as Redskins
linebacker.

#25
Aileen Riggin-Soule
HONOLULU
Olympic springboard gold in 1920 at 14; diving silver, 100-meter
backstroke bronze in '24.

#26
Garrett Gabriel
PEARL CITY
Set records for passing yards and touchdown passes at Hawaii; led
team's upsets of BYU in 1989 and '90.

#27
Derek Ho
OAHU
Association of Surfing Professionals champion in 1993, first
Hawaiian to win that title.

#28
Thomas Kaulukukui
HILO
State's first football All-America, as running back at Hawaii in
1935; school's football coach from '45 to '50.

#29
Nani Cockett
AIEA
Played on four basketball and two volleyball state title teams
at Kamehameha Schools from 1989 to '93; second-leading scorer in
Hawaii women's hoops history.

#30
Ted Makalena
HONOLULU
First islander with a victory on the PGA Tour when he won the
Hawaiian Open in 1966.

#31
Keala O'Sullivan
HONOLULU
Springboard diving bronze medalist at 1968 Olympics; also won AAU
one-meter that year.

#32
Lenn Sakata
HONOLULU
Reserve infielder for four major league teams from 1977 to '87.

#33
Ben Villaflor
HONOLULU
WBA junior lightweight champion from 1972 to '76; career record
of 44-5.

#34
Red Rocha
HONOLULU
First Hawaiian in NBA played for four professional teams in 1940s
and '50s; founder of Rainbow Classic college hoops tournament.

#35
Peter Velasco
WAIPAHU
Kamehameha Schools grad was captain of 1964 U.S. Olympic
volleyball team; 12-time USVBA All-American; named USVBA All-Time
Great Player in '70.

#36
Benny Agbayani
HONOLULU
All-state in baseball, football and soccer at St. Louis High;
had 10 homers in first 78 at bats as rookie with Mets in 1999;
finished season with .286 average and 14 homers.

#37
Rich Miano
HONOLULU
Safety on Kaiser High 1979 state title team; was Hawaii's
leading tackler in 1983 and '84; played 10 years in NFL
with Jets, Eagles and Falcons.

#38
Cal Lee
HONOLULU
Coach of 13 consecutive state football champs at St. Louis High
in 1980s and '90s.

#39
Pua Kealoha
HONOLULU
Swimmer won gold medal in 4x200-meter free relay and silver medal
in the 100 free at 1920 Antwerp Olympics.

#40
Fred Hemmings
HONOLULU
Won world surfing championship in 1968.

#41
Salvador (Dado) Marino
HONOLULU
Beat England's Terry Allen for world flyweight title in 1950;
held title until '52; had career record of 57-14-3.

#42
Nuu Faaola
HONOLULU
Set state high school single-game rushing record (296) in 1981
(since broken by Murrell, #15); played four NFL seasons with Jets
and Dolphins.

#43
Traci Phillips
HONOLULU
Olympic kayaker in 1988, '92 and '96; twice voted country's top
female kayaker; winner of a gold and a silver at '95 Pan Am
Games.

#44
Charlie Ane
HONOLULU
Pro Bowl tackle with Lions in 1957 and '59; son Charlie played in
NFL in '70s and early '80s.

#45
Brian Viloria
WAIPAHU
Won light flyweight gold medal at World Amateur Boxing
Championships in August.

#46
Al Noga
HONOLULU
High school state shot put champion; an Outland trophy finalist
at Hawaii in 1986; played defensive end with Vikings from '88 to
'92.

#47
Jim Nicholson
HONOLULU
All-America in football and basketball at St. Louis High in
1960s; played tackle with Chiefs for six seasons.

#48
Rockne Freitas
HONOLULU
Two-time All-Pro tackle with Lions (1970, '72).

#49
Alika Smith
KAILUA
USA Today honorable mention All-America at Kalaheo High; third
alltime-leading scorer and top three-point shooter at Hawaii.

#50
David Ishii
HONOLULU
Won Hawaiian Open in 1990 and has five top 10 finishes in 32 PGA
Tour events; also played on Japanese tour.

B/W PHOTO: SI PICTURE COLLECTION #1 Duke Kahanamoku