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Sunday, January 11, 2015

HAWAII: A Giant in College Football

Every so often I brag a bit.  Certainly, though, I am not focusing on the University of Hawaii football team.  Today, on the eve of the first NCAA Football Championship game, let me explain why Hawaii is a Giant in College Football.  Let me begin with


That was a CNN article more than a decade ago.  The focus was on Kahuku High School.  However, private local high schools give scholarships to the very best players.  This is why St. Louis (from where came Marcus Mariota) and Punahou (from where Barack Obama, Michelle Wie and Manti Teo graduated) tend to produce the best players, and, even presidents.

A college football player from Hawaii, with a population less than one half of one percent of the nation, should mathematically win a Heisman Trophy every 200 years or more.  Every 50 years or so, someone should be among the three finalists for this honor.  Well:
  • 2007:  Colt Brennan placed third to Tim Tebow
  • 2012:  Manti Teo was a very close second to Johnny Manziel
  • 2014:  Marcus Mariota was the winner
Why is Hawaii so off the charts in producing football players?  Polynesians are being identified as particularly formidable in this game.  Hawaii has seven of the top ten cities in the country with the highest Polynesian percentage.  #1 is Kahuku with 9.6%.  Manti Teo is from Kahuku.  

However, in the most recent high school championship game, a public school, led by junior McKenzie Milton, who is white, prevailed over Punahou.  Milton, and his top receiver, Kalakaua Timoteo, both committed to the University of Hawaii.  That is somewhat stunning, as the best almost always is recruited away by the top college teams in the nation.  The University of Oregon, for example, has five from Hawaii.

A typical example is a recent post season all star game of Big Island players, where there was an overflow of mainland coaches.  The Big Island is not particularly noted as a football factory and only has a bit more than 10% the population of the state.  What has happened, I think, is that college coaches and their staff go out of their way to spend some time in Hawaii, not for our players, but for a vacation.  While they're here, they can write off their trip if they now and then land a recruit.  This is part of the reason why the University of Hawaii just cannot compete.  

And you can't blame them for leaving, for I was one who, too, left.  Former Hawaii football coach, Larry Price was quote in the morning paper today:

That's a scary thing to me, that they had to go to mainland schools to reach their maximum potential.

(I have a simple solution for this problem....to follow.)

The scarier thing is that this attitude also applies to other fields.  I would not be what I am today if I stayed home and never went to Stanford.  I didn't even bother applying to the University Hawaii, which is the general attitude of many of our top football players.  I have thus come to a conclusion that the University of Hawaii will not ever become #1 in anything (save for tourists) important unless we can somehow find only one mega billionaire with a dream to make Hawaii great.  In every future search for a new president or athletic director, this should be the highest priority, someone with a strong link to that individual.


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