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The 50 Greatest Hawaii Sports Figures

Sports Illustrated This list of the top 50 greatest 20th-century athletes originally appeared in the Dec. 27, 1999 issue of Sports Illustrated. Have someone to add to SI's list? Click here to submit your choices.

20th Century Top 50
Rank Profile
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, Wahiawa
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 4¥200-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.

Photograph by AP Photo


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