Punahou Athletic Hall of Fame Returns

Department: Athletics

by Doug Kilpatrick ’57

In May 2005, Sports Illustrated ranked Punahou’s athletic program No. 4 in the nation, noting that Punahou has won 318 state titles in 20 sports. The magazine compared the athletic programs of the top 1,000 U.S. high schools over the previous decade, ranking them according to overall excellence and state titles won. In 2006 and 2007, Punahou teams toppled previous records by winning 13 out of 24 possible state championships, a feat that solidified the school’s local and national reputation.

Punahou’s athletic achievements have been routinely touted in the media. At the same time, however, many of the great players who contributed to these school titles have gone unrecognized by Punahou’s own Athletic Hall of Fame. That is about to change.

A Noble Tradition

The Athletic Hall of Fame was initiated in 1980 as a way to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to athletics at Punahou. The original Hall of Fame task force was comprised of Clem Judd ’56, C. Dudley Pratt, Jr. ’45 and J. Ward Russell ’33, and they, along with Ralph Martinson, Scott May ’56 and Jim Hutchinson ’49, worked to formulate the award process and criteria.

The first ceremony was held in 1980 at Dole Cafeteria and honored 15 athletes. Today, 69 honorees – including eight women – have their names listed on the Hall of Fame koa plaque that hangs at the entrance of the athletic office. The original plan was to host regular ceremonies, however, the last Hall of Fame awards banquet took place a decade ago. Now, the Punahou O-Men and Na Wahine Pa’ani o Punahou are reviving this noble tradition with a ceremony scheduled for next spring in Honolulu.

The effort is long overdue, given the emergence of women’s athletics and the explosive increase in the number of sports. In 1960, for example, there were 10 boys and two girls team sports. Today, there are 45 ILH sports (boys, girls and mixed). Besides baseball, basketball and football, the list has grown to include air riflery, judo, kayaking, paddling, cheerleading, sailing, water polo and much more.

The proliferation of sports has meant that students now have many avenues to pursue their interests and talents. More than 50 percent of Academy students currently participate in ILH Varsity competition; last year, Punahou awarded over 2,700 letters in Intermediate, JV and Varsity sports, split equally between male and female.

The Athletic Hall of Fame clearly has some catching up to do! Especially when one realizes that nearly 90 percent of the honorees graduated before 1960.

A Spring Comeback

This past August, the Hall of Fame steering committee convened to rejuvenate the process and develop criteria aligned to the complexities of modern-day athletic programs. Steering committee members include Doug Bennett, Chris Eldridge ’87, Wana‘ao Watson ’89 Eldridge, Rick Humphreys Jr. ’90, Doug Kilpatrick ’57, Nedra Dwyer ’90 Manson, Chris McLachlin ’64, Ralph Martinson, Bobbie Perry, Eric Schiff and Bud Scott.

The committee established basic criteria: Individuals only will be considered (not teams); individuals must have lettered in a varsity sport or sports at Punahou and graduated at least 15 years prior to date of the induction ceremony. The athlete’s citizenship, attitude and community service are also taken into consideration.

The process itself reflects a commitment to equity: All sports are treated equally and female and male athletes receive comparable consideration. In addition, athletes who pioneered new sports and/or athletes who achieved post-Punahou honor in sports not offered by the school are eligible as well.

The steering committee created a database of candidates and narrowed down the list to 25 athletes. Information on each of these nominees is being collected and will be submitted to the selection committee for a final vote this fall. Twelve honorees will be chosen for formal induction to the Athletic Hall of Fame next spring. Stay tuned for announcements at www.punahou.edu and in the O-Men and Pa‘ani newsletters.

See the Athletic Hall of Fame page for a complete list of inductees.

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