Hugh Yoshida

Steve Murray
Wednesday - February 01, 2006
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Hugh Yoshida
Hugh Yoshida

Former University of Hawaii athletic director Hugh Yoshida (pictured here with grandchildren Micah, Mari and Dylan) isn’t involved in the daily hustle and bustle of major college athletics anymore, and that’s just fine with him.

Since leaving the post in 2003, he has moved on to other interests. Still in sports, but those that allow for more time for family, travel and golf.

“When I first got out of it I did miss it,” he says. “I missed all the activities and the things that happened at the university, seeing that I was part of it for 12 years. But after a few months it was just another chapter in my life.”

The current section in Yoshida’s history is divided up among a variety of professional interests that stretch from serving as chairman of the executive committee for the Hawaii Bowl to determining who will play for the BCS football championship.

Of particular interest is his position as president of the local chapter of the Nation Football Foundation. The group’s goal is to help promote interest in high school football in association with the College Football Hall of Fame while providing 12 scholarships per year to student athletes. Students are judged on their athletic and academic achievement plus their community involvement.

“We honor these kids in May (at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel), dress them up in tuxedos. We put them up on a dais above the audience and it’s very special event for these kids.”

One of the biggest highlight of his post-UH career came in 2004 when Leilehua High School named its new football field in honor of the former coach.

“I’ve been very blessed. It has to rank up in the top three as far as my accomplishments are concerned,” says Yoshida, who also lists his time at UH and the state title he won with Leilehua in 1984. “Anytime you get a field named after you that is really the ultimate honor an individual can receive.”

Though no longer required to attend sporting events on the UH campus, Yoshida is still a regular in the stands at the Stan Sheriff Center, Aloha Stadium and Les Murakami Stadium. “I attend as many games as I can - football, basketball, volleyball, baseball. I’m still a big fan of the university,” he says with a particularly proud chuckle when talking about the Rainbow Warriors’ victory over Michigan State in men’s basketball.

At 65 years of age, Yoshida isn’t looking to settle down to a life of gardening just yet. “When I look at Joe Paterno (Penn State football coach) and when I read about Marv Levy (Buffalo Bills general manager), those guys are around 80, or late 70s, and they are still going strong. So hopefully there are still a lot of good times in my life left.” - Steve Murray

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