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In Memoriam

Minutes after the University of Hawaii’s thrilling 38-34 victory over BYU in the SoFi Hawaii Bowl, UH QB Cole McDonald took a moment to put the game – and the 2019 season – in its proper perspective. “It was destiny for us,” he told a group of reporters. “You talk about Schey season. You can’t tell me that he wasn’t watching over us in that last moment. Defense making that [interception at the end], you can’t tell me that’s not Schey looking over us. I get goosebumps thinking about it.”

“Schey” is UH linebacker Scheyenne Sanitoa, who died on the Fourth of July last year at the age of 21. Sanitoa, from Fagatogo, American Samoa, was one of the first recruits that Nick Rolovich brought in as UH head coach.

Sanitoa was one of many notable sports figures who passed away in 2019. The list also includes former UH head football coach Dick Tomey, Hall of Fame NFL cornerback Willie Brown and Boston Celtics legend John Havlicek. Here are more sports figures and legends who bid aloha to us this past year:



Mel Stottlemyre, famed N.Y. Yankees pitcher (77)

“Mean” Gene Okerlund, legendary pro wrestling announcer (76)



Frank Robinson, baseball’s first black manager (83)

Don Newcombe, Negro League and MLB pitching great (92)

Pedro Morales, Hall of Fame pro wrestling legend (76)

Wade Wilson, former NFL QB (60)



King Kong Bundy, pro wrestling legend (83)



John Havlicek, Hall of Fame Boston Celtic player (79)

Forrest Gregg, famed NFL lineman and coach (85)



Dick Tomey, legendary college football coach (80)

Bart Starr, Hall of Fame Green Bay Packers QB (85)

Bill Buckner, major league baseball infielder (69)

Niki Lauda, famed Formula One race car driver (70)



Pat Bowlen, owner of the Denver Broncos (75)



Pernell Whitaker, Hall of Fame professional boxer (55)

Scheyenne Sanitoa, University of Hawaii football player (21)

Tyler Skaggs, Los Angeles Angels pitcher (27)

Nick Bouniconti, former Miami Dolphins All-Pro linebacker (78)

Jim Bouten, former baseball player and author of Ball Four (80)



Jack Whitaker, Hall of Fame sportscaster (95)

Cliff Branch, former Oakland Raiders receiver (71)

Harley Race, legendary pro wrestler (76)

Franco Columbu, Hall of Fame bodybuilder (78)

Cedric Benson, former NFL running back (36)



Willie Brown, Hall of Fame Oakland Raiders cornerback (78)

Al Bianchi, notable NBA player, coach and executive (87)



Pat Sullivan, former Heisman Trophy winner (69)

Hayden Fry, famed Iowa football coach (90)