(Honolulu, HAWAI'I)--The first seven honorees to the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame will be named 10 a.m. tomorrow, during a press conference at the Sheraton in Waikiki.
Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Co-founders – Super Bowl Champions Jesse Sapolu and Ma’a Tanuvasa, along with Dick Tomey, a member of the selection committee – will make the announcement, according to a statement issued this week by HOF.
The establishment of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame was announced August this year by its board of directors comprised of Sapolu, Tanuvasa, Vai Sikahema, Troy Polamalu, Reno Mahe and June Jones. The Polynesian Hall of Fame, a non-profit organization, honors Polynesia’s greatest football players, coaches and contributors. The organization seeks to establish a permanent home within an existing historical landmark or building located in Hawai’i.
There are nearly 60 NFL players of Polynesian descent including perennial Pro Bowlers and Super Bowl Champions Polamalu and Haloti Ngata, currently playing in the NFL, the HOF notes.
“In the last Super Bowl (XLVII), five players represented Polynesia and more and more are being selected atop the NFL Draft,” the HOF says in an August statement. “Polynesian football players have become part of the American football lexicon.”
Four-time Super Bowl Champion with the San Francisco 49ers, Sapolu, said that there have been many Polynesian football players who’ve “made a profound impact on the game we all love.”
“It is our responsibility to honor these legends and help educate our young people about their significant contribution to Polynesian history and football,” Sapolu said.
The official event celebrating the achievements of the first class of inductees, will be held early next year at the Hawai'i Convention Center on Thursday, January 23, 2014 prior to the NFL Pro Bowl.
“The Inaugural Enshrinement Ceremony will be unlike any other Hall of Fame induction,” said Co-Founder and two-time Super Bowl Champion Ma’a Tanuvasa. “It will be an authentic Polynesian experience – a celebration of our greatest football legends and Polynesian culture.”
Here are the list of finalists.
-George Achica (DT) USC, Pro: NFL (IND) & USFL 3 years, Samoan ancestry
-Junior Ah You (DE) Arizona State, Pro: CFL & USFL 12 years, Samoan ancestry
-Bob Apisa (FB/HB) Michigan State, Pro: NFL (GB) 1 year, Samoan ancestry
-Charles "Charlie" Teetai Ane, Jr. (OL) USC, Pro: NFL (DET) 6 years, Samoan ancestry
-Herman “Buddy” Piikei Clark (OL) Oregon State, Pro: NFL (CHI) 4 years, Hawaiian ancestry
-Riki Morgan Ellison (LB) USC, Pro: NFL (SF, OAK) 8 years, Maori ancestry
-Luther John Elliss (DT) Utah, Pro: NFL (DET, DEN) 9 years, Samoan ancestry
-Rockne Crowningburg Freitas (OL) Oregon State, Pro: NFL (DET, TB) 10 years, Hawaiian ancestry
-Kurt Keola Gouveia (LB) BYU, Pro: NFL (WAS, PHI, SD) 13 years, Hawaiian ancestry
-Ma'ake Tu'amelie Kemoeatu (DT) Utah, Pro: NFL (BAL, CAR, WAS) 11 years, Tongan ancestry
-Olin George Kreutz (C) Washington, Pro: NFL (CHI, NO) 14 years, Hawaiian ancestry
-Kevin James Mawae (C) LSU, Pro: NFL (SEA, NYJ, TEN) 16 years, Hawaiian ancestry
-Alapati “Al” Noga (DL) Hawai’i, Pro: NFL (MIN, WAS, IND) 6 years, Samoan ancestry
-Tiaina Baul “Junior” Seau, Jr. (LB) USC, Pro: NFL (SD, NE, MIA) 20 years, Samoan ancestry
-Ray Frederick Schoenke (OT/OG) SMU, Pro: NFL (DAL, WAS) 12 years, Hawaiian ancestry
-Mosiula “Mosi” Faasuka Tatupu (RB/KR) USC, Pro: NFL (NE, STL) 14 years, Samoan ancestry
-Jack Thompson (QB) Washington State, Pro: NFL (CIN, TB) 6 years, Samoan ancestry
-Manu'ula “Manu” Asovalu Tuiasosopo (DL) UCLA, Pro: NFL (SEA, SF) 7 years, Samoan ancestry
-Mark Pulemau Tuinei (OT) Hawai’i, Pro: NFL (DAL) 15 years, Samoan ancestry
-Herman John Wedemeyer (HB) St. Mary’s College, Pro: AAFL (Dons, BAL) 2 years, Hawaiian ancestry
COACH & CONTRIBUTOR FINALISTS
-Thomas Ka’auwai Ka’ulukukui, Former Head football Coach at University of Hawai’i, Hawaiian ancestry
-Albert “Al” Lolotai (OL) Weber JC, Pro: NFL (WAS), AAFL (Dons), 4 years, Samoan ancestry
-John Manumaleuna, Contributor, Southern California Advocate for Polynesian Youth, Samoan ancestry
-Ken Niumatalolo, Head Football Coach at United States Naval Academy, Samoan ancestry
-Charlie Wedemeyer, Former Head Football Coach, Los Gatos High School (CA), Hawaiian ancestry
Go to www.polynesianfootballhof.org for more information.
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