Read the latest news from the Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame below.
HHSAA Officials of the Year for the 2022-23 School Year Announced
Sixteen individuals who have demonstrated the highest level of achievement in Hawaii high school sports officiating and service to education-based athletics have been selected as the 2022-23 recipients of the HHSAA Officials of the Year in their respective sport.
Ikaika Nishimura, baseball
Pete Arceo, boys basketball
Robert “Bobby” Ajifu, girls basketball
Joel Shugart, cheerleading
Todd Lynch, football
Sheldon Konno, judo
Brandon Rivera, boys soccer
Kylie Bluemke, girls soccer
Carlos Santana, softball
Saint Marie Gough, swimming and diving
Mike Gearen, tennis
Bob Martin, track and field
Ian Kusao, girls water polo
Don Gerber, wrestling
Fred Pu, boys volleyball
Pat Akana, girls volleyball
"Officials play an important role in conducting athletic events,” said HHSAA information director and HSOHOF board member Natalie Iwamoto. “We proudly recognize these outstanding officials for their dedication and are committed to supporting all officials at the high school level."
Additionally, two individuals have been selected for the OC16 Volunteer of the Year award based on their contributions to officiating through their role in high school athletics. The recipients are Brandy Burke, a long-time sports information specialist and support staff member with Kahuku High School; and Debbie Suyat, a long-serving volunteer involved with basketball, volleyball and outrigger canoe paddling operations for Kamehameha Schools, the Interscholastic League of Honolulu and the HHSAA.
The 16 officials and two volunteers of the year will be recognized as part of the in-person ceremony of the Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame induction banquet on Sunday, Sept. 3, 5:00 pm at the Ala Moana Hotel. To attend this event please click on "banquet reservations" at the top of this page.
Hall of Fame Class to induct 6 officials in 2023
The Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame (HSOHOF) announced the 6 officials to be inducted to the Class of 2023:
Denice Hanson (volleyball)
Dr, Lloyd Hisaka (football-basketball)
Donald Meinel (softball)
J. Craig Petersen (basketball)
John Smith (baseball)
Glenn Young (football)
The six will be honored in an in-person ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 3 at the Ala Moana Hotel.
More about the inductees:
Denice Hanson: Although she was an outstanding volleyball and canoe paddling athlete, she was known for her many appearances as a volleyball official. Officiated at nearly every level from league play to high school to USA Volleyball and ultimately a NCAA Division I official working for the Western Athletic and Big West Conferences. Her biggest accomplishments were earning USA Volleyball Junior National and National Officials Certification as well as traveling to California to work WAC volleyball matches. Hanson passed away in 2021.
Dr. Lloyd Hisaka: His contribution to Hawaii officiating extends beyond the football field and basketball courts. For nearly 50 years he taught college students to officiate flag football as part of the UH Manoa Intramural Sports program. He also served on the NFHS football rules committee and honored as an NFHS distinguished official. On the field, he worked collegiate and high school football and basketball since 1976. He also was a founding member of the Hawaii Football Official’s Clinic.
Donald Meinel: As a mentor to countless softball officials in his career, Donald Meinel taught respect for the game and how to officiate and enjoy the game. Since 1988, he umpired slow and fast-pitch games as well as worked high school and collegiate games in Division I and II. Behind the scenes, he was elected president of the Amateur Softball Association of Hawaii in 1985 and served 3 years until his appointment as Commissioner of USA Softball in 1988 and served in that role for 33 years until his retirement in 2021.
J. Craig Petersen: His officiating career is among the who’s who of basketball officials in Hawaii. He joined Hawaii Basketball Official’s Association under Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame Inductee, James Aiona in 1972 and quickly rose to be among the top high school officials on Oahu. He worked high school basketball games for 17 seasons, including two HHSAA State Championship games. In 1979 Craig was hired to officiate in the Western Athletic Conference and worked full schedules in both Hawaii and on the mainland. He is the only Hawaii official to work a WAC men’s championship game in 1993. He also worked Big West women’s basketball, the prestigious Maui Invitational and the post-season National Invitational Tournament.
John Smith: A native of Louisiana, John Smith moved to Hawaii in 1966 and soon began working as an umpire a year later in the Majors Division of the Palolo Little League. In, 1971, he started umpiring Babe Ruth and high school junior varsity. Two years later he worked varsity, AJA and American Legion games. In 1975, he started umpiring University of Hawaii games. His two sons (Gene and David) played on the UH baseball teams during this period and had outstanding careers. In the 1980s, he began scheduling umpires for American Legion, high school, AJA and the Hawaii Baseball League. He passed away in 2017.
Glenn Young: Although many people knew him as a long-time assistant basketball coach and founder of the ʻIolani Classic, Glenn had a distinguished career as a football official. He worked over 25 years working in the Oahu Interscholastic Association and worked multiple OIA championships, the Oahu Prep Bowl and the first two HHSAA state championship games. He was a very respected rules administrator and well regarded in the OIA and was also among first coordinator of officials for the HHSAA football championships. He passed away in 2015.
To attend this event please click on "banquet reservations" at the top of this page.
Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame Announces Call for Nominations for the Class of 2024
HONOLULU - The Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame (HSOHOF) is asking the public and the officials associations to nominate worthy officials for their seventh class of inductees. Induction ceremony is scheduled for September 2024. Deadline for submission of nominations is extended to Dec. 31, 2023.
“We are extremely proud and excited to begin the process to recognize Hawaii’s outstanding sports officials,” said Cal Evans, President of the Hall of Fame. “Similar to the outstanding performances of athletes, we feel the contributions of sports officials deserves a worthy place in our culture. They sacrifice their time and energy away from their families to give back to the community from youth to collegiate level sports.”
HSOHOF was founded in 2017 to promote public awareness of officials and their value to sports by recognizing and honoring Hawaii sports officials who have demonstrated the highest level of achievement, character, leadership and skill while contributing to their local official’s association.
Nominees shall meet the following criteria:
Worked as a sports official while residing in the state of Hawaii.
Demonstrated a commitment to officiating over a significant period of time.
Contributed noteworthy service to officiating and to an official’s association.
Demonstrated a high level of achievement and skill at the level of sport officiated.
Demonstrated unquestioned character and integrity.
Avid supporters of the officiating community, who are not officials, may also be considered.
Nominees will be chosen by a 9-person selection committee comprised of members of the athletic community on both the interscholastic and collegiate levels, including retired and active officials and athletic administrators.
Hall of Fame Class of 2022 includes 6 officials
The Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame (HSOHOF) announced the 6 officials to be inducted to the Class of 2022:
Joseph Edward Cardoza (football)
Stan Ono (wrestling)
Creighton “Fuzzy” Richards (basketball)
Gary M. Shiraishi (softball)
Verneda Thomas (volleyball)
Michael A. Wong (soccer)
The six will be honored in an in-person ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 4 at the Ala Moana Hotel.
“We are extremely excited to honor these six individuals for induction to the Hall of Fame,” said HSOHOF president Cal Evans. “These are the very best officials in the State of Hawaii and we are privileged to honor them as part of our fifth class.”
More about the inductees:
Joseph Edward Cardoza: Among the greatest Maui football officials, his 43-year career is as prestigious as his career as Chief Judge of the Second Circuit of the State of Hawaii. Cardoza worked both high school and college games and became the first neighbor island referee to work the HHSAA title game between Kahuku and Saint Louis. Highly respected and well organized, he was the leader and mentored many officials while staying humble to the game.
Stan Ono: Officiated 15 years at the youth level and 22 years at the high school level, Ono served on the Hawaii Wrestling Officials Association as treasurer since 2002 and president since 2005. His leadership led to the merging of all officials into one association and developed a comprehensive evaluation program in selecting officials to work the state tournament. He was the 2018 NFHS wrestling official of the year.
Creighton “Fuzzy” Richards: As the son-in-law of 2018 HOF inductee Jimmy Aiona, Richards was a part of tremendous collection of officials working under the Hawaii Basketball Officials Association that worked youth, military, high school and University of Hawaii games. Among the first officials to be invited to the Western Athletic Conference and worked the prestigious Rainbow Classic and Armed Forces League. Richards passed away in 2012.
Gary M. Shiraishi: Beginning in 1986 and throughout his 28-year career as a softball umpire, Shiraishi was well known as an ultimate professional, a dignified demeanor and ability to “get the call right.” For 18 years, he officiated women’s collegiate softball, working NCAA games in Division I, Division II and NAIA. Nationally, the Men’s Slow Pitch Industrial League and Super Slow Pitch, featured on ESPN, are recognized as the highest level of competition in the men’s slow pitch game.
Verneda Thomas: She began her officiating career in the mid-1970s working all levels of volleyball - from NAIA to NCAA Division I, USVBA and USA Volleyball. She attained her USA Volleyball National Referee certification in 1982 and officiated volleyball for nearly 40 years. She served as the Official’s Chairperson for USA Volleyball – Aloha Region, as an officer in the Aloha Region and she was an instructor and clinician at all levels. She retired as USA Volleyball National Referee and FIVB International Qualified Scorer before retiring at the end of the 2012-13 season. Thomas passed away in 2016.
Michael A. Wong: He began officiating soccer in 1989, starting with youth leagues and quickly moving up to work high school games. In 1993 he was named United States Soccer Federation’s (USSF) State Referee Administrator (SRA) for Hawaii, responsible for the administration of the USSF Referee Program in Hawaii until 2003. An active NCAA official, Mike was the first soccer referee in Hawaii to certify as a National Referee with the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association in 1998. In 2004 he was selected to the crew for one of only two NCAA Division I post-season games ever played in Hawaii. From 1996 to 2019, he served as Hawaii’s NISOA Chapter Representative, responsible for training and assigning soccer referees for local collegiate matches including University of Hawaii and Division II teams in the Pac-West Conference.
To attend this event please click on "banquet reservations" at the top of this page.
Watch Hall of Fame Virtual Ceremony on September 20
With the recent announcement to postpone the 2021 in-person banquet, the Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame (HSOHOF) will premiere a virtual ceremony inducting the Classes of 2020 and 2021 on Monday, September 20 at 6 p.m. HST.
Supporters of the seven inductees can watch the ceremony on the HSOHOF web page or on it YouTube page. The video will be available on demand following the premiere. The 60-minute program will be presented by SpectrumOC16's Felipe Ojastro and will feature four inductees from the Class of 2020 and three from the Class of 2021.
Hall of Fame Names 3 New Members for Class of 2021
The Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame (HSOHOF) today named three new members for the Class of 2021. The list includes:
Hubert P. Minn (boxing)
Gordon Scruton (Track and Field)
Arnold S. Soma (baseball)
“We are extremely excited to honor these seven individuals for induction to the Hall of Fame,” said HSOHOF president Cal Evans. “These are the very best officials in the State of Hawaii and we are privileged to honor our third and fourth classes.”
More about the inductees:
Hubert P. Minn: Following in his father’s footsteps, Herbert BS Minn, he became a professional judge in 1997, and has judged over 55 world title matches. He has served as the World Boxing Council’s chairman of the Ring Officials Committee for the last 23 years, as well as the chairperson of the North American Boxing Federation, and Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation. Retired as the former deputy director for the City and County of Honolulu and as an educator in the Department of Education, his father was inducted to the HSOHOF in 2019.
Gordon Scruton: Gordon Scruton has officiated and administered the sport of track and field in Hawaii for seven decades. From 1970 to 2013, he was the head official for the HHSAA Track and Field championships. He also officiated for USA Track and Field, the NCAA Championships, IAAF World Masters and USATF Olympic trials. Gordon's love of track and field took him across the globe to see the Olympics in Montreal (1976) and attend all of the World Track and Field Championships from 1983 in Helsinki to 2011 in Daegu Korea.
Arnold S. Soma: As a well-respected umpire throughout the islands, he first worked as a volunteer for Little League baseball then worked 10 years in Babe Ruth and 20 years for American Legion. He also worked both in the OIA and ILH as well as University of Hawaii games for two decades. He was also named assignor of the Honolulu and Rural AJA League, American Legion, Babe Ruth, ILH and HHSAA state tournament. His career highlight was working as the plate umpire for the 1982 WAC championship game at UH Stadium as well as many HHSAA championship games.
Hawaii becomes the 22nd state to pass an assault and/or harassment law protecting sports officials
On Sept. 15, Hawaii became the 22nd state to pass an assault and/or harassment law protecting sports officials when Gov. David Ige signed Senate Bill 2612 into law.Read story from NASO web site.
Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Names 4 New Members; Ceremony postponed until Sept. 2021
HONOLULU (June 1, 2020) - The Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame (HSOHOF) today named four new members for the Class of 2020. The list includes:
Jan Allen (soccer)
Samuel Delos Reyes (basketball)
Wayne Lee (volleyball)
Matt Sumstine (football)
Due to the ongoing pandemic situation, the HSOHOF board announced the postponement of the 2020 induction ceremony until September 5, 2021.
“For health and safety reasons, the board felt it was prudent to delay induction of these four deserving inductees until 2021,” said HSOHOF president Cal Evans. “We will also begin the nomination process for 2021 and they along with these four will celebrate together.”
More about the inductees:
Jan Allen: Officiating the sport of soccer for over 46 years, Jan worked from youth leagues to adult semi-pro including the collegiate level. She is a member of the National Federation Soccer Rules Committee for the past five years and is a member of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association soccer tournament committee. She founded the Hawaii Scholastic Soccer Federation Referees Association and served as president.
Samuel Delos Reyes: A well-respected coach and athletic director, Delos Reyes was also among the top high school and collegiate basketball officials in Hawaii. He officiated 33 years with the Hawaii Basketball Officials Association and worked nine state title games. He was also hired by the Western Athletic Conference (men) and Big West Conference (women) to work collegiate games. In 1989 he became the commissioner and assignor of the Hawaii State Basketball Officials Association and ran that association for 15 years.
Wayne Lee: In a volleyball career that spans nearly 30 years, Wayne Lee is among the leaders in officiating as well as teaching and mentoring others. He currently works high school and collegiate matches and serves as the Aloha Region Officials chair and HHSAA volleyball officials coordinator. He worked with the University of Hawaii to establish that all officials be certified as USA Volleyball Junior or National referee status prior to becoming a collegiate official thus raising the bar in the perception of officials.
Matt Sumstine: A former on-field official, Matt Sumstine reached heights in officiating as Hawaii’s first official from Hawaii to serve as a National Football League replay official. Prior to this assignment, he worked as a Western Athletic, Big 12 and Mountain West Conference on field and replay official since 2005. He is also active as the HHSAA coordinator of officials and is the co-founder of many clinics throughout Hawaii. He often asked to serve as clinician in Texas and as far away as American Samoa.
This is the third class of inductees since the Hall of Fame was founded in 2017.
Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2019 Inductees
HONOLULU (April 28, 2019) - The Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame announced the list of inductees for the Class of 2019. The list includes:
Louis O. Fuentes, Jr. (basketball)
George Gusman (football)
David “Koko” Mahukona (basketball)
Herbert BS Minn (boxing)
Wayne Ohashi (wrestling)
Joe Ornellas (football)
Herbert Paleka, Jr. (softball)
The seven inductees were selected based on the criteria of demonstrating the highest level of achievement, character, leadership, skill and commitment-to-officiating over a significant period of time.
Each inductee will be formally inducted at the annual recognition banquet on Sunday, September 8, 5 p.m. at the Ala Moana Hotel. For banquet information, please call (808) 445-4277 or visit our web site at www.hawaiisportsofficialshalloffame.org.
More about the inductees: Louis Fuentes: Over the past 50 years, Louis has been officiating youth and high school game and worked 28 years as a college official in five NCAA Division I conferences; two NAIA national championship games in 1987 and 1988. He was also on the NBA staff from 1977 to 1979 and held commissioner and assignor positions in Southern California and Hawaii.
George Gusman: Since 1974, George became one of the most decorated football officials of the modern era. From 1975 to 1987, he worked 12 OIA championship games and six Oahu Prep Bowls. He also stared officiating college football in 1986 working the Hula Bowl and then moved to Division I conferences in 1988 (WAC) to 2007 (Big 12/Mountain West). He has worked more than 25 bowl games and an unprecedented two National Championship games (2012, 2015).
David “Koko” Mahukona: Mahukona was a pioneer in early and modern Hawaii basketball officiating. He was among the first to officiate major college basketball in Hawaii and along with 2018 HOF inductee Jimmy Aiona, helped lead and mentored many officials for more than 60 years. He served as a supervisor of officials and co-founded high school associations and the NCAA Summer League. Herbert Minn: A boxer, coach, mentor and official, Herbert Minn was among the most influential figures in Hawaii boxing. He won two Golden Gloves championships, six Territorial championship and served as the boxing coach for the University of Hawaii from 1949 to 1958. As boxing referee, he worked more than 40 world title bouts in the World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and the World Boxing Council.
Wayne Ohashi: A former wrestling coach, Wayne Ohashi co-founded the Hawaii Wrestling Officials Association when the OIA and ILH wanted to improve the level of officiating. He instituted a vigorous training program and took an active role on Maui and Hawaii Island as well. For 26 years, he was one of the main influencers in the quality of officiating serving as the first president, the NFHS wrestling rules committee and the HHSAA wrestling coordinator.
Joe Ornellas: For more than 40 years he was an influential member of the Hawaii Football Officials Association serving as president for many years and active in all levels from Pop Warner to high school. He was selected as the referee in the first Oahu Prep Bowl in 1973 and worked the many University of Hawaii home games in the 60s and 70s. He was hired by the Western Athletic Conference in 1979 and worked 16 years as a referee, umpire and back judge.
Herbert Paleka, Jr.: Born and raised on Molokai, Herbert Paleka, Jr. was a three-sport athlete at Molokai High School. In 1967, he began his officiating career on Oahu working Police Activities League and various youth baseball games. His career quickly took off when he was recruited to work the Hawaii Major Leagues. He also began working softball from 1971 and rose to leadership positions for the Hawaii ASA. In 1991, he became the first softball umpire from Hawaii to be inducted into the International Softball Federation for slow pitch softball – the highest honor for umpires.
This is the second class of inductees since the Hall of Fame was founded in 2017. The inaugural class included: Jimmy Aiona (basketball), Roy Chong (football), Earl Galdeira (football), Leilani Okuda (softball), Patrick Tanibe (basketball), Ray Verdonck (wrestling), Frank White (football) and Hide Yamashita (baseball/softball).
Felipe Ojastro and Cal Evans recap the 2018 event and the call for nominations for the Class of 2019 (Courtesy Spectrum OC16)
Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame Announces Inaugural Class of Inductees
(June 20, 2018) HONOLULU - The Hawaii Sports Officials Hall of Fame today announced the first list of inductees to their Hall of Fame. The list includes:
Jimmy Aiona (basketball)
Roy Chong (football)
Earl Galdeira (football)
Leilani Okuda (softball)
Patrick Tanibe (basketball)
Ray Verdonck (wrestling)
Frank White (football)
Hide Yamashita (baseball/softball)
The eight inductees were selected based on the criteria of demonstrating the highest level of achievement, character, leadership, skill and commitment-to-officiating over a significant period of time.
Each inductee will be formally inducted at the annual recognition banquet on Sunday, September 9, 5 p.m. at the Ala Moana Hotel. For banquet information, please call (808) 445-4277 or visit our web site at www.hawaiisportsofficialshalloffame.org.
More about the inductees: Jimmy Aiona: Innovator and pioneer among basketball officials in Hawaii. Officiated high school, college, semi-pro and military teams in the 1950s and 60s. Began training officials in the 1960s and served as both high school and University of Hawaii assignor. Created many of the rules in use today including alternating possession and the advantage/disadvantage philosophy.
Roy Chong: Served as the first OIA football commissioner appointed in 1967 until his death in 1999. Provided training to all new and veteran officials and assigned games including the Prep Bowl in 1973. Well respected by coaches and officials, Chong mentored many of today’s top college officials
Earl Galdeira: The dean of Hawaii football officials. Worked 25 consecutive Hula Bowls as part of the officiating crew. Became the first Hawaii official to work a mainland post-season game (East-West Shrine game) as well as the Japan Bowl. He was named to the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame in 1996.
Leilani Okuda: An umpire since the age of 15, Leilani was the first from Hawaii to be a certified International softball fast pitch umpire in 1996 and culminated her career as an umpire in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Coaches agree she is the best softball official in Hawaii and through her 25-year career, she served as a mentor and counselor of many future umpires.
Patrick Tanibe: The most famous and decorated basketball official in the modern era. Was one of the first Hawaii officials to be selected to work in a Division I conference (Western Athletic) and received prestigious assignments including The Maui Invitational, Rainbow Classic and the Chaminade upset of Virginia in 1982. He officiated the NAIA National Championship tournament for 3 years and founded Hawaii NCAA summer basketball league to develop and train young officials.
Ray Verdonck: Considered among the officiating leaders in high school wrestling. During his 36-year career in wrestling, Ray has served in nearly every capacity in officiating, administration and mentoring. Honored by both the Oahu Interscholastic Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations for his role in officiating. He has continued to mentor officials for the past 20 years.
Frank White: One of a handful of officials to succeed on the high school, college and professional levels. Following 15 years of high school officiating, Frank worked the next 24 years as Division I football official in the Western Athletic Conference. He also worked six seasons in the professional ranks in Arena2 football culminated by being named the referee in the af2 championship game in 2004.
Hide Yamashita: Unprecedented service as an umpire working over 75 years from youth softball in 1934 to high school and University of Hawaii baseball games. After “retiring” from college baseball in 1989, he continued to work both high school baseball and various softball leagues until 2010 when he retired at age 92. Never saying no to a baseball or softball assignment, Hide served as an umpire when major league teams passed through Hawaii. Despite his small stature, considered one of the giants in humanity and humbleness on the diamond.