History of Hawai‘i From Our Files: Sportscaster Jim Leahey’s Legacy
Here’s a look back at the sportscaster's most dramatic moment of his career calling games.
Sportscaster Jim “Kimo” Leahey loves sports so much that, while celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife in Hāna and discovering a softball game going on next to their hotel, he umpired the remaining games—for a week. And his skill as a sportscaster was so apparent to his peers they named him Hawai‘i’s Sportscaster of the Year 17 times (and twice more in the years that followed). Ron Jacobs writes, “The Honolulu-born Leahey inherited his love of sports and his Irish gift of gab from his father, Chuck,” whom he often worked alongside in the 1960s. What was Leahey’s most dramatic moment in his career of calling Rainbow games? “The UH finally beating BYU in football, Oct. 28, 1989. But who remembers what else happened that night? During the game, we heard that a commuter plane had crashed. The next day we found out that much of the Moloka‘i High School volleyball team had been killed. Compared to that, what did the football game really mean, even though UH won, 56-14?” Leahey says. HONOLULU writes, “As usual, Jim Leahey knew the score.”
Leahey was inducted into the UH Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016 and retired in 2018 at age 75. His son Kanoa picked up the mantle as a third-generation sportscaster, often working with his father, including on the talk show Leahey & Leahey, which ran on PBS Hawai‘i for nine years. You can hear Kanoa Leahey these days on the radio program and podcast Let’s Talk Sports, as well as calling the play by play for UH football, volleyball, basketball and baseball.
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