'Mr. Iolani' honored at memorial service - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

'Mr. Iolani' honored at memorial service

Eddie Hamada Jr. Eddie Hamada Jr.
Dale Lee Dale Lee
Cynthia Hamada Cynthia Hamada

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - He's best known as "Mr. Iolani" and Sunday, hundreds paid tribute to the man who played an active role at Iolani and in the high school sports community.

Eddie Hamada died of natural causes on January 3rd at the age of 81.

He became Iolani's head football coach in 1960 and athletic director three years later.

Although he's not here anymore, his spirit lives on through his family, fellow coaches, players and many friends.

"One team." Two words that best describe the legacy of Hamada.

"Integrity, selfless, humility, unassuming, that was Eddie," classmate Clancy Taoka said. "After he was born, I think god threw away the mold."

He carried on that legacy of his coach, Father Bray, a philosophy of teamwork and unselfishness which became Iolani's motto.

Hamada played at Iolani in the 40s and in 1960 became head coach. He won three ILH titles and in the 1980 Prep Bowl, played to a seven-seven tie with Waianae. It was regarded as Hawaii's "Mythical" state title game.

Players remember how humble he was even after big wins.

"Think about the young men on the bus on the other side of the stadium, think how they're feeling, we respect them," Former player Dale Lee said.

Hamada quit coaching in 1987, but stayed on as athletics director until 1992.

"If he was going to make the kids clean-up something, my sister and I were some of the first people that had to do it, he wanted us to lead by example," His son, Eddie Hamada Jr. said.

Former classmate Clancy Taoka was once president of the Iolani Boosters Club. When he asked people to join, Hamada's name was a key ally.

"They would ask me, what do you do with the funds? I said, I work closely with Eddie, that was good enough," Taoka said.

After retiring from his positions at Iolani, the school named its track and field after him.

"I shall miss Eddie every hour and every minute of every day for the rest of my life," His widow Cynthia Hamada said.

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