H.P.U. graduation dampened by student-athlete's tragic death - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

H.P.U. graduation dampened by student-athlete's tragic death

Kameron Steinhoff Kameron Steinhoff
Dustin Simcox Dustin Simcox
Kathleen Steinhoff Kathleen Steinhoff
Darren Vorderbruegge Darren Vorderbruegge
Chatt G. Wright Chatt G. Wright

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The sudden death of Kameron Steinhoff cast a somber shadow at the Waikiki Shell Wednesday night, while friends and family paid tribute at Hawaii Pacific University's graduation ceremony. We've learned more about the accident that took the life of the talented basketball player.

We're told Steinhoff was riding his skateboard down a large hill near his home in Kaneohe. It's a hill he's skated down many times before, but on Monday night, he fell and hit his head. He wasn't wearing a helmet and never regained consciousness.

Darkness and rain covered H.P.U.'s commencement ceremony as thousands paused in silence. Twenty-one year old Kameron Steinhoff would likely have been here celebrating his teammates' graduation. Dustin Simcox played on his team, and said, "I always thought that today was going to be one of the greatest days of my life but with what's happened the last day. His presence is more important. I'd rather have him here today than wearing this."

Steinhoff's mom, Kathleen, expressed, "I just want everyone to know out there that Kameron is a really good kid. He loved basketball so much. And he loved people. He was a very quiet kid but if you got to know him then yeah he wasn't too quiet."

The 6'4" fiery Steinhoff led his Punahou team to the state championship in 2008. That's the same year he was named Hawaii's player of the year. Then, he headed to H.P.U. This past season, he played 27 out of 28 games. His coach, Darren Vorderbruegge, explained Steinhoff's role on the team: "We talk about he was a quiet leader. But boy when he got on the court, he wasn't quiet. Everything came out and he was tremendously competitive and fiery."

The tragedy dampened Wednesday's night's ceremony for the nearly 850 graduates, but the University President, Chatt G. Wright, struck an encouraging tone, "Be positive, look for the good things in life, and move forward."

The healing has already begun, as Dustin Simcox wears an armband to remember his friend. "I have a way to honor him and show that he's looking down on me somewhere and hopefully smiling. I love him to death," Simcox said.

A grieving mom has her own simple advice for the graduates. Kathleen said, "Just letting people know that a freak accident can happen. It's just a mother's nightmare. I wish they could bring my son back."

During the graduation ceremony's moment of silence, graduates also honored another former H.P.U. Student, who died in March. 49 year old John Tyner died when his motorcycle crashed on the H-1 Freeway. The retired Navy Officer was riding his bike when a truck caused a chain reaction crash. Tyner left behind a wife and two children.

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