Naeole, Tanuvasa among Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Class of - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Naeole, Tanuvasa among Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017

(Image: Polynesian Football Hall of Fame) (Image: Polynesian Football Hall of Fame)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame unveiled its Class of 2017 today. Five Inductees were selected from a list of 18 Finalists.

This year’s inductees include Junior Ah You (Samoan ancestry), Riki Ellison (Maori Ancestry), Chris Naeole (Hawaiian ancestry), Ma’a Tanuvasa (Samoan ancestry) as player inductees and John Manumaleuna (Samoan ancestry) as a contributor. 

“The Class of 2017 has won five Super Bowls, two Grey Cups and a College Football National Championship,” said Jesse Sapolu, Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Co-Founder and Chairman.  “They represent the very best of our Polynesian people.”

“On behalf of the Selection Committee, I congratulate this outstanding Class,” said Dick Tomey, Selection Committee Chairman. “Their accomplishments on and off the field are truly worthy of this recognition.”

The Class of 2017 will be honored during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend, to be held on January 21 & 22, 2017 in Oahu, Hawai`i. The Polynesian Pro and College Football Player of Year honorees will be announced later in the year.

Inductees will also be recognized at the inaugural Polynesian Bowl, a premier senior high school all-star football game featuring the world’s elite players of Polynesian heritage and other ancestries. For more information about the game, visit www.PolynesianBowl.com.

Special thanks to these sponsors for making the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame one of the premier Polynesian cultural gatherings in the world: Hawaiian Airlines, the “Official Airline of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame,” Hawai`i Tourism Authority,NFLPolynesian Cultural Center, Weil & AssociatesTihati ProductionsCoca-Cola Bottling of Hawai`iKyoya CompanyStarwood Hotels & Resorts and the Princess Kaiulani, the “Official Hotel of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame.”

JUNIOR AH YOU (Player) 

Junior Ah You

Samoan Ancestry … Defensive Line … Arizona State University … 3x All-WAC Selection … Selected by Patriots in the 17th Round, 425th player overall (1972 NFL Draft) … 13 Seasons … Montreal Alouettes (1972–81) … Chicago Blitz (1983) … New Orleans Breakers (1984) … Arizona Outlaws (1985) … 2x CFL All-Star (1976, 1979) … 2x Grey Cup Champion (1974, 1977) … Grey Cup MVP (1974) … Arizona State Athletics and Canadian Football League Hall of Fame Inductee …Born December 30, 1948 in Sale Miu, American Samoa.

RIKI MORGAN ELLISON (Player) 

Riki Morgan Ellison

Maori Ancestry … Linebacker … University of Southern California … 2x Rose Bowl Champion (1979, 1980) … College Football National Champion (1978) … Selected by 49ers in the 5th round, 117th player overall (1983 NFL Draft) … 9 Seasons … San Francisco 49ers (1983–89) … Los Angeles Raiders (1990–92) … 3x Super Bowl Champion (XIX, XXIII, XXIV) … First player from New Zealand and of Maori Ancestry to play in the NFL and win a Super Bowl … Born August 15, 1960 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Christopher Kealoha Naeole (Player) 

Christopher Kealoha Naeole

Hawaiian Ancestry … Offensive Line … University of Colorado … Consensus All-American (1996) … 2x All-Big 12 Selection (1995, 1996) … Selected by Saints in the 1st Round, 10th player overall (1997 NFL Draft), one of the highest Polynesians ever selected … 11 Seasons … New Orleans Saints (1997–2001) … Jacksonville Jaguars (2002–09) … Missed only one game in his 11 NFL seasons, and started 150 of 154 games … Born December 25, 1974 in Kailua, Hawai’i.

MA’A TANUVASA (Player) 

MA’A TANUVASA

Samoan Ancestry … Defensive End … University of Hawai`i … WAC Champion (1992) … First-Team All-WAC Selection (1992) … Selected by Rams in the 8th Round, 209th player overall (1995 NFL Draft) … 8 Seasons … L.A. Rams (1993) … Pittsburgh Steelers (1994) … Denver Broncos (1995–2000) … San Diego Chargers (2001) … Atlanta Falcons (2002) … 2x Super Bowl Champion (XXXII, XXXIII) … Broncos Sack Leader (1998, 1999) … Hawai`i Sports Hall of Fame Inductee … Born November 6, 1970 in Nu'uuli, American Samoa.

John Manumaleuna (Contributor) 

John Manumaleuna

Samoan Ancestry … Staunch advocate and mentor for Polynesian youth and families as they migrated into the California communities … A great proponent of Education and responsible citizenry … He encouraged football and sports as a path to a better life for Polynesian kids … Founded Samoan Athletes in Action, which became the Big John Foundation shortly after his passing … Born March 13, 1950 in American Samoa … Died in 1980 at the age of 31.

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