By Diane Ako
MANOA (KHNL) - History-making, again. This time, it was the largest fan turnout for an autograph session that UH Manoa has ever seen. UH staff, and even a reporter who's covered UH sports for nearly 30 years, all say they've never seen a meet-and greet event like it.
The cue started early Saturday morning. Fan Joan Tamayose was first in line. She and friends from work showed up at 3 am. She held up a garbage bag cut into a makeshift raincoat amid on and off Manoa drizzles and admits with a blush to this reporter that she braved the elements to meet famed quarterback Colt Brennan. "I'm happy. I saw the football players as they came in. I'm excited."
The star of the show was undoubtedly Brennan. An estimated 4,300 fans flocked to meet him for the one hour event. The line was at least a mile long. UH says Colt signed six items per minute for 70 minutes (they started early).
UH officials say they've never seen anything like it. It snaked from the far corner of Cooke Field, past the parking garage, to the Athletic Complex.
10 year old Austin Nakao strategized. His mother held his place in the Colt Brennan line, while he worked the lines to get the other players to sign his football. Nakao really wants Brennan's signature, though. "I admire him because he was the first guy from Hawaii to get to the Heisman Trophy ceremony."
Standing in the middle of managed mayhem is John MCNamara, UH's associate athletics director. This is the guy who engineered the day. "We wanted one final fan event for the fans to come out and say hello to this football team," he explains.
Players say they also want to thank the fans. Receiver Jason Rivers, with a fairly healthy following of his own, multi-tasked by signing and answering questions. He says he's not surprised by the large turnout. "They support us, so it's the least we can do. They've been turning out all season to the games. Even the Charleston games. Loyal fans, and we love 'em."
A love fest for all, apparently.
Tamayose had a little message for Brennan. "I'm going to say congratulations and good luck in Louisiana. I hope you guys bring home the victory."
And after the players return from Louisiana, Mc Namara says there will probably be another chance to meet them. After all, he smiles, "This is the community's team. It's not the UH team or the state's team. It's the fans' team."
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