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Kanoa Leahey to assume Hawaii football television play-by-play duties this season

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:58 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Longtime local broadcaster Kanoa Leahey will take over the play-by-play call of University of Hawaii football telecasts on Spectrum Sports this season following the passing of Robert Kekaula last month, school officials say.

Leahey, the son of Hawaii broadcast legend Jim Leahey, confirmed the news to Hawaii News Now on Wednesday.

It’ll be the first season on the football broadcast for Leahey after already having spent years as the primary play-by-play announcer for Spectrum’s coverage of other UH sports, including men’s and women’s volleyball and basketball. Kekaula, along with color analyst and former University of Hawaii coach Rich Miano, had been the television broadcast duo for Rainbow Warrior football in recent years.

“I am truly humbled to be following in the footsteps of two men who have served as mentors and inspirations to me in the late Robert Kekaula and, of course, my father Jim Leahey before him,” Leahey told Hawaii News Now.

Miano is expected to stay on as the football broadcast’s color analyst along Leahey this season, with Scott Robbs serving as the game’s sideline reporter.

Bittersweet as it may be, given the late Kekaula’s standing amongst everyone in the local sports community, the significance of the chance to broadcast Rainbow Warrior football games is not lost on Leahey.

“I think the opportunity to call University of Hawaii football broadcasts represents the pinnacle for just about every Hawaii sportscaster,” said Leahey. “I grew up a Hawaii fan and I’ve spent my entire career covering UH sports, and so the history and tradition of this program carries a great deal of meaning for me.”

Leahey, like countless others who have worked in sports broadcasting in Hawaii, says he counted Kekaula as both a friend and a professional mentor ― one of several who helped him hone his skills as a broadcaster in the early stages of his career.

“We lost Robert far too soon, and he had such an incredible presence. There’s absolutely no replacing him,” said Leahey. “I only hope that I can honor his legacy and continue to apply the same respect to the craft as both he and Pops so wonderfully did.”

The Rainbow Warriors open their football season on August 28, on the road against UCLA. The game will be featured on ESPN, with Leahey making his debut on the broadcast the following week at home against Portland State.

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