The following are excerpts from an interview with current assistant and former head coach of the University of Hawaii football team Dick Tomey, on "This Week with Dave Kawada", Wednesday from 9:00a - 10:00a HST, on ESPN 1420 AM radio, and www.espn1420am.com.
DK:: I was inspired by your keynote speech at the Rainbow Wahine Basketball Banquet but (Head) Coach Dana (Takahara-Diaz) mentioned that you almost didn’t make it.
DT: I’ve had some back problems for years. That day I did something without bending my knees and my back went out. But I was so honored to be invited that I did what I needed to do to be there. That team has captured my imagination and (Dana) has done such a wonderful job in rebuilding that program.
DK: I wouldn’t have known you were on the injured reserve that night. You walked tall and stood tall giving your speech. I guess just like you have told your players before, sometimes you have to suck it up and do what is needed for the team.
DT: (Laughs) Well sometimes you just need to do something. And I was glad I was able to be there, to see all the people there. The toughest job in sports is to bring back a program that has struggled. And she is doing a terrific job.
DK: Could you summarize your keynote speech from that evening in which you talked about the 5 key elements for success.
DT: You need to have BELIEF. Belief in yourself, in the people that you are working with, and belief in what you are doing.
You need PASSION. It is more than just “wanting to”, but passion is more powerful than anything in getting something done. The passion will allow you to overcome all the difficulties that may come your way.
You need to have ENERGY, a high positive energy level. There is to much negativity in the world today. With optimism comes a high powered energy level that can be contagious.
You have to have a STRATEGY that gives you a chance to win. You can have all the other things but without a strategy, you won’t succeed.
Finally, you need to bonded, or TOGETHER with the other people in the venture. The rewards are so much better with a group. You cannot simply do it by yourself.
DK: On Monday morning while I was taking my 2 boys (age 10 and 7) to school, both sports fans by the way, I told them about your speech and the 5 elements that you pointed out. Later that day at dinner I asked them if they remembered them, and they were able to remember each element.
DT: What that shows is that they listen to their dad (laughter).
DK: You obviously have experience with having to build programs. When you first came to Hawaii in 1977 from UCLA, what did you see in the program and what did you need to address quickly?
DT: We didn’t even have our first staff meeting until June. Everything was happening so quickly. I didn’t have recruiting. I could only bring 2 coaches. And players wanted to leave so I had to re-recruit the players that we had. I did home visits or talked on the phone to every one of the players. One of whom was Blane Gaison. Fortunately he committed to stay in July and he was important because he was so popular. A funny thing is how “Hawaii 5-0” came about. (Note: Theme from the 1960’s CBS TV show has been used as the song for all Hawaii athletic teams when the enter the stadium or arena). The band director called me and said, “What do you want us to play when you come running on to the field?” I said, “Well….how about Hawaii 5-0.” And that’s how that began. We just didn’t have anytime to really think about things. But I think “Hawaii 5-0” is one of the best songs in college sports in the country.
DK: I totally agree. And thanks for making that happen.