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HPU student creates local sports identity

by Kyle Galdeira, Sports editor

 

On Nov. 1, Kanoa Leahy will officially become the sports anchor at KHON-2 television, on the highest-rated nightly news show in Hawai‘i. Quite an accomplishment for a 27-year-old undergraduate. This is just the next step for Leahy who was given the job as sports anchor and reporter with KITV-4 television at 21. “The opportunity was too good to pass up,” said Leahy. “HPU was really gracious to allow me to take the job and continue school.”

 

After graduating from Iolani School in 1995, Leahy attended the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa for two years and then transferred to HPU. He still attends HPU on a limited basis and has “six or seven” courses left to go before attaining a degree, but he plans to graduate.

Leahy honed his talent by working as the voice of HPU sports in the late ‘90s. In addition to hosting a weekly show geared towards HPU athletics and broadcasting baseball and softball games on the radio, he also called basketball and volleyball games on television.

“ HPU was a really good training ground,” said Leahy. “I got a lot of repetitions and a lot of on-air opportunities; being exposed to different sports gave me versatility, which is crucial in this business.”

His favorite memory of broadcasting for the school is when, in 1998, HPU defeated BYU-Hawai‘i in Bakersfield, Calif., to win the regional tournament and eventually move on to win the NCAA II National Volleyball Championship.

As Leahy recalls, “Those players were unbelievable. Coach Tita Ahuna had come in to lead the team, and we had lost four or five times to (BYU-Hawai‘i) that year. Maybe the players weren’t as big or strong, but they found a way to win in five games. It was the most exciting game I called.”

One explanation for Leahy’s talent is his bloodline. He is a third-generation sports broadcaster after his grandfather Chuck and father Jim, the current voice of UH Warrior sports for KFVE television.

Despite the family history, Leahy insists that he is not following in the family footsteps for the sake of tradition. “I never really looked at it as looking up to them, but my Dad has been my idol in every area of life. He and my grandpa are standard-setters, and lots of others in the business look up to them because they are intelligent contributors to their community, and that’s something I strive for,” Kanoa said.

Father and son recently teamed up to co-host an hourly radio show titled appropriately, “The Leahy & Leahy Show.” It airs every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. on Sports Radio KKEA 1420 AM.

“ The next generation should be better than the one before it, and (Kanoa) is,” said Jim Leahy. “What he does is so advanced, it’s beyond me.”

Kanoa Leahy is focusing now on his new role and is looking forward to the challenges ahead. “It’s a great honor to be where I am,” he said, “but my job now is to make sure that their choice of sitting me in that chair was a good one.”

 

 

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