The Warriors’ fortunes turned on a January night in 1999.
Vince Manuwai, then a Farrington High senior, was set to make good on a verbal commitment to Utah. But then after talks with the UH coaches, he opted to be the first member of June Jones‘ initial recruiting class.
Manuwai demonstrated strength of body (500-pound bench press) and character. When John Estes was being recruited to UH a few years later, O-line coach Mike Cavanaugh showed videos of Manuwai. “I wanted to be like Vince,” Estes recalled thinking.
During his rookie year with the Jaguars, Estes roomed with the wise veteran from Hawaii — Manuwai, Jacksonville’s third-round pick in the 2003 NFL Draft.
Manuwai died this morning while completing his move into an apartment in Kakaako. He was 38.
In a telephone interview today, Cavanaugh was overcome with emotion, finally whispering, “He was like a son. … He had a great heart.”