On this date in 1959, Tennyson Lum finally gave in to Hawaii football coach Hank Vasconcellos‘ offer to join the team.
Fresh off a stellar season at Iolani, Lum decided to help the local college after it won two out of three games on the continent but faced a tough task against the College of the Pacific in the Shrine Game.
Vasconcellos said that Lum was dead even with fellow freshman Larry DeRego at left halfback.
“DeRego is more familiar with our plays than Lum, but that doesn’t mean that the former Leilehua High School boy is better than Lum,” Vasconcellos said. “They are about even.”
Hawaii lost that contest 6-0, but Lum earned six carries for 51 yards, the team’s second-best ground gainer behind DeRego’s 11-86. Lum got most of his yardage on successive plays, going off tackle for 35 yards and then 18 more to carry the ball to the Pacific 15.
Vasconcellos trusted Lum on fourth down, however, and the youngster was thrown for a five-yard loss on fourth down to extinguish Hawaii’s best scoring chance.
Despite the abbreviated season, Lum finished third on the club in rushing yards and fourth in receiving. He even completed a 39-yard pass.
The 5-7, 140-pounder led Hawaii in rushing the next year despite 21 fewer carries than Damon Waitley. He was hobbled by a leg injury in his junior season. He reported to new coach Jimmy Asato‘s camp as a senior after track and field season but didn’t appear to play a down.
His political career began shortly thereafter, serving in the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives before building his own insurance agency.
Lum died in June at the age of 79.