Retirement shouldn’t end storytelling

Few were better than Jim Leahey in providing narration of a sporting event. His commentary entertained, informed and, sometimes, provoked. His viewers/listeners were enraptured with stories that transcended generations, often told with a wink and sometimes with words originating from a thesaurus’ deepest reach.

For decades, a UH telecast was like watching a game with Uncle Kimo. It seemed he was speaking directly to you, even though he was in a press box or at courtside.

But for all his on-air brilliance, he was at his best in breakfast conversations at Jack’s, chatting with other swimmers between laps at the Y, or reciting his themed poetry at banquets. It was at those settings where the topics flowed from sports to faith to politics. In contrast, a sporting event’s action dictated the commentary.

The wish is that Leahey, who has retired from broadcasting, will continue to use his story-telling ability. Whether it’s on a talk show or as a guest announcer or even at a baby luau, his voice is a gift that still needs to be shared.


  1. truegreen June 5, 2018 9:47 am

    ekahi! Mahalo Jim for the lifetime of memories! You made UH sports exciting in a way no one else could ever replicate.

  2. suckkabooya June 5, 2018 9:53 am

    His “voice” is such a gift. It what separates him from all the other sportscasters of this era. Kanoa has a lot of his Dad’s qualities and feel for the game, but the inflections and intonation in Jim Leahy’s voice etched moments into your memory like no other Hawaii broadcaster. Just so natural. Such a gift.

  3. Derrick Mishima June 5, 2018 10:24 am

    “Is this the year? Is this the year? You better believe this is the year!”

  4. Da Punchbowl Kid June 5, 2018 10:40 am

    Pops Leahey is a legacy figure in local sports and indeed, all of Hawai’i nei. If a game was going badly he made it bearable, if it was good, he made it more enjoyable and if it was a great game, he made it electrifying. With his intellect and his local style, he was the voice of the game and of his listeners. The very sound of his voice lent itself to his unique style of delivery, crackling with energy, filled with urgency. He is one of a kind, and as sports casters go, he will always be number one in my book. The only solace I take from his retirement is his son Kanoa, who will carry the Leahey tradition forward for decades to come if we are lucky.

    Mahalo Jim. We gotta go eat breakfast sometime soon!

  5. turfwar June 5, 2018 11:33 am

    Thank you DPK. I couldn’t have said it any better.

  6. turfwar June 5, 2018 11:36 am

    This may be the perfect time Derrick for K5 to replay the first UH victory over BYU.

  7. Superstar Advertiser June 5, 2018 12:44 pm

    Happy retirement, Jerry Leahey!

    Check that, Jim Leahey.

  8. not Sean June 5, 2018 1:09 pm

    After a tough week of work, I’d turn on the TV Friday nights and tune to whatever UH game was on the air and listen to his voice make the world all better once again.

    Congratulations and happy retirement, Kimo Leahi!!! Yep, I remember those mornings on the radio, too. Whenever I hear the Peter Moon Band’s song about that little street in Singapore, I think of you and my carefree life in those days back in the 80s.

    Mahalo, Jim.

  9. 808WarriorFan June 5, 2018 1:25 pm

    #6 … “turfwar” … Y-E-S … !!!!!


  10. cappie the dog June 5, 2018 2:43 pm

    You wouldn’t be able to do this in today’s political climate, but Jim Leahey, when he used to do morning radio(I’m not sure what station), would stage a Public School versus Private School trivia contest with schoolchildren.

    Anybody remember that?

  11. Old School Dave June 5, 2018 3:35 pm

    Enjoy your retirement, Mr. Leahy!

    Who can forget Kimo Leahi and his easy words for locals for pronounce like “Frigidaire refrigerataa!”

  12. DaveLetterMan June 5, 2018 3:59 pm

    Mālama pono, Mr. Leahy.
    I remember delivering to K5 and he’d ride up with his Harley or sometimes he and the Mrs. would arrive in his black F-150.
    Thanks for the memories!

  13. wafan June 5, 2018 4:24 pm

    It is the voice I will miss. It was the sound of home. Happy retirement, Mr. Leahey!

  14. Savich June 5, 2018 8:48 pm

    1989, Garrett Gabriel, QB. #18

  15. Savich June 5, 2018 9:34 pm

    Johnny Matias, #14. RF fence. 1988

  16. Da Punchbowl Kid June 5, 2018 10:00 pm

    Thanks Turf. Pops is the greatest!

  17. suckkabooya June 5, 2018 10:35 pm


    I think you have to figure out this one on your own. All of them unique and quality individuals. I’m a Minna Sugimoto fan from the KHVH news radio days. Never have “Sports Animals” back then.

  18. Akamai Okole June 6, 2018 4:29 am

    Great Morning All!

    Congratulations Pops!

    Was at a memorial last night for an Aunt. Great memories. What a generation.

    Pops may not be from that generation but he can certainly “pull” from it and as the Blog Host says, bring us all along for the ride…

    Aloha Jim! Thanks for the memories.

  19. cappie the dog June 6, 2018 5:25 am

    Those football telecasts with Rick Blangiardi, in my memory, were the apex of local sports productions. Blangiardi brought out the best in Jim Leahey. They had an excellent rapport.

    Leahey worked with Ann Meyers.

    I had no idea who Meyers was as a little kid.

    Before the Internet, you learned things at a slower pace. There was no local sports website to tell you who Ann Meyers was.

    I also remember that Mr. Leahey has a penchant for gallows humor. I remember him telling Pal Eldridge on-air during a UH baseball game, “They honored me because they thought I was going to die.” This must have been the University of Hawaii Circle of Honor.

    Mr. Leahey, your eyesight was going wayward, but your sharp mind still persists. It is my hope that you join “Hoops Talk” with Jeff Portnoy and Jackson Wheeler.

    Thank you for the reason that I love low mid-major sports.

  20. A-House June 6, 2018 6:33 am

    like his Dad before, Master Jim extended the magical voice of the Leahey legend, and hopefully, to be carried to greater heights by Kanoa!

    the nose of the football or 1st down by a “manapua” short.

    thank you Master Jim for sharing your voice with all of Hawaii nei.

    good health and much happiness in your retirement years!!!

  21. Stephen Tsai June 6, 2018 6:53 am

    New post:

Comments are closed.