The Sack Man


In Norm Chow’s 40 years of coaching, there were two opposing defensive linemen who forced Chow’s staffs to change their usual blocking schemes — Dwight Freeney and Al Noga.

“You couldn’t block them the way you would normally block a scheme,” Chow said.

Freeney was “impossible to block,” Chow said.

Chow said Noga was comparable, particularly as a pass rusher.

Chow announced that Noga — a UH graduate and All-America defensive lineman who played seven NFL seasons — will be UH’s honorary captain for Saturday’s homecoming game against Colorado State at Aloha Stadium.

Chow then added a third game-altering defensive lineman.

“Niko Noga was tough, too,” Chow said of Al Noga’s older brother.

* * * * *

UTEP coach Bob Stull once said the Miners were “Noganized” in a loss.

* * * * *

After a blowout loss to UH, Fullerton State coach Gene Murphy noted that Al Noga appeared to be from another planet.

Told that, Noga said, “I’m from Planet Kalihi.”

* * * * *

In a 2009 story, Wes Nakama wrote:

At the University of Hawai’i in the 1980s, dormitory students would cross a nearby stream by walking over three or four huge stone slabs laid in a line leading to the opposite side.

How those slaps — each probably weighing well over 500 pounds — got there was a mystery, but some students had a theory that eventually developed into somewhat of a legend.

“Maybe,” students said, “the Noga brothers hauled them down from the mountain and placed them in the streambed, one by one.”


  1. gmahoney October 24, 2013 5:58 am

    First? Is it Saturday yet?

  2. UHfan808 October 24, 2013 6:03 am

    Good morning, Tsai-kos and Lurk-ers! 😀

    Almost homecoming Saturday and we’re almost ready to perform our pre-game flags routines!! Hehe 🙂

  3. Wes'side Warrior October 24, 2013 6:06 am

    Morning, Gang!

  4. Wes'side Warrior October 24, 2013 6:09 am

    So… aside from some great historical context for this Homecoming Game’s Honorary Captain, I hope these stories will lead to inspired defensive play this weekend!

    Let’s get it, Warriorz!

  5. oneseason October 24, 2013 6:24 am

    I hope to also see inspired coaching from the Rainbow Warrior side of the field.

  6. pu'uwai October 24, 2013 6:47 am

    Aloha kakahiaka.

    Second half of the season begins Saturday…need six wins.

    Imua Rainbow Warriors!!!

  7. Whats up October 24, 2013 6:53 am

    I think CSU will come out flat on the Island after a emotional high putting a beat down on Wyoming in Laramie. Hawaii has been known to come out flat after bye week but especially more so in the 3rd quarter. But Hawaii is at home and well rested after a bye week and no Oct 19th Colorado Buffs game to make excuses why the team is bruised and battered. Chow, Kaumeyer and Demo had 2 weeks to prepare and plan for CSU, so no excuses for a homecoming loss!!!

    Hawaii Warriors 42
    Colorado State Rams 38

  8. mo808 October 24, 2013 6:55 am

    Good Morning Folks!

  9. mo808 October 24, 2013 6:58 am

    Great choice on Al Noga! Very inspiring! Go Bows!

  10. tom mui October 24, 2013 7:07 am


    About time the Noga brothers got recognition for their accomplishments – lest we forget!

    And they still should be on the Hall of Fame!

  11. Da Punchbowl Kid October 24, 2013 7:30 am

    A bug Aloha and shout out to my friend Al Noga! Glad to see him on the field. You go Big Al! #nogabrothersbestever #nogabrothersuhhalloffame


  12. Da Punchbowl Kid October 24, 2013 7:35 am

    About those stone slabs – it was Niko I think, who once broke an Olympic bar while doing power cleans.

    “big” not “bug”, that should read above.


  13. Luki October 24, 2013 7:46 am

    Great to see Al get props, wish he could slip on #54 this week…Remember Niko’s game against West Virginia with Oliver Luck at quarterback (Andrew’s dad), he was beastly in that game…

  14. Buffoman October 24, 2013 7:49 am

    Back in the “Noga days” I believe people went to some of the games just to see if all of that hype was true. They were not disappointed as Niko and then Al always did something to truly change the tenor of an opponents game.

    Those men on defense were like offensive weapons. Take nothing away from the modern day players like, Tanuvasa, LaBoy, Sapoaga, to name a few, but those Noga brothers just lit up a game (not just on defense, as what they did there translated to offensive and special teams play in a positive manner) like no other has done since. And lest we forget, they had a terrific group of fellow players around them.

  15. gobows October 24, 2013 7:51 am

    Gotta wonder how many centers got concussed from niko noga shooting out of that 4-point low rider stance. How many nose tackles were known for blocking kicks? Just 1.

  16. oingo boing October 24, 2013 7:56 am

    About time for Al Noga! Still remember one of the Noga’s flying over the defense to make a stop of the opposing ball carrier dead in his tracks. Now that’s a Flyin Hawaiian!

  17. BigWave96744 October 24, 2013 8:05 am

    I think some sumotori would agree Konishiki had the meanest 500 lb “slaps”

  18. boolakanaka October 24, 2013 8:09 am

    16–Aloha all….So, here is my contribution to Noga lore….I was in the dorms, hanging with V. Sides and most of the Kafentzis brothers and it was weekday night and all of sudden we hear Niko’s voice scream…” Auiiiiiiiiiiii”. The aforementioned was aui fitisemanu, of Castle High Fame. Oh, btw, in my opinion, Aui, was the most athletic DB we had, and that is saying a lot, as there were notables like Rich all the K Brothers, Louis Santiago…etc. If I recall correctly, he got into a little pinch with the law (whot back in the day??) and left school to go to Samoa.

    Anywho, back to our story, I guess Niko and Aui got into a little “fasi” and well, Niko instead of running up the 3 (three) flights of stairs, proceeded to climb up what I think was a drainage pipe to Aui’s 3rd floor dorm room, yelling “Auiiiiiiiiii” as he proceeded onward and upward. Please note, one does not question a Hercules like Samoan of Nikos cut about the merits of using a drain pipe in lieu of conventional stairs….it’s just not done.

    Well, before reaching the top, he lost his grip and fell, from about two and a half floors, hit the cement, shoulder and then face, and the dorm fell into a hush. What seemed like minutes, were probably actually 25-30 seconds; people did not know what to do….?? Ambulance, first aid, palusami…?? what to do–what to do??

    Well, Niko after about a minute or so, picks himself up, looks around a little bit, and goes back to his dorm-room–end of true story.

  19. BigWave96744 October 24, 2013 8:11 am

    I like the story of Al Noga helping a stranded female student by packing her while holding her moped with one hand.

    Those who went to school in the 80’s remember the Monte Carlo SS with the License “SacMan” that would park anywhere near the Wainani High Rises and some how would never get a ticket.

  20. Slugger October 24, 2013 8:13 am

    Good morning, ST & gang!

    Great to see the Nogas being recognized at a game. UH Hall of fame next?


  21. Ipu Man October 24, 2013 8:39 am

    Colorado State has three good running backs, and a receiver that all could play for the NFL…

  22. (Jesse)James October 24, 2013 9:22 am

    Good morning Tsaikos!!!

    I still remember Niko playing lights out against Dave Rimington from Nebraska. And I was just a little kid back then…. 🙂

  23. d1shima October 24, 2013 9:38 am

    Great Morning All!


  24. d1shima October 24, 2013 9:39 am

    Great memories.

    Nice tradition started by the HC.

    Sometimes it’s easy, other times maybe a little harder but always…

    Be a fan.

  25. gobows October 24, 2013 9:58 am

    #22 jj

    would have been better if tomey left noga at nose instead of playing him at lb for that nebraska game. still remember him catching heisman winner mike rozier from behind.

  26. Luki October 24, 2013 10:20 am

    The other guy busting up Rimington that night was Mark Tuinei

  27. (Jesse)James October 24, 2013 10:24 am

    #24 D1 ……Me a fan!!!

  28. RedZone October 24, 2013 11:05 am

    Go na whine!

  29. Former UH Athlete October 24, 2013 11:24 am

    Will we soon see a Noga Brothers fact list, much like the Chuck Norris fact list?

  30. Former UH Athlete October 24, 2013 11:30 am

    21… CSU is also super inconsistent, so you never know which CSU team will show up on gameday.

    UH was in position to beat CSU in Ft. Collins last year and was outplaying them for most of game until a pair of pick 6’s ended UH’s day.

  31. turfwar October 24, 2013 11:59 am

    Here’s my Al Noga story. Was covering the Rainbows on a road trip to Utah for the Tomey Show. After practice at the Utes facility Al comes out of the locker room after showering dressed in only a lava lava. Here’s the thing. It’s around 45 degrees. So as the Utah team comes in from their practice Al stands with his massive arms crossed and just stares at the Utes as they pass by him. They all look at this guy and knowing all about him they’re now convinced this guy could be a little off. On the opening kick off the next day the Utes fumble on their own 2 yard line or so. Yup you guessed it. On the first play from scrimmage Al burst thru the line almost untouched quicker than anyone on the Ute Oline ever expected. Sacks the qb for a safety and the Bows go on for a convincing victory on the road. To this day I’m convinced the game was won a day before kickoff.

  32. Old Diver October 24, 2013 12:28 pm

    We have been losing to flat and inconsistent consistently this year. Chow is going to have to come out swinging from the start and hope that is good enough to beat flat and inconsistent.

  33. bowwar October 24, 2013 12:28 pm

    Wasn’t it Niko Noga who blocked a potential game winning West Virginia field goal in the final second of the ball game? I also seem to recall that the West Virginia QB may have been Oliver Luck…

  34. bowwar October 24, 2013 12:30 pm

    I can’t believe the UH BB team is ranked 6th in the preseason prediction for the Big West this year…Either the other teams have “lights out” talent or our team is underated.

  35. jeezy33 October 24, 2013 1:19 pm

    Does FUHA blazin 5 come out today?

  36. jeezy33 October 24, 2013 1:20 pm

    Boise +7.5 over BYwho
    Notre Dame -20 over Air Force
    Clemson -14 over Maryland
    Northern Illinois -31 over Eastern Michigan
    SDSU +8 over Fresno

  37. jimmy the lock October 24, 2013 1:27 pm

    Way to go Noga!

  38. RedZone October 24, 2013 1:30 pm

    When you had the sackman all you had to do was rush 2.

  39. jimmy the lock October 24, 2013 1:31 pm

    Stupid joke Friday…

    A sheep walks into a baaaaaaaar…

    Why did the ram fall off the cliff? He didn’t see the ewe turn.

  40. jimmy the lock October 24, 2013 1:38 pm

    A Ram walks into the doctor’s office with a frog sitting on his head. The doctor asks, “How can I help you?”

    The frog replies, “I was wondering if you could help me get this wart off my butt.”

  41. jimmy the lock October 24, 2013 2:00 pm

    One day early, just planning ahead.

  42. turfwar October 24, 2013 2:01 pm

    Thank you for that amazing link RedZone.

  43. cocobean October 24, 2013 2:16 pm

    Back in the 80’s there was an elderly guy who sat a row in front of me with his wife. He’d always turn to me and say Tomey should play Niko at LB. His reasoning was Niko was too small to play nose gurad in the NFL and he should be learning how to play LB. This went on for three season.

    When Niko lined up at MLB on the first play of the Nebraska game, the old guy turned to me with tears in his eyes and said,”finally Tomey is giving Niko a chance. A chance to make it in the pros.”

    Don’t remember any specific plays that happened in the game but to this day I remember this gruff old guy’s face filled with heart felt emotion for Niko and the team.

  44. wow October 24, 2013 2:18 pm


  45. cocobean October 24, 2013 2:31 pm

    #38. Redz. Was the other rusher Colins Scott? Remember Colins during some kind of kangaroo hop to celebrate his sacks.

  46. jimmy the lock October 24, 2013 3:38 pm


  47. Aaron October 24, 2013 3:44 pm

    34. a Gib-coached team has yet to win consistently in conference play. They tend to fall apart as the season goes on. Until they prove otherwise, that will be the book on this team.

  48. HiloBilly October 24, 2013 3:46 pm

    Boola: our counseling dept announced a Yale College Native Hawaiian Recruitment function at our school on November 1. Are you by chance a part of that effort, since you mentioned you’d be visiting the islands soon?

  49. Kevin October 24, 2013 3:56 pm


    Glad Im not the only one seeing that. Guess some people still remain enamoured with the ‘sales pitch’.

  50. boolakanaka October 24, 2013 4:01 pm

    Perhaps, perhaps….are you trying to buy my affection via the Kuhio Grill? Boola is everywhere…

  51. primo123 October 24, 2013 4:34 pm

    47 & 49

    Why do you think that is happening?

    Lack of conditioning?

    Too much conditioning?

    What should Gib do differently if he’s coaching consistantly, but his players aren’t?

  52. papajoe2 October 24, 2013 5:16 pm

    #38~Brings back great memories. Listening to Papa Leahey, it’s sad because I think he slowed down a lot in his broadcasting.
    Niko was lined up right behind Tuinei. I think Tuinei negated the blocking of Niko so Niko could do his thing. When I say right behind, I mean right on his butt. It was like we had 2 nose guards.

  53. Inyoface October 24, 2013 6:10 pm

    I would like to see Graham have game experience but I think Schroeder should start. The defense has got to play Raven type defense and keep the opponents score low.

  54. Warrior Dave October 24, 2013 7:59 pm


    That’s the perdiciment. Do you give Graham game experience to build for next year. Or do you give all the experience to SS this year and maybe win 2-3 games this year but start all over next year?

    That’s why Chow refused to change the offense last year. This year he’s doing a lot more RS but it’s killing him to do so. It’s losing reps of the offense he truly wants to run.

  55. NorthShoreFan October 24, 2013 8:10 pm

    Redzone, Mahalo for the link…

    Jim and Rick, best team for broadcasting
    Levi Stanley
    Johnny Woodcock
    Harris Matsushima
    Jeris White
    Golden Richards
    Niko Noga…used to line up like a frog on all fours and exploded, got kicked by Dave Rimmington from Nebraska though, but then everybody got smoked by Rimmington.
    Al Noga
    Tom Tuinei
    Mark tuinei

  56. Buffoman October 24, 2013 8:23 pm

    I hope UH is taking a look at that large defensively tackle from Farrington.

  57. nanakuli October 24, 2013 9:55 pm

    Farrington has good strong players but only Fehoko has the great SAT scores.

  58. NotNasti October 24, 2013 9:59 pm

    I think that’s who Buffo was talking about. I don’t think we have a chance to get him. Everybody wants him.

  59. RainbowCliff October 25, 2013 2:04 am

    Good morning Tsaiko Nation, just catching up on all the posts this week as been very busy here in LA with recruiting for Hawaii upper campus, having our 17th annual golf classic this Friday and coming Saturday morning will be working special event at the USC football game with pro surf security services.

    As far as Al Noga goes truly one of the BEST defensive force to ever play for UH as many of you commented on his strength, speed and quickness as the video link posted ( mahalo red zone) was so chicken skin with Jim Leahy at his very best broadcasting such an exciting game as it brought back GREAT memories of those retro uniforms and how over 40,000 fans can electrify Aloha Stadium. That era was so exciting as I finished in 81 and watched after I left UH and saw what Tomey continue to do WIN big games with exciting players and Al Noga was just a “STUD” as I hope his presence just put a jolt in the boys to inspire them to their first win !

    As far as this trying football season goes all we can do is continue to support and find some hope for the future that the Rainbow Warriors will be back in which wins versus loses will be vastly improved and some how an “emerging star” will come through during Chow coaching era.

    I have seen some games but not all but from reading the various posters in which many have good points to this troubling season that UH really need to look at ALL aspects of their athletic department and really see if they are using all resources that are available to them. Until this process is done with “broom and mop” then and only then results will be coming into a positive direction as oppose to where we are right now just bottom dwellers with only loyal fan base here on this blog or live at the stadium.

    Alumni here on the mainland are watching and aware of what is going on as I have met and talked with many. A lot of resources available here because of the passion and respect to the University. Hopefully one day Athletic Department can wake up and smell the kava if not then UH will continue to stay in it’s dwelling of mediocrity or less as alumni can really help not so much with money but contacts and resources as MANY here are doing excellent inside of their inner circles that will pay off huge dividends both athletically and academically to UH.

    All is needed is to greet the hand that comes out to you or return the phone call an aspect UH lacks considerably!

  60. Buffoman October 25, 2013 5:02 am

    looks like the Wahine VB team is having a “normal” season; win some, lose some. They will not be hosting if they get selected to the BIG Dance for women’s volleyball, so they now have a new target: win the conference as they now find themselves in the unusual position of being third.

    Interesting season, full of challenges.

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