Condolences shared upon passing of legendary Hawaiʻi sportscaster Jim Leahey
January 30, 2023, 4:25 PM HST
* Updated January 31, 4:48 AM
Legendary Hawaiʻi sportscaster, Jim Leahey, passed away on Monday at the age of 80.
His career spanned decades, including more than 40 years as “The Voice” of University of Hawaiʻi Athletics. According to UH, he will be remembered for broadcasting “thousands of UH contests in football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, softball, soccer, swimming and water polo on both radio and television.”
Family members issued the following statement upon his passing:
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“Today we lost the patriarch of our family. A man known by his supreme talents for storytelling, an unrelenting passion for Hawaiʻi and the teams and athletes that represent it, and a lifelong love for the craft of sports broadcasting. Jim Leahey was also a loyal and loving husband, father and grandfather, who placed his family and his faith above all. He took tremendous pride in supplying the narration for some of the University of Hawaiʻi’s greatest athletic achievements, and cherished seeing the community come together, united, to root for the home team. We thank everyone for their well wishes and support at this mournful time. As our dad would always say to close his broadcasts, “mālama pono kekahi i kekahi.”
UH Athletics issued a statement saying the department was deeply saddened by the passing of an icon.
“Jim was there for our biggest moments. His iconic and colorful calls have been stamped into our collective memories. Jim was eloquent, knowledgeable and more than anything was a fierce supporter of this state and its great culture and sports teams. A giant in the industry, Jim took the broadcasting torch from his father Chuck and has since passed it on to his son Kanoa. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the entire Leahey ‘ohana during this difficult time.”
Governor Josh Green, M.D. also shared his condolences:
“Our hearts are heavy over the passing of legendary sportscaster Jim Leahey, part of a Hawai‘i sportscasting dynasty who followed in his father Chuck’s footsteps and whose son Kanoa has carried on the family tradition. Jim called some of the biggest, most triumphant games in Hawai‘i’s athletic history. We send our deepest condolences to the Leahey ʻohana, his longtime fellow broadcasters and his legions of fans.”
Jim Leahey was inducted into the UH Sports Circle of Honor in 2016, an honor also bestowed upon his father, Chuck in 1985. He was also a 19-time recipient of Hawai’i Sportscaster of the Year, according to a UH news release.
UH Athletics reports that Jim Leahey made his broadcast debut at the age of 15, and began his work with UH in 1964 as a P.A. announcer. He worked for KGMB, and later KFVE and OCSports until his retirement in 2018, according to a UH news release.
Jim Leahey’s career also included work as Sports Programming Director for KITV, and Sports Director at KGMB. He spent nine years co-hosting the father-and-son Leahey & Leahey show with his son Kanoa on PBS Hawaiʻi.
PBS issued the following statement upon request from Maui Now:
“PBS Hawaiʻi mourns the passing of Jim Leahey, the long-time treasured voice of University of Hawaiʻi sports. He was one of a kind. Jim brought his unique blend of wit and wisdom to PBS Hawai’i through Leahey and Leahey, a weekly half hour show during which he and his son Kanoa “talked story” at the Leahey kitchen table. They also invited special guests—often local sports luminaries—to join in on the conversation. On the surface, the show appeared to be about sports, but it was really about “all other living things” (as the show slogan indicated). It was about what it meant to be local, the relationship between fathers and sons, the importance of talking things out over the kitchen table and, mostly, the lost art of conversation. Jim, no doubt, was one of the great practitioners of that art form. We are saddened that he is gone but blessed that he shared his passion with all of us.”
Jim Leahey is survived by his wife, three children and one grandchild. Services are pending.