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PHOTO: Legi Suiaunoa
By TOM SHANAHAN
Charles “Kale” Ane III is a Duffy Daugherty Hawaiian Pipeline alum who returned home after his Michigan State career and seven NFL seasons. He coached 23 years at Honolulu’s Punahou School, his alma mater, winning state titles and turning out college recruits.
One of his stars was Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, the 2012 Heisman Trophy runner-up and Maxwell Award winner. Scholarship athletes such as Te’o and many more made Punahou a mandatory stop for colleges coaches visiting Hawaii.
But Notre Dame wasn’t the only Midwest school landing Hawaii talent. Big Ten coaches stopped by Punahou and other Hawaii schools, while Michigan State was, ironically, MIA. The Spartans were a no-show for decades despite the beach foothold Daugherty established.
Ane hopes the drought ends and the historic identity Michigan State shared with Hawaii is relived through Legi Suiaunoa, Michigan State’s new defensive line coach. Ane got to know Suiaunoa while he recruited Punahou as Oregon State’s D-line coach since 2018. Suiaunoa is among the assistants that new head coach Jonathan Smith brought with him from Corvallis to East Lansing.
“We’re really happy for him, and we’re all excited,” said Ane, referencing Michigan State’s 11 Hawaiian Pipeline alums. “He’s very good with fundamentals and relates well to Polynesian kids.”
Daugherty recruited 10 Hawaii players from 1955 through his final season in 1972. Hawaii was a sleepy talent base then, but he had help finding gems from his friend, Hawaii football legend Tommy Kaululukui Sr.
Duffy landed talent that included Bob Apisa, college football’s first Samoan All-American player on the 1965 and 1966 teams. Ane was a senior center for the 1974 Spartans who shocked No. 1 Ohio State in one of college football’s monumental upsets. This fall season is the 50th anniversary.
But in a perplexing irony – especially considering the eyes and ears have been long in place on the islands — Daugherty’s successors turned their backs on Hawaii and the Spartans’ island presence. In the 1966 Game of the Century matching Notre Dame at Michigan State, three Pipeliners, Apisa, Dick Kenney (Iolani) and Charley Wedemeyer (Punahou), represented the islands. The Game of the Century was the first live broadcast of a football game to Hawaii with the advent of space technology and satellites.
Muddy Waters (1980-82) recruited Carter Kamana out of Honolulu Kamehameha as an 11th Hawaiian Pipeliner, but Michigan State fired him after only three seasons. The Pipeline has been dried up since then, even as Hawaii’s talent base grew. In addition to Te’o, there have been two other recent Heisman finalists. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariotta of St. Louis School was the 2014 winner and Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa of St. Louis was a 2018 Heisman finalist and Maxwell winner.
With the number of Polynesians players coming out Hawaii and mainland high schools, colleges coast to coast value a Polynesian coach on staff.
“I think everybody is so happy and proud of the opportunities Polynesian coaches are getting,” said Ane, a Hawaiian. “It seems like about 90 percent of the schools have Polynesian coaches. They’ve earned the opportunities.”
PHOTO: Charlie “Kale” Ane of Honolulu’s Punahou School played center on Michigan State’s 1974 team that upset No. 1-ranked Ohio State and seven years in the NFL.
Suiaunoa, a Samoan from Oceanside, California, has been recruiting Hawaii for Oregon State as well as previous stops at Hawaii (2016-17), Montana (2011-15), Portland State (2010), Eastern Oregon (2009) and Western Washington (2005-08). He played at Nevada, earning the team’s 2001 “Coaches Award.”
Suiaunoa’s cousin is veteran coach Joe Salavea, Miami’s assistant head coach with the additional titles of run game coordinator/defensive line coach, so I relied on my old Oceanside and San Diego contacts. Salavea, who also is from Oceanside, highlighted Suianoa’s communication with players:
“Legi is a very good teacher,” he wrote to me in an email break from the wild, wild West of the early-signing period and the transfer portal.
Suianoa played at El Camino High in Oceanside under the school’s legendary late coach, Herb Meyer, California’s all-time winningest coach. One of Meyer’s assistants was Tony Paopao, a Samoan who played for Meyer at Oceanside High before he went on to UCLA and Cal Lutheran. Paopao, while at UCLA, was featured in Sports Illustrated 1976 article along with Manu Tuiasosopo that forecast football’s coming wave of Samoan athletes.
“Legi was a very good player for us – a tight end and defensive lineman,” Paopao said. “He always worked hard and played hard. He was one of those kids if you taught him something, he did it. He didn’t ask why like a lot of kids do. Herb always taught techniques can beat a player with more talent. Legi was that kind of player.”
Paoapao added his son Jordan, who is an assistant coach at Arizona, crosses paths with Suiaunoa frequently on the recruiting trail.
“Jordan says he’s a hard worker,” Paopao said, “and that doesn’t surprise me at all.”
Two Oregon State early commits from Hawaii who now have Michigan State offers are Punahou defensive end Kekai Burnett and St. Louis School offensive lineman Rustin Young. Punahou alumnus Alex Skelton, who played for Ane, recently finished his career as an Oregon State defensive lineman.
“The kids like playing for Suiaunoa,” Ane said. “He has recruited Hawaii for different schools and has done a good job. He’s a stickler for details and demanding with the kids, but he communicates well with them.”
Ane was in Daugherty’s last class of Hawaii recruits, arriving in 1971 (before freshmen were eligible for the varsity) with running back Arnold Morgado of Punahou and safety Doug Won of St. Louis.
But Morgado and Won left the program following Daugherty’s retirement at the end of the 1972 season. Won’s injuries ended his career, but Morgado said he left when Stolz informed him he was switching him to linebacker. Stolz added he didn’t plan to recruit Hawaii in the future, which meant he didn’t have to be concerned with alienating Hawaii’s high school coaches by switching Morgado’s position.
Morgado transferred home to play for Hawaii, launching a four-year NFL career as a running back with the Kansas City Chiefs (1977-80). Morgado’s account is in Chapter 14 of “Raye of Light, Jimmy Raye, Duffy Daugherty, the Integration of College Football and the 1965-66 Michigan State Spartans.”
Ane’s state of Michigan roots include his father, Charley Ane II, who played for the Detroit Lions, 1953-59. His father also was a long-time high school coach in Hawaii. Father and son coached together at Punahou for four seasons.
“I would love to see Suiaunoa bring some Hawaiians back to play for the Spartans,” Ane said. “It was a tremendous experience for me. It changed our (the Pipeliners) lives. The friendships we made have been forever.”
Ane retired from coaching at the end of last season, his second at McKinley High School. Well, he thought he was retired. He planned to enjoy watching his grandsons, Charley Ane V and Ane Ane, while they played Pop Warner football.
“I was watching them when the coach asked me to come out and help,” Ane said. “I said, ‘No, I just want to watch my grandsons play.’ But he got me to come out. I’ll do it at least a year.”
But he says he can make a longer scouting commitment to Suiaunoa and Michigan State.
Tom Shanahan is an award-winning writer and author focused on college football integration and Michigan State’s leading role. His 2022 story on the 1962 Rose Bowl, Alabama and segregation won first place from Football Writers Association of America.
THE RIGHT THING TO DO
The True Pioneers of College Football Integration in the 1960s
I recount many ignored milestones from the true pioneers of college football integration — all of them establishing history before the 1970 USC-Alabama game that has benefitted from revisionist history — in my book that is now available for pre-order. Click here or see below:
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My books tell the true story of college football integration in the 1960s and address the myths and fiction that allowed a false narrative surrounding the 1970 USC-Alabama game to usurp the credit from the true pioneers. As I said when I spoke at the National Sports Media Association book festival, no two books provide an accurate portrayal more than RAYE OF LIGHT and THE RIGHT THING TO DO.
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Click here for my story on the 1962 Rose Bowl and Segregation awarded first place by the Football Writers Association of America. I tell untold stories on Michigan State’s leading role and the true pioneers of college football integration. Click here to read the summary as a first-place story.
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THE RIGHT THING TO DO
The True Pioneers of College Football Integration in the 1960s
Foreword by Ruffin McNeill
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RAYE OF LIGHT
Jimmy Raye, Duffy Daugherty, the 1ntegration of College Football and the 1965-66 Michigan State Spartans
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