UH-Hilo Announces 2015 Vulcan Hall of Fame Class
The University of Hawai’i at Hilo Vulcan Athletics Hall of Fame will induct its largest class into its distinguished group since 2004.
Four individuals – Dr. Edward Gutteling, Dennis O’Brien, Flavio Nucci, and Edna Togiai – will enter the Vulcan Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 26 at Nani Mau Gardens in Hilo.
“It’s an exciting time. Every August, the committee puts together some names and nominations and we look at it,” said Joey Estrella, interim Director of Athletics at UH-Hilo. “This year, I believe it’s a very good class, especially one that has been very involved with the community here on the Big Island, so we’re excited about it.”
Dr. Gutteling hasn’t played for UH-Hilo, but he’s made sure that many Vulcan athletes are healthy enough to get back on the court after suffering an injury. The well known Hilo doctor is joining the Hall of Fame after volunteering countless hours of time to working with the school’s athletes.
“If we had to pay for his services, our department would be bankrupt,” Estrella joked. “His orthopedic background is tremendous, but everyone who goes to see him just loves his demeanor.”
When it comes to tennis, Nucci left it all on the court en route to the school’s NCAA regional title in 1998. Since then, he has devoted countless hours to making sure those opportunities continue for current and future Vulcan tennis players.
“When there was talk about having to interrupt the tennis program…because of costs, he was one of the main people to gather the Hui [Kakoo Kenika],” Estrella explained. Nucci remains the president of the Hui. He also contributes his time to the junior tennis program in East Hawai’i.
Nucci is the third former Vulcan tennis player to be inducted in the last four years. Arthur Santos was inducted last year and Randy Kunimoto went in with the 2012 class.
For the first time since 2012, a former basketball standout will enter the Vulcans Athletic Hall of Fame. Current E.B. DeSilva Elementary School principal Dennis O’Brien will be inducted. He played for the Vulcans in the early 1970’s.
Rounding out this year’s class is Togiai, an outstanding volleyball player who still holds school records in three different categories. She was named an NAIA and Russell Athletic first-team All-American during the 1989 season. She currently holds single-season bests in kills (517), attempts, (1,333), and digs (557).
The last former Vulcan volleyball athlete to be inducted was Sweetie Osorio in 2013.
Space is available for the induction ceremony, which begins at 5:30 p.m. with no-host cocktails, followed by dinner and the induction program. Individual tickets are $50, and group tables of six or eight can also be reserved. For more information, call 932-7170.