‘The Voice’ of University of Hawai’i Athletics Jim Leahey has died
Jim Leahey, “The Voice” of University of Hawai’i Athletics for over 40 years, passed away Monday at the age of 80.
Leahey is survived by his wife Toni, three children and one grandchild. Services are pending.
Leahey, who was inducted into the UH Sports Circle of Honor in 2016, 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.
“We’re deeply saddened by the passing of Jim Leahey, who was the voice of University of Hawai’i sports for more than four decades,” the UH Athletics department stated. “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.”
The 1970 UH graduate became “The TV Voice” of Rainbow Warrior and Rainbow Wahine teams in 1984, working for KGMB, and later KFVE and OCSports until his retirement in 2018, according to a press release from the university. He concluded his broadcasting career where it started, calling Rainbow baseball games for KKEA.
Leahey made his broadcast debut at the age of 15 after his father, Chuck, came down with a lung infection prior to the broadcast of the all-service boxing card from Conroy Bowl at Schofield Barracks. He began his decades-long involvement with UH as the P.A. announcer for the inaugural Rainbow Classic in 1964.
He often joined Chuck in the radio booth as a color analyst for KGU then took over play-by-play duties in 1973, his first football game being Hawai’i’s win over Fresno State.
In 1979, he joined his father at KITV where he became the Director of Sports Programming. He later moved to KGMB, where he replaced Joe Moore as sports director for 15 years. From there, he went to KFVE and then to OCSports. He was a 19-time recipient of Hawai’i Sportscaster of the Year.
“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,” stated Governor Josh Green, M.D. “We send our deepest condolences to the Leahey ʻohana, his longtime fellow broadcasters and his legions of fans.”