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Thank you, Colt Brennan

On Tuesday morning, reading the news that Colt Brennan had passed away, the immediate reaction was “Oh no, please don’t be true.” Sadly it was.

The people of Hawaii have amazing memories of Colt and the University of Hawaii football team that we will cherish for a lifetime. The 2007 season will probably never even come close to being duplicated.

It started in January 2007. For weeks we waited for Colt to announce if he would return for his senior season. During countless office debates we just knew he would turn pro. Colt had just led the Warriors to a Hawaii Bowl win over Arizona State. Who could say no to the money he would receive from an NFL team? He had to take care of himself, we thought, and we understood.

Finally a news conference was scheduled, I watched it live even though deep down I knew he was going pro. But then something magical happened, Colt announced, while fighting back tears, that he was going to return for his senior season. Everyone watching that day let out a cheer while holding back a happy tear or two themselves.

That was the start of a magical year, from miracle comebacks, to beating Boise State (I hate Boise State), to winning the Western Athletic Conference championship, to beating Washington in the final game of the regular season to go undefeated at 12-0, being ranked in the top 20, and earning a berth in the Sugar Bowl. It was a ride we will never forget.

For sure Colt was not perfect, far from it. He had issues off the field and he owned up to them. He had a short career in the NFL, and in 2010 he was involved in an automobile accident on Hawaii island. He said he woke up in the hospital and was never the same. He battled many demons in his life, including substance abuse.

Countless Hawaii keiki grew up wanting to be Colt Brennan. This includes my nephew, now a senior in college, who texted me Tuesday “this guy was my childhood.” He never turned down an autograph or photo for a fan. Yes, Colt meant a lot to so many people, and he will be missed.

Sadly we have to say goodbye too soon. Colt was just 37 years old. His memory will last forever. Thank you Colt Brennan for being a true Warrior and for embracing and loving Hawaii and allowing us to do the same for you. May you rest in love. Our condolences to the Brennan family and to the Warrior football nation. Mahalo and aloha, Colt.

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