Legendary Hawaii sportscaster Jim Leahey has died. He was 80.
The voice of University of Hawaii Athletics over a span of decades across multiple generations, he announced thousands of games for the program, including football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, softball, soccer, swimming and water polo contests on both radio and television.
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Leahey’s voice and creative description of the action became the soundtrack for UH sports in 1964 as a public address announcer for the inaugural Rainbow Classic. From there, the wordsmith would join his father, Chuck, in the radio booth as a color analyst for KGU before taking over play-by-play duties in 1973.
In 1984, Leahey became the television voice for the ‘Bows, calling Rainbow Warrior and Rainbow Wahine games for KGMB, KFVE, and OCSports before retiring in 2018.
The record 17-time NSMA Hawaii Sportscaster of the Year was succeeded by his son, former KHON2 sports director Kanoa Leahey, as the TV voice for UH Athletics for Spectrum Sports. Beyond his play-by-play work, Jim Leahey also co-hosted the Leahey & Leahey radio and television shows with Kanoa, primarily on AM-1500 and PBS Hawaii, respectively.
Jim Leahey is survived by three children and one grandchild. Service announcements are pending.
A statement from the Leahey family provided on Monday morning is below:
“Today we lost the patriarch of our family. A man known by his supreme talents for storytelling, an unrelenting passion for Hawaii 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 Hawaii’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, “malama pono kekahi i kekahi.”