Former Farrington lineman Vince Manuwai died today at age 38, leaving behind six children.
Manuwai went on to become one of the best offensive linemen in UH history and made it all the way to the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but his legend was forged as one of the kings of the Bamboolas, as Farrington’s offensive line is known.
Manuwai was a first-team All-State selection for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin after his senior season, earning honorable mention for the Honolulu Advertiser behind legends like Toniu Fonoti and Siuaki Livai Jr. of Kahuku, Sean Souza and Lyle Castro of Saint Louis and McKinley’s Francisco Tipoti.
He was named to the first team in the OIA in his junior and senior seasons, beginning a tradition at the school that later produced Shawn Lauvao, Joseph Siliga and Charles Sataraka.
He originally committed to Utah after his prep career, but switched to UH when June Jones began building his team around local players. He was signed along with Keala Loo, Pati Mailo and Kanoa Noguchi but was the only local product from the class to letter all four years for the Warriors. He was Jones’ first target when he got the job.
Manuwai also excelled at basketball, track and field and paddling in his prep days, earning a medal with a fifth-place performance in the shot put in his junior season before slipping as a senior.
His beloved Governors didn’t have a winning season until his senior year, when he helped protect quarterback Nicholas Tiqui and clear the way for a host of running backs in a 6-4-1 season that ended with a crushing 14-7 loss to Waianae in the OIA playoffs at Aloha Stadium.