Mosi Tatupu, RIP

February 23rd, 2010

No matter how short the list is, Punahou running back Mosi Tatupu is on it if you’re talking about great Hawaii athletes.

Mosi died in his sleep at home on the mainland today. He was only 54, but had suffered from a variety of ailments in recent years.

Two Hawaii high school athletes always got that “man among boys” label … Mosi and Sam Johnson, who played basketball at Moanalua.

I got to know Mosi a little, at the Pro Bowl in 1986 and ran into him every now and then when he came back to Hawaii to visit. And then, 2006, when his son Lofa was in the Pro Bowl.

He was popular with coaches, fans and players.

Here’s what one of his Patriots teammates, Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, had to say about him:

“You probably couldn’t ask for a better teammate than Mosi. It was the way he approached the game. He worked hard. He practiced hard. He had a way about him. He always had an upbeat attitude, he was happy all the time and just pleasant to be around. He had a special connection with the fans and his teammates. Everybody loved him.”

Here’s a story about the Mosi Tatupu Award. (in case that link doesn’t work)

-By Dave Reardon

6 Responses to “Mosi Tatupu, RIP”

  1. Mike Pavich:

    Hi Dave So sad to hear about Mosi’s death! Wow 54! that’s too young! I never saw him in High school but I remember Pal Eldrege telling some amazing stories about Mosi and Charley Wedemeyer. Mosi made 11 all-ILH teams 3 in FB, and 4 each in basketball and base ball. Charley only made 9 because frosh could not play Varsity during his time.
    I did see him play at SC he was a super blocker! I remember watching him knock Notre Dame DE’s upside down. I remember John Robinson saying if I’m going to start a football team–Mosi would be his 1st pick! He is considered a Trojan Legend!!
    Take care Dave aloha mike

  2. Jim Concannon:

    As a long time Patriots fan, Massachusetts resident, and former Honolulu resident – it’s a said day to hear that Mosi passed away. In the 1980′s I had Patriots season tickets and sat in end zone section 3 at the old Sullivan Stadium with hundreds of fans that proudly called ourselves “Mosi’s Mooses.” Mosi was a huge fan favorite in New England and even had his own cheer that was led by his fan section and a guy they let on the field with Mosi’s game shirt and a moose hat of all things. Never knew where the “moose” part came from – except that he was also called the “snowin samoan” after the famous snowblower game against Miami where Mosi ran for almost 100 yards in a blizzard and nobody else could do much of anything.

    When i vacationed, then moved to Honolulu in the late 80′s, I was surprised to find out what a legend he was in the islands. Every time I met a sports fan who found out where I was from, I was always asked about Mosi and the Patriots. When I told people how popular he was, what a great attitude he had and how he had his own pseudo fan club, nobody was ever surprised.

    Mosi will be missed here in New England and in Hawaii as well.

  3. MauiSlugbug:

    I remember Mosi Tatupu when he played football at Punahou. He was definitely a man among boys. Once he got past the defensive line and linebackers, the task of tackling this powerful ballcarrier would be left in the hands of a 150 lb. safety or cornerback. It was like watching a VW Beetle trying to stop a runaway locomotive. Ouch!

  4. kaumuali'i:

    Yeah, this news blew me away…I’m a KS grad ’62 and went to a KS – Punahou
    game in ’72. My old principal asked me to come and bring KS some good luck.
    Well, this is when I heard the expression ‘a man amongst boy’. Never saw an
    athlete like Mosiala…..He ran thru us as if there was no one in front of him..
    Never mind the score — we lost big time, but I got to see one of Hawai’i’s best.
    When I saw him playing here on Maui, he was with the pony league. Broad
    shouldered, bushy hair and a smile that wouldn’t quit….to the family I say “always
    remembed”. He will always be remembered with aloha….Ne’e I’mua…kaumuali’i

  5. Manoa Mist:

    IMHO, Mosi Tatupu was the finest football player to ever come out of Hawaii. Certainly the finest player I ever saw play high school football here. Man among boys was right. They used to question his age he was so dominant.
    One of my best friends played with Mosi in the old ILH vs. OIA all-star game at Honolulu Stadium. My friend was a receiver, and took a big stick from a Waipahu linebacker. As my friend was rolling around on the ground, Mosi grabs him by his shirt and literally drags him back to the huddle. Don’t show ‘em he hurt you.
    My other friend played DB for Pac Five. Not sure if they were still the Hummers back then. When Tatupu would break through the line, my friend would just dive for his feet because there was no one who could stop him straight up. He was the Earl Campbell of Hawaii.
    He was the best.

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