Former Oregon State football standouts Rockne Freitas and Herm “Buddy” Clark are finalists on the ballot for induction into the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2016. The list includes 20 players and five coaches/contributors.
A center from Honolulu who graduated from Kamehemeha High School, Freitas (pictured, left) starred for the Beavers from 1964-66 under coaches Tommy Prothro and Dee Andros. He played in the Hula and Coaches All-America bowls, was selected by Pittsburgh in the third round of the 1968 National Football League draft, and then played 10 years in the NFL for Detroit (1968-77) and Tampa Bay (1978).
A three-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro at tackle, Freitas was elected to the OSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 and to the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. He also was a trustee for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
An offensive lineman from Honolulu who graduated from Punahou High School, Clark (pictured, right) lettered at OSU from 1949-51 under coach Kip Taylor. He was an All-Coast selection in 1951, played in the East-West Shrine Game, and then was drafted in the fifth round by the Chicago Bears in 1952.
He was an All-Pro guard in 1955 and 1956 and was named to the NFL's Half-Century team. He was elected to the OSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 and to the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.
Rockne, Clark and the other finalists were chosen from a field of more than 200 nominees by a selection committee that includes former coaches Dick Tomey, LaVell Edwards, Ron McBride, and Dick Vermeil; past NFLPA president and inaugural inductee Kevin Mawae; ESPN Sportscaster Neil Everett; NFL player personnel legend Gil Brandt, and Honolulu sportscaster Robert Kekaula.
The committee will meet again in the coming weeks to select the five players and one coach/contributor who will comprise the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2016.
“Over the past several weeks the selection committee has been deliberating over the 2016 Finalists,” said Tomey, the committee chairman and the former head coach at Hawaii, Arizona and San Jose State. “This is quite a challenge because there are so many great Polynesian players, coaches and contributors that have made an incredible impact on the game of football.”
This year's inductees will be announced on October 7. They will be honored during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend, set for Jan. 29-30 in Oahu, Hawai'i.
Now the Chancellor at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu, Freitas has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the education field following his NFL career. Before taking his current job in May, 2013, he was the vice-president for student affairs and university/community relations for the entire University of Hawaii System.
He was also chancellor of Hawaii Community College for six years, serving as the chief executive of the main campus in Hilo and its University of Hawaii Center in West Hawaii.
He also has served as vice-president and executive director of the Ke Ali'i Pauahi Foundation; held leadership positions at Kamehameha Schools and GRG Enterprises, and was an associate athletic director at Hawaii.
Clark played in the NFL in 1952 and from 1954-57. He then returned to Hawaii and coached at Molokai High School, Hilo High School, and at the Iolani and Punahou schools.
As chairman of the Aloha Stadium Authority in 1980, Clark was instrumental in bringing the NFL Pro Bowl to Honolulu. He started the Hawaii chapter of the NFL Alumni Association.
He was also very active in civic affairs and was a director of the Cancer Research Foundation, the Honolulu Community Action Program and the Pacific Rim Foundation. He served as a trustee of the Hawaii Maritime Center and as the treasurer of the Land Use Research Foundation.
He was a lobbyist and manager of government affairs for the Estate of James Campbell at the time of his death on Oct. 9, 1989. He previously had worked for the Dillingham Corp. for 26 years.
For more information on the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame and for a complete list of nominees, see http://www.polynesianfootballhof.org/releases/2016-finalists