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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Homegrown Report
Igber's future built to last

By Jill R. Dorson
Special to the Advertiser

Cal tailback Joe Igber, an Iolani School grad and aspiring engineer, says football is just part of his life.

Patrick J. Merrill • Cal Media Relations

Joe Igber

• Position:

• High school:

• College:

• Major:
Civil engineering

• Wants to:
Build bridges and skyscrapers

• Spare time:
Dominoes, 007 video games

• What he misses about home:
Beaches of Waikiki and Ala Moana, chicken katsu, tako poke

BERKELEY, Calif. — Joe Igber is as fascinated by the beams that run across the ceiling of a meeting room as he is with what happens on the football field.

In both cases, he wonders about angles and pressure and support, and how a beam that helps support a building will have far more effect on his future than breaking a run.

"Relatively, it's a big part of my life right now, but in the grand scheme of things, football . . . it's only going to be around for . . . if I'm lucky 30 percent of my life," said Igber, a University of California tailback and civil engineering major.

"I'm not really looking to the NFL too much. I'm just trying to have fun these last two years. It's about competing or just going out there and being able to give it your all."

Igber has done both of those things in his three years at Cal. The 1999 Iolani School graduate started as a freshman and has grown into one of the Pac-10's premier running backs.

Last season, his 901 rushing yards were fifth in the conference. This season, he remains Cal's go-to guy and has 225 yards on 58 carries in four games for the struggling Golden Bears (0-4). Igber sprained his right ankle Sept. 8 against Brigham Young and missed most of the game, but has scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving).

After Saturday's game against Washington, quarterback Kyle Boller tried to describe Igber.

Igber overheard and interrupted, "short, lazy, the kind of player who drops a pass." Boller waved his teammate off.

"He's the kind of guy that if you're having a bad day and you come to practice, he can put a smile on your face, not by saying something to you, but by doing something," Boller said. "I just think he has a love for the game of football and . . . what he does, guys can see that and they can see that it's fun."

Those were the reasons Cal coach Tom Holmoe recruited Igber, who was the 1998 Hawai'i offensive player of the year.

Igber was Iolani's career leading rusher, but he is 5 feet 8 when he stands up straight. There was interest from Wisconsin and Stanford, but Holmoe impressed Igber by being a regular guy.

"When we recruited him in high school, he was small for high school," Holmoe admitted. "But there was something about him that we identified. . . . He's got unbelievable personal skills. All of his talent is off the field, what he does on the field is just gravy."

In the shadow of an emotional 31-28 loss to the Huskies, Holmoe had no trouble gushing about Igber.

He's special. He's charismatic. He's golden. Holmoe couldn't stop.

"A lot of people shied away from him because of his size," he said. "But without being too cliche-ish, nobody can measure the size of that kid's heart. People didn't really see that."

For Igber, being at Cal has worked out just fine. He's realistic — 5-foot-8 running backs don't get too far in the NFL except if you're Barry Sanders — and he loves the education he's getting.

He dreams of building bridges and skyscrapers.

The tragedy and collapse of the World Trade Center touched Igber, but it also offered a lesson in civil engineering that he would never get in school. He can explain the reasons why the Twin Towers collapsed with clinical precision. Around the Bay Area, there are plenty of examples of engineering to study. He admires the grandeur of the Golden Gate Bridge and the staying power of California's 78-year-old Memorial Stadium.

"The whole engineering thing, it's great, it's just amazing," he said.

Whether it is engineering or football, Igber has the ability to lift the emotions of a room.

Igber says his view on life is a product of an upbringing for which he is thankful. And he has molded the lessons of his childhood into a few simple dictums by which he lives.

"I see life as a gift," he said. "I can't understand how people can see it any different. I guess I can kind of see if you go to a job you don't like or school gets kind of tedious or you're on a losing football team, but you can't let things like that bother you.

"You can't just brush it off, but it's in the past; it happened; there's nothing any of us can do. I just look at it as, hey, I'd like to say I gave it my best shot. Maybe I didn't. It's over . . . all I can do now is carry on."


• Cal State Sacramento

Brad Candido (Damien), a junior defensive back who played one season at Hawai'i, has been sidelined with a broken arm.


• Lewis & Clark (Ore.)

Mari Kotake (Punahou), a freshman playing in her first collegiate event, came from four strokes behind in the final nine holes to win the Linfield (Ore.) Women's Invitational at 83-88—171.


• Gonzaga (Wash.)

Junior goalkeeper Mike McCarthy's (Kalaheo '99) third shutout of the season helped Gonzaga (4-3) defeat Valparaiso, 2-0, Sunday to win the Oregon State Beaver Classic in Corvallis, Ore. McCarthy also had the first assist of his career, throwing a pass down the right sideline that led to a 1-on-1 goal by teammate Abbas Fardinia. "He has risen to the challenge once again," coach Einar Thorarinsson said.

Thorarinsson says Zach Scott (Maui '98), a senior from Haiku who is starting at defender for the third year, "is my best player.  He's got composure and physical strength and he's a man on a mission to do well his last year."

Sophomore Kerry Miike (Mililani '00), a transfer from Southern Colorado where he started 15 games last season, has three starts for Gonzaga. Freshmen Charles Rania (Punahou '01) of Mililani and Kyle Strickland (Kapa'a '01) are getting playing time in every game.

McCarthy's coach is Josh Fouts, another Kalaheo alumnus ('95), who was a record-setting and three-time All-West Coast Conference goalkeeper for Gonzaga (1996-98).

• Saint Andrew's

Presbyterian, N.C.

Four Hawai'i players are starters for the Saint Andrew's Presbyterian (N.C.) Knights.

Freshman attacker Jarrett Razon (Mililani '01) is the team's leading scorer with five of the team's 14 goals in 12 games. He also has three assists. He scored his first collegiate hat trick with three goals and assisted the other in a 4-0 victory at Coker (S.C.). Charlie Chiswick (Castle '01) also is an attacker, Timothy Liu (Mililani '01) is the sweeper and David Miyamoto (Mililani '00), an offensive midfielder, is co-captain as a sophomore. Razon was an all-state attacker and Liu an all-state defender on Mililani's first state title team last season.

• Orange Coast (junior college)

Chris Newcomer ('Aiea '00) was an All-Orange Empire Conference defensive midfielder last season when he helped Orange Coast reach the state championship game and earn a No. 4 national ranking. This year he has been moved to sweeper. "He's very quick, smart, reads the game well and he's bigger and stronger than last year," said coach Laird Hayes. "He's got excellent balance and leverage, and when he gets a ball at his feet, no one will take it away from him; he's definitely a Division I prospect."


•Saint Andrew's

Presbyterian, N.C.

Nani Ah Sam (Mililani '99), who started the pipeline of Hawai'i athletes to St. Andrew's (at least eight are there now), is the Lady Knights' "do-everything" player, coach Steve Hernandez said. Ah Sam has started every game in the three years since the program was revived. She recently was moved to sweeper, but is a striker on set plays and is the designated corner-kicker. "She has pin-point accuracy," Hernandez says.

Sophomore Tina Gonsalves (Sacred Hearts '00) is "our central stopper, strong in the air. She's our muscle in the middle," Hernandez said.

• Cal State Sacramento

Dana Dydasco (Mililani '98), a senior forward, has started every match and Jen Iha (Mililani '01), a freshman defender, is playing extensively for the Hornets, who defeated Hawai'i, 4-1, Sunday.

Karalee Naramitsu (Mililani '00), a sophomore, is coming back from a knee injury that sidelined her all last season. Iha was an all-state player last season. Dydasco's aunt, Millie Dydasco (Castle '82), is a member of the national over-30 team.


• Juniata, Pa.

Jeanal Souza (University '01) of Kane'ohe is a reserve middle hitter and opposite.

• Saint Andrew's

Presbyterian, N.C.

Sisters Kim and Stacy Makahilahila of Kailua are best known as softball players, but also have found their athletic ability for an indoor sport. Kim (Kamehameha '00) was named Defensive Most Valuable Player Sept. 22 at the Montreat, N.C., Tournament, when she had 31 digs in the semifinal and final matches. Stacy (Kamehameha '98), who transferred last year from Hawai'i, also is a back-court player. She led St. Andrew's softball in batting last spring.

St. Andrew's may start four players from Hawai'i in softball in the spring, with the Makahilahila sisters and freshman Mari Finn (Lahainaluna '01) in the infield and sophomore Tina Gonsalves (Sacred Hearts '00) pitching.

• Redlands (Calif.)

Freshman setter Courtney Cho (Kamehameha '01) of 'Aiea and freshman middle blocker Bethany DeGuzman (Hilo '01) start for a team that is off to a 6-1 start. Cho, recruited as a softball player, has a 90.9 service percentage and is second on the team in digs (2.5 per game), assists and service aces. DeGuzman leads Redlands in hitting percentage at .424 and blocks (23, including 18 assists).



Maureen "Mo" Flanagan (Punahou '99) has been selected to play on the USA Women's Junior National team for the next two years. The 13-member team of 16- to 20-year-olds will play in the Junior World Championships in Perth, Australia, Dec. 6-16. Flanagan has played on two NCAA championship teams at UCLA.