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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, December 25, 2004

Local boy makes good as Chang ends stellar career

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

With less than two minutes left in last night's Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl, Levi Chang removed his headset. There would be no more television timeouts as seconds ticked away.

With his father, Levi, smiling on, Tim Chang watches the final seconds tick away, ending a record-breaking career for the UH quarterback.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

And for the first time since his son became the University of Hawai'i's quarterback, the man in the red cap called his son over.

"It was the first time me and dad talked (with time left on the game clock)," said Tim Chang, the most prolific quarterback in NCAA history. "The first time in five years. It was special having my dad out there all five years. He shows little emotion, good or bad, but I know inside, he really feels proud."

So ends Tim Chang's record and story book career. It had an inauspicious start, a 39-7 loss at Texas El Paso on Sept. 23, 2000. It ended with Chang inking more entries into the UH record book. He completed 31 of 46 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns in a 59-40 win over the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It was the third consecutive game he passed for more than 400 yards with four TDs.

Despite being recruited by a number of Mainland schools, Chang elected to stay home, enter a run-and-shoot system he had been familiar with at Saint Louis School. His career had ups, such as this season, and downs, such as an injury that shortened his sophomore season to three games and forced him to redshirt. He heard the cheers and endured the boos, persevering through it all.

"It's a dream come true," Levi Chang said of his son's career. "When he started out five years ago, he was just a local boy who just wanted to stay home and play in front of the people. He learned a lot. I think he matured. We're just happy he ended it on a positive note. You cannot ask for more."

Chang unleashes a pass in the first quarter. He finished his UH career as the NCAA passing leader with 17,072 yards.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Father and son hugged and stood next to each other, watching the final seconds of his career tick away. Warriors coach June Jones came over to greet Levi Chang.

"I just thanked him for everything (his son) had done and the support and everything we have," Jones said.

Chang ends his career as the NCAA passing leader with 17,072 yards, roughly the distance from downtown to Aloha Stadium. He passed the 17,000-yard mark when he connected with Chad Owens on a 15-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. That also was the 18th time Chang has thrown a TD pass to Owens in their careers, a school record. Chang's 117 career TD passes also are a school record.

"CO's (Chad Owens) one of those great receivers," Chang said. "Any time you got him on your side, the best thing and the wise thing is to throw him the ball."

Owens, who had two TD catches yesterday, ended his career with 29, three shy of the school record held by Ashley Lelie. Owens, who came to UH as a walk-on out of Roosevelt High, appreciated his playing time with Chang.

"I was so fortunate to make it this far and be a part of something so special," Owens said. "It's a blessing and that's why I'm never going to forget it."

One person who could appreciate Chang's accomplishments was his counterpart, Blazers' quarterback Darrell Hackney. He kept UAB in the game as long as he could, passing for 417 yards and two touchdowns.

"He was great out there tonight," said Hackney, a junior. "He showed me some things I could really learn from. Every time he set his feet, good pass."

Hackney said he was impressed with Chang's quick release and said it was something he would try to develop before next season.

It was an emotional end for Chang. He started a series with 6:52 left in the game, threw a pass to Jason Rivers for no gain, then departed for backup Jeff Rhode. As he exited the field, fans cheered. He shed a tear and said a prayer, he said.

"It's a sad feeling, but inside you feel good for what happened out here, what we accomplished as a team," Chang said. "It's been great. It's been up and down, but when all is said and done, it's been one awesome ride."

But he wasn't the only Chang to walk off in the sunset. Like son, father Levi had his last game as the "red cap," the TV timeout official.

"Time to give it up, let the young guys do it," Levi Chang said.

The same could be said for his son.

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at skaneshiro@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8042.