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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Lelie scores big with Radford High School

The new baseball/football scoreboard at Radford High School was installed last week, thanks to a $26,000 donation by alum Ashley Lelie.

Bruce Asato • The Honolulu Advertiser

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Ashley Lelie knows what it's like to receive. After all, he works as a wide receiver for the NFL's Denver Broncos.

But his alma mater, Radford High School, will know him as someone who also gives.

Lelie, who starred at Radford and the University of Hawai'i, paid for a $26,000 dual scoreboard for the Rams' football and baseball fields, athletic director Kelly Sur said.

"When he came back, he always talked about what can he do to help," said Sur, who was Lelie's high-school football coach.

"So we put him up to his word. He's always been a good kid and always been a person of his word. When we had the opportunity to ask him, we thought about what we needed."

"I've always wanted to help," Lelie said in a telephone interview yesterday from Colorado.

"Whenever they came up with something they needed, they were going to ask me. About a year and a half ago, (Sur) told me about the scoreboard kind of deteriorating. It's the least I could do."

The new scoreboard is 20 feet wide and 7 feet, 6 inches high on the football side, and 14 feet wide and 5 feet, 6 inches on the baseball side. The fields are adjacent to each other.

The scoreboard, which is wireless and can be controlled from the press box, was installed last week.

"It's state of the art," Sur said.

After graduating from Radford in 1998, Lelie redshirted his freshman year at UH. He entered the NFL draft after his junior season, leaving UH with several school receiving records. He became UH's highest draft pick when Denver selected him 19th overall in 2002.

Lelie completed his third season with the Broncos with 54 receptions for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns. His 20.1 yards per-catch average led all NFL receivers who were in the top 30 in receiving yards.

Denver's season ended in last weekend's 49-24 playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Lelie suffered an ankle injury in the game, but said he is OK.

"I can't tell you I saw this in his future," Sur said of Lelie's pro football success. "But he always had that drive. He had a lot of will and worked hard."

Lelie said Radford was his first experience playing organized football.

"If it wasn't for Radford, I probably wouldn't have played football," Lelie said. "In California (at Tustin High), I tried out my freshman year and got cut. I said I probably was never going to play football again. I came out to Hawai'i and got talked into trying out. The rest is history."

Lelie said he attended Castle High in his sophomore year but did not go out for football. He transferred to Radford later in his sophomore year when his parents — his father was in the military — found housing in Aliamanu.

There will be no ceremony for the scoreboard, but the school plans on "retiring" Lelie's high school number (20) during an assembly in May, Sur said. The school is arranging for Lelie to make an appearance.

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