Hall of Fame: James Pierre Bowman (1929)

Considered one of the top linebackers in Punahou history, Pierre starred in football beginning in his sophomore year. A first string halfback for three years he captained the team in his senior year and won ILH All-Star honors. A three-year letterman and top sprinter, particularly in relay events, he was selected as a member of the Punahou track team chosen to participate in the 1929 Penn Relays. In swimming, again a three-year letterman, he specialized in sprint events. Overall Punahou record – nine letter in three sports in three years.This article appears as originally published in the Summer 1982 issue of the Punahou Bulletin.

At Oregon State University, starting in his first year of eligibility (1931), he quickly proved to be an outstanding blocker ad linebacker. He is forever enshrined in the annals of Oregon State football as one of the immortal “11 Iron Men” who, on October 23, 1933, at Portland’s Multnomah Stadium, created history by holding then-national champion University of Southern California (USC) to a scoreless tie. With no timeouts and no substitutions, the eleven Beavers resolutely refused to let the mighty USC “football machine” score a single point, and in the process created a “human pyramid” on the field, a play which was instantly made famous around the world when a Portland newspaper photographer captured it on film. The play was later outlawed by football rulemakers.


Declining a number of attractive offers to play pro football, Pierre elected to return to Hawaii after OSU graduation, and was almost immediately employed by Kohala Sugar Company on Hawaii. In 1958 he was named industrial relations director of his company, a position he held until retirement. He still lives in Kohala. Over the years he has proven to be a leader in promoting athletics among the young people of West Hawaii. An avid fisherman, he was once lost at sea with two companions for two days and nights in a 16-foot craft in 1949. That close call was a stimulant to his continued avid interest in Big Island athletics, civic and community affairs and politics.

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