Since leaving Punahou, Keith Uperesa has made football his life. The former Buff ’n Blue standout in three sports – football, basketball and track – starred at offensive lineman for Brigham Young, where he was an All-Western Athletic Conference selection in 1977 and also an honorable mention All-American.
After playing in the NFL from 1978 to 1980, Uperesa dedicated himself to coaching, a profession that has taken him from Utah, Idaho and California to as far east as Louisiana before landing back in Hawai‘i. He was the head coach at Snow Junior College in Ephraim, Utah, from 1995 to 1998, where he went 35-8, including a 4-0 record in bowl games.
Uperesa’s personal story is one of perseverance as well. He is healthy again after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009, three years after he underwent treatment for prostate cancer.
“I’ve got medication for the rest of my life, but I’m fortunate,” he told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser last year. “I’ve been blessed to be able to do what I’ve been doing right now.”
This year will mark his second on the staff of Norm Chow – a 2008 inductee to the Punahou Hall of Fame – as the running backs coach for the University of Hawai‘i.
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