Hall of Fame: May Kealohikikaupea Gay (1919)

If letters in girls’ sports had been presented when May was a student at Punahou, she probably would have won at least eight or nine. An all-around athlete she starred in basketball (captain of the squad for three years), tennis (winner of the E.O. Hall Tennis Trophy), volleyball (varsity three years) and softball. Her prowess as a baseball player was such that she was often asked by the boys to play regular ball with them. She did – as a catcher!This article appears as originally published in the Summer 1982 issue of the Punahou Bulletin.

At the University of Hawaii, May’s outstanding athletic and organizational abilities led to her appointment as instructor of the entire women’s athletic program in her junior and senior years, coaching basketball, volleyball and tennis. An outstanding tennis player she also helped to coach the men’s varsity team in her senior year and was a perennial contender for Oahu and all-island tennis titles. At the university she is remembered for scoring 31 of her team’s 35 points in a basketball game and for composing the school’s alma mater in 1921.

Obtaining her master’s degree in physical education from Columbia in 1925, May was appointed the first associate professor of women’s athletics at the University of Hawaii that same year. She held that position for twenty years until her retirement in 1945. During that period she was responsible for a number of innovations and for establishing a viable and balanced athletic program for women. A strict taskmaster and stern disciplinarian, May was idolized by both her students and her peers.

One other major accomplishment of note! May, as far as we know, is the only Hall of Famer who still speaks, reads and writes the Hawaiian language fluently.

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