Edward “Skippa” Diaz, a Hawaii high school football legend as a player and coach, died at his home in Aiea early Saturday morning.
Diaz, 70, had battled stage four gastric adenocarcinoma for four years. He was undergoing experimental treatment, said his wife, Mary Diaz.
“We were hopeful,” Mary Diaz said. “But so many treatments and so much chemo took its toll. It was not until April this year that there was a sharp decline.”
Diaz was an all Interscholastic League of Honoulu football player, and All-Pac 10 defensive tackle at Oregon State, and played professionally in the CFL.
He returned to Hawaii to make a big mark as a coach and educator, at Washington Intermediate, Kalani, Waialua, Mililani and most notably his alma mater, Farrington.
“He took everything head on,” said Agenhart Ellis, the Farrington athletic director who hired Diaz. “I don’t think there’s ever been anyone like him. He’s the only guy I can think of who could coach a football team by himself. He really was ‘The Bull of Kalihi.’ “
Diaz retired from coaching and teaching in 1999 and went on to be deputy director of the Honolulu City and County Department of Parks and Recreation and served on the Aloha Stadium Authority.
Services are pending.