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Tom Haynie paved way for Punahou’s swimming success

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As a swimming coach, Tom Haynie directly contributed to 23 entries in Punahou’s expansive list of state championships.

Tom Haynie:
Guided Buffanblu to 23
state swimming titles

How many others he might have influenced as a teacher and mentor is harder to measure.

Haynie was already a decorated swimmer and coach at the national and collegiate levels when he moved to Hawaii in 1959 to teach at Punahou and coach the Buffanblu swimming teams.

He then guided the Punahou boys to 12 state championships from 1961 to 1973 – part of a string of 29 consecutive titles – and coached the girls to 11 championships.

And even after he stepped away from coaching, his impact lingered around the campus, extending beyond the pool.

"He was very generous in my young days, he had so much knowledge and expertise and wisdom," said Chris McLachlin, who started as a teacher in 1970 and eventually led Punahou to 11 state titles in boys volleyball and three more in boys basketball. "To be able to be a fly in the room when he was talking was pretty cool, because he was full of gems of wisdom all the time.

"He’d kind of done it all, so he was a tremendous resource. When he coached, I had my eyes and ears wide open."

Haynie died on May 28 at age 94 in Santa Barbara, Calif., leaving behind a legacy stretching from Michigan to Stanford to Punahou.

"Everybody at Punahou associated with swimming knows the name Tom Haynie, he was a legend here for many years," said Jeff Meister, Punahou’s current swimming coach and assistant athletic director. "His success and his ability to work with kids is something I think all coaches want to strive for because he was such a positive role model and a mentor to so many people around here."

Haynie was a member of the U.S. Swim Team in the 1930s, often coming to Hawaii to swim in meets at the Waikiki Natatorium, and was a national champion at Michigan.

He coached Stanford to 11 conference championships from 1947 to ’59 and was later inducted into the Stanford’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Peter Cole swam for Haynie at Stanford and helped convince him to join the staff at Punahou. Cole had been assisting Rollie Higgins, who led Punahou to the first three state swimming titles, and stayed on with Haynie through the 1966 season.

"The thing that bonded him with his swimmers was he wasn’t just a head coach," said Cole, himself a renowned big-wave surfer in the 1960s. "He was very organized, but he was also a friend. He had a great sense of humor and was just a laugh a minute. He would get the best out of the material he had. A great coach and a great guy."

Haynie and Cole also planted the seeds in reviving the Punahou water polo program, which began formal tournaments with ‘Iolani in 1966. The program eventually evolved into an ILH power under Ken Smith.

Steve Borowski succeeded Haynie as swimming coach in 1974, and the Buffanblu boys and girls swept the state titles each year through 1986.

"The biggest thing was that coaching in Hawaii is so different from coaching on the mainland, and I learned a lot from Tom about coaching the local athletes," said Borowski, who now assists at Kealakehe, which won the state girls championship this spring.

Haynie retired from teaching in 1981 and lived in Makaha with his wife, Sherrye, until the late 1990s when they moved to Morro Bay, Calif. Their four children – Casey, Sherry, Tom III and Julie – all graduated from Punahou in the 1960s and swam for their father.

Julie Haynie Cline-Maurer was a swimmer and volleyball player at Punahou, and said the "Haynie house" was a popular hangout in the ’60s.

In keeping with Haynie’s wishes, his family is planning an informal ceremony in the waters off Makaha. A date has yet to be finalized.

 

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