Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Former UH Rainbow Football Coach, Bob Wagner, staying healthy

Kamehameha-Hawaii AD, Bob Wagner

I’m certainly glad its football season again as there is nothing I enjoy more than watching my favorite team, the Rainbows, on television.

Even before I graduated from the University of Hawaii, Manoa, I was a huge fan and when I lived on Oahu I attended most of the games at Aloha Stadium.

That is why I was impressed to meet former Rainbow coach, Bob Wagner, who is now the Athletic Director at Kamehameha-Hawaii.

Wagner assumed the Rainbow head coaching job in 1987 and led the team to their first top 20 finish in 1992.  During his tenure at UH Wagner guided the Rainbows to their first Western Athletic Championship and was instrumental in giving the ‘Bows national recognition before leaving in 1995.

At age 63 Wagner looks in great physical shape, I knew I needed to get to know him better so that I could write a Big Dog story about him.

Sure enough this active senior citizen continues to work out regularly and eat healthy.

“I will usually workout five days a week for at least an hour a day,” Wagner said.  “I spend an hour either on a regular or stationary bike and I will do core exercises and stretching three to five days during the week.”

Wagner grew up in the Midwest where sports played a big part in childhood development.

 “I was always playing something each season from an early age,” Wagner said. 

At Newark Senior High School in Newark, Ohio, Wagner became a one sport varsity player and that sport, of course was football. 

“I went to a big high school and then went on to attend Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio where I played both football and lacrosse,” he said.

Wagner credits a lot of his success to the coaches he had while growing up. 

“I was very fortunate to have outstanding high school coaches.  I was even more fortunate in college to play for two coaches who are both in the college football Hall of Fame,” he said.“I really believe that the foundation of having good coaches had a lot to do with my getting involved in physical education and athletics.”

Today Wagner supplements his biking and stretching workouts with water aerobics in the ocean accompanied by some core exercises that basically work the abdominal muscles.

Wagner takes care of his body by eating healthy foods.

“For breakfast, five to seven times per week, I will eat oatmeal with blueberries, walnuts, a banana and flaxseed meal. At least once a week I will have a fish sandwich and a salad at Hokulani’s as they have maybe the best fish sandwich in the state,” Wagner said with a wide grin.

Wagner will also eat healthy by consuming low fat foods, such as fish, some poultry and very little red meat.

“My lunches and dinner meals follow a low fat diet and I will usually include an apple and an orange each day.  I try to stay away from sweets, but will have a dessert every now and then,” Wagner said.

Wagner is a good example of a senior citizen who continues to work at a full and stressful job, but maintains a good balance of exercise and a healthy diet.

“I try to get at least five hours of a cardiovascular workout each week as well as maintaining a core workout and stretching routine,” he said.

Staying active, eating right and maintaining a strong social network all help in leading us towards a healthy and productive lifestyle.

Bob Wagner is one of the many fine examples of people who continue to work full time, yet maintain a regular exercise routine and a healthy diet.

As an athletic director the job responsibilities require much more than a normal 40 hour workweek, which is no easy feat for anyone, especially for those of us in our 60’s.

And what does this former Rainbow coach look for when hiring coaches for Kamehameha?

“A good coach to me is a good person first, one that can communicate and that has passion to help the kids,” Wagner said.  “A good coach is also good for the sport and is smart and brings lots of knowledge and experience.  Pretty much in that order.”

Wagner continues to support Rainbow athletics as he and former UH football coach, Dick Tomey, attended a fundraiser function on Oahu recently.

“I’ve always tried to eat healthy and to stay active most of my life,” Wagner said.  “Because of past knee injuries I have mostly been on the bike for the last 25 to 30 years.  I really believe that this has saved me from having knee replacement surgery.”

I admire Bob Wagner for his contributions he made to my favorite team, the Rainbows, but more importantly for the hard work and dedication he has given over a lifetime to the development of sports.

 “The Rainbows will always mean a lot to me.  From day one I thought of the Rainbows as a melting pot football team, with young men of varied nationalities and ethnic groups coming together.  It brought to mind the Jesse Jackson, Rainbow Coalition where all races could come together as one,” Wagner said.

Our hometown university team has many loyal fans and traditionalist who will continue to call them the Rainbows.  UH football is like Wagner believed, closely associated to Jesse Jackson’s melting pot coalition. 

“America is not a blanket woven from one thread, one color, one cloth,” Jackson said.

Go Bows!

And someday should you happen to see a Rainbows fan come jogging through the streets of Hilo remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.



September 27, 2010 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment