RIP Dennis Anderson: ‘Inventor’ of Hawai’i’s Homegrown Report

The Dec. 21, 1986 sports section of The Honolulu Advertiser featured this full-page report of former Hawai’i high school athletes playing football at small colleges in the Pacific Northwest. It was the beginning of Dennis Anderson’s “Homegrown Report,” versions of which became a newspaper fixture for the next four decades. (from

Dennis Anderson

Four weeks ago (Feb. 2) was National Letter of Intent signing day, an annual celebration of high school athletes making official commitments to accept scholarship offers from across the country.

Those who go away — either on scholarship or not — can take some comfort in knowing they won’t be forgotten back home in Hawai’i. It wasn’t always that way, but such assurance became normal starting way back in 1987 and has not wavered since.

For that, we can thank a man named Dennis Anderson, a former Honolulu Advertiser reporter who passed away Jan. 12 at the age of 84.

Anderson was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, attended college at Linfield (Ore.) and was already a newspaper veteran when he moved to Hawai’i in 1974. After working as City Editor at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin from 1974-79, he joined The Advertiser as a reporter and then became a page designer and assistant sports editor.

Anderson’s son, Bryant, played football for Pac-Five and then continued his career at Linfield in Fall 1985. Dennis Anderson would fly to attend Bryant’s games and quickly discovered just how many former Hawai’i athletes were playing not just at Linfield, but throughout the Northwest and West Coast in general.

On Dec. 21, 1986, the Sunday sports section of The Honolulu Advertiser featured a full page of Anderson’s reports on these kids, including an article and photo of 20 members of Linfield’s NAIA football championship team.

Below that article was one mentioning 50 other Hawai’i athletes playing football at Central Washington, Eastern Oregon, Lewis & Clark, Oregon Tech, Pacific, Portland State, Puget Sound, Southern Oregon, Western Oregon, Western Washington, Whitworth and Willamette.

Over the next two years, such articles became a Sunday fixture and went beyond football and the Pacific Northwest: Thanks to Anderson, we were able to keep track of former Hawai’i athletes competing in basketball, baseball, volleyball, tennis, wrestling … in California, Arizona, Utah and farther East.

The dedicated page (or more) was named “Homegrown Report,” versions of which have continued over the next four decades, still existing today in the form of the Star-Advertiser’s “Hawai’i Grown” report every Wednesday.

Homegrown Report not only served us readers in Hawai’i, but also — just as importantly — made the local athletes on the Mainland still feel connected to their families and friends back in the islands, and able to take pride in sharing their achievements from afar.

I witnessed this first hand during my National Student Exchange year at Cal State Northridge in 1988-89:

My dad faithfully would collect a week’s worth of Advertiser and Star-Bulletin sports pages at our ‘Alewa Heights home, stuff them into a soft U.S. Express Mail package at Kapalama Post Office, and send them for arrival at my Northridge campus apartment mailbox by Saturday.

On Sunday mornings, I would bring the package to my friend’s apartment nearby, open it up and pass the papers around to our other Hawai’i friends to catch up on the sports news from back home. Remember — no smartphones or even internet back then, so this pretty much was the only way to stay caught up.

A couple of our friends played football for CSUN, so when reading Homegrown Report, they would see their own names mentioned.

“Eh, you see!” said Peni Ah Yen, a defensive tackle from Farrington. “That’s what I like about da’ Advertiser: They no forget about us local boys!”

Here is another sample mentioning another of our CSUN friends:

From The Honolulu Advertiser’s Homegrown Report on Nov. 17, 1988.

If a short, simple blurb could bring thrills to a bunch of Hawai’i boys sitting in a San Fernando Valley apartment living room, imagine the excitement it brought to the McConnaughy ‘ohana reading it back in Kealakekua!

Thanks to Dennis Anderson, that excitement and thrill was shared throughout the Mainland and back home in The Advertiser for thousands of Hawai’i athletes and their families for the next 34 years, continuing to today. Anderson left the Advertiser in 2003 but continued to contribute as a freelancer for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, producing a similar feature called “Hawai’i Grown.”

Meanwhile, Homegrown Report continued at The Honolulu Advertiser under Stanley Lee, Leila Wai and Kalani Takase until The Advertiser shut down in June 2010.

Takase has recently revived the concept for, while Billy Hull has kept Hawai’i Grown running at the Star-Advertiser.

But it all started with Dennis Anderson way back in 1986.

There is much more to Dennis Anderson’s life story, including his induction into the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016. We will probably mention him again in this space.

But in his own words, posted on his LinkedIn profile in May 2020, his “most satisfying accomplishment (was) giving positive recognition to deserving student-athletes, especially 17 years writing a weekly feature called Homegrown Report on the thousands of student-athletes from Hawai’i at Mainland colleges.”


Mahalo and fond aloha to my former colleague, Dennis Anderson.

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