A Brief Look At Hawaiian Legend Herman Wedemeyer

Sometimes, ideas for posts don’t come from IQFB alone, sometimes they are inspired by other football fans out there. That happened just the other day when Marlene contacted us with this great little snippet:

Add to your trivia: In 1945, the first Hawaiian born All-American Herman Wedemeyer a half-back at St. Mary’s College in CA. was fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. His unique ability to pass, run, kick, block and tackle earned him the name “Squirmin Herman.” He played professional football for the Los Angeles Dons and Baltimore Colts in the AAFC. He also played minor-league baseball with the Salt Lake City Bees. In 1979, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

He was an expert golfer, a gifted swimmer, surfer, boxer, and had a black belt in karate. He succeeded in Hawaiian business and politics, but his fans loved him world-wide as the actor who played officer “Duke” Lukela in the original TV series “Hawaii Five-0? from 1971-1980.

A big thank you to Marlene, but we couldn’t leave it at just that and had to explore the subject a little deeper. In that spirit, here is a look at some more little known facts about Herman Wedemeyer.

-In his first year in pro football in the AAFC, Wedermeyer led the league punt return yardage.

-He played just two seasons of pro football, 1948 with the Los Angeles Dons and 1949 with the Baltimore Colts.

-Though he played just those two seasons in the AAFC, he was also drafted into the NFL by the Los Angeles Rams. They used the 9th overall pick to take him in 1947, though he would never play for them.

-The year that Herman Wedemeyer finished fourth in Heisman Trophy balloting, the award was won by Doc Blanchard of Army.

-His first touchdown in pro football came in the third quarter of a 36-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in 1948. It went for five yards and was thrown to him by Dons’ quarterback Glenn Dobbs.

-Herman Wedemeyer’s brother Charlie had a television movie made about him called Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story. He also had a very successful autobiography titled: Charlie’s Victory: An Autobiography. Charlie’s inspirational story involved him contracting Lou Gehrig’s disease and continuing his career as a football coach.

-Other nicknames that Herman Wedemeyer would acquire included The Hawaiian Centipede, the Hula-Hipped Hawaiian, and the Flyin’ Hawaiian.

-Herman Wedemeyer’s brief political career included being elected to office as both a Republican (Honolulu City Council) and as a Democrat (Hawaii House of Representatives).

-At the age of 72, he once again played the role of Duke in the Hawaii Five-O TV movie.

-He appeared in one other television show set in Hawaii. In 1981, he played the coroner in an episode of the Tom Selleck detective show, Magnum P.I.

Again… a big “THANK YOU” to Marlene!


  1. This is for Mark:

    Thanks for letting more of the football world know about this gifted and talented player.

    By the way, I learned that Herman did study judo, but the black belt he earned was in karate…Don’t know if you can correct. (I like to be as accurate as I can.)


  2. Mark says:

    No problem Marlene, I just fixed it. 😉

Leave a Reply