Gerald Isobe Selected for RIT Sports Hall of Fame
Oct. 18, 2001
by Karen E. Black or Frank Kruppenbacher
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Gerald Isobe, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, has been selected for induction into the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Sports Hall of Fame. Isobe, who is deaf, is one of six individuals chosen for the Hall of Fame this year. Induction takes place Saturday, Nov. 10, 2001 at Brook-Lea Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
A 1976 NTID/RIT graduate, Isobe received his bachelor of science degree in accounting from the College of Business. He played golf from 1972 to 1976, enjoying a heralded career as a Tiger linksman. He was the first RIT deaf golfer to earn NCAA All-American as he was named to the third team in 1975. During his four-year career, he qualified for the NCAA championships three times. His sophomore year RIT competed in the NCAA Division II Championship at University of South Florida. The following year the Tigers vied in the Division III Championship at University of Tennessee-Martin, placing eighth. During his senior year, he helped RIT take eighth place in the NCAA Division III Championship at Wittenburg University of Ohio. Also that year, Isobe was named the 1976 National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year and Delta Sigma Pi Fraternity Athlete of the Year.
As an undergraduate, Isobe was recipient of the Francis Brown Foundation Scholarship, which honors only the finest golfers in Hawaiian history. In seven seasons he posted a career average of 81.2. Nine times he earned medalist honors. He was also instrumental in stopping rival Oswego State's 11-year dual win streak as he carded a 76 in the 1976 match.
During his career, RIT won three Independent College Athletic Conference championships and one Eastern College Athletic Conference qualifier. In 1976 the team placed second in the NCAA regional qualifier.
Former RIT golf coach Earl Fuller commented on Isobe's college career. "Gerry perfected an excellent all-around game. He became one of the finest golfers in RIT history."
One of Isobe's fondest memories came in 1976 when the Tigers competed in the NCAA Regional Qualifier in Utica, N.Y. With Coach Fuller behind the wheel, the team endured three flat tires, culminating with a late arrival at the qualifier. The competition started 45 minutes late. RIT tied for third place, forcing a playoff for a spot in the nationals. Isobe guided the Tigers into the championships as he birdied a par-five hole, helping secure the victory.
To this day, Isobe still gets goose bumps (or "chickenskin" as they say in Hawaii) thinking about the entire ordeal. Isobe has enjoyed continued success since his days as an RIT golfer. He is an Air Force supervisory accountant for the Defense and Finance Accounting Service-Pacific at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Since 1977 he has been a sign language instructor at the Department of Education's Community School for Adults. He has also served as junior varsity golf coach at Punahou High School for the past nine years.
In 1982 he became the first national deaf champion of the United States Golf Association in Glastonbury, Conn. He has also competed in two World Deaf Golf Championships, placing 13th in 1998 and 10th in 2000. The United States team won the championship in 2000 at Sun City, South Africa. This summer he placed third in the national deaf championship in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and qualified to represent the United States in the fourth World Deaf Golf Championship to be held in Dublin, Ireland in the summer of 2002.
In 1987, Isobe was chosen a national honoree of the United States Jaycees' Ten Outstanding Young Americans. Some past honorees include former President Bill Clinton, current Vice President Dick Cheney, Elvis Presley and golfer Tom Watson.
Isobe was named RIT Distinguished Alumnus of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in 1988. In 1999 he was inducted into his alma mater's Hall of Honor at President William McKinley High School.
He is married to Karen Nara of Mountainview, California. They have two children: Brandon (13) and Brittany (11). Brandon made his first hole-in-one at a 110-yard uphill hole at the age of 11. Brittany has also taken up the game and provides some tough competition for her father and brother.
The first and largest technological college in the world for students who are deaf and hard of hearing, NTID, one of eight colleges of RIT, offers educational programs and access and support services to 1,100 students from around the world who study, live, and socialize with 13,500 hearing students on the RIT campus. Web address: http://www.rit.edu/NTID.
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