Super Bowl champion and Hawaii Preparatory Academy alumnus Max Unger made a surprise appearance at his high school Wednesday during a special assembly held in his honor. HPA retired Ungerʻs number “77” during a ceremony held in the schoolʻs Castle Gym. Ungerʻs wife, Leah, and his parents, Keith and Cynda, also HPA graduates, attended the event.
“Iʻm very lucky,” Unger said. “Iʻve found something Iʻm passionate about; itʻs easy to find something youʻre passionate about. The hard part is putting in the hard work.”
The ceremony included introductions by HPA athletic director Stephen Perry and Headmaster Lindsay Barnes. Robert A. Fitzgerald, deputy director of county Parks and Recreation and Ungerʻs former coach, representing Mayor Billy Kenoi, proclaimed April 2, 2014 “Max Unger Day in the County of Hawaii.”
Tom Goodspeed, former HPA head football coach and Ungerʻs high school coach, flew in from California for the event and spoke about the All-American, All-Pro, and Pro Bowler.
“Max, you are amazing. Youʻre a great ambassador for yourself, for HPA, and for your family,” said Goodspeed, who currently is the athletic director at Chadwick School in California. Goodspeed and Perry presented the 2004 graduate with a framed No. 77 jersey and senior Keenan Greenbaum, who most recently wore No. 77, helped unveil a new banner hanging in the gym with the retired number.
Unger then took the podium and thanked the students, his family, and his alma mater for their support, particularly all of his former coaches and teachers. After the ceremony, Unger answered questions, signed autographs, and took photos with students.