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Lisa Mann was one of Hawaii’s finest during her athletic career … and after
- By Reece Nagaoka firstname.lastname@example.org
- July 12, 2022
- Updated 2:29 pm
- CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COMLisa Mann was a 32-year veteran of the Honolulu police force and was the acting deputy chief when she retired on June 1.
- CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
Above is Mann as a University of Hawaii basketball player.
- STAR-ADVERTISER / 1984
Lisa Mann played basketball for the University of Hawaii before joining the Honolulu Police Department.
Lisa Mann went from being a college basketball player to a police officer almost immediately.
The former University of Hawaii small forward timed her application to the Honolulu Police Department as best she could, but she still had about four months off in between.
“I worked at an ice cream shop just to fill the void,” Mann said. “I knew the guy who owned it, so I was working for him for a few months.”
Mann went on to work at HPD for 32 years before retiring in June as one of the department’s highest-ranking officers, holding the title of acting deputy chief.
“I wanted to work in the community, and 32 years ago it was a lot different than it is now. I give these guys credit on how they’re willing to join,” she said. “Times have changed, the world has changed. It was a whole different island and a whole different community.”
Times have changed in other ways as well. Mann was part of a generation of student-athletes that got the full effect of what Title IX was supposed to do, and she was able to build off her playing days into an education and a successful career in law enforcement.
“I want to thank the women who played before me and the UH athletic administration who had to continue to fight for equality even after Title IX became law,” Mann said in a text. “Early on although women players were receiving scholarships, the amount received was not equal. The facilities they used were lacking compared to the men. Because of these people, my generation moving forward has benefited in many ways.”
“I talked about how good of an offensive player she was, but one of the things Lisa gained at the University of Hawaii was learning teamwork,” former UH coach Vince Goo said. “Most of her teammates were surprised that she was willing to go to the police department. I had no doubt that she was going to become successful.”
Mann was more modest about her basketball abilities — she described herself as more of an offensive player that had to work on defense — but Goo, a boys basketball coach at Kaiser during the time Mann was playing at University High (now University Laboratory), went more in-depth on the 5-foot-11 wing player.
“She could shoot the 3, put it on the floor, shoot mid-range jumpers, and take it all the way to the basket,” Goo said. “She was a good post-up player with real good footwork, so she’d beat a lot of people posting up and getting the ball with her back to the basket.”
One of the key players on a University team that made the state final all four years she was on the team, Mann won two state titles and parlayed her success into a scholarship to play basketball at UH for five years — she redshirted her sophomore year due to injury — for Bill Nepfel and Goo.
“She probably would have had scholarships to go away to school,” Goo said. “But because Hawaii could offer her a scholarship, she could stay at home to play, make a name for herself and continue her working career at the police department.”
While she was a police officer, Mann still stayed in basketball as a high school coach for 18 seasons at Kaimuki, University and Kaiser. She also officiated games after she stepped away from coaching before she was promoted to captain by HPD in 2013.
“I just felt like I always benefited from my coaches, so therefore I should pay it forward,” Mann said. “I enjoyed it. The kids were fun.”
Now that she’s retired, Mann has picked up activities, both new and old. She’s started to play pickleball and golf, and she has trips to the mainland planned, something she picked up from when she was at UH.
“We went all over — to Oklahoma, Alaska — places I’ve never been,” she said. “I still have the travel bug. That was a real life-changer.”
“I was very fortunate. I got to travel, I got a scholarship. You have an extra level of confidence when you are an athlete,” she said. “Title IX really gave female athletes that extra opportunity to grow as people.”