Hawai’i’s Karsyn Pupunu Nominated for Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award
DALLAS (FWAA) — Hawai’i’s Karsyn Pupunu is this week’s nominee for the 2023 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Pupunu, a native of Lahaina, Maui, lost four family members in the August wildfire in Maui, which was the deadliest wildfire in the United States in more than a century.
Pupunu lost his uncle, Faaso Fonua Tone, his aunt, Malui Fonua Tone, and his cousins, Salote and Tony Takafua.
“My mentality right now is just to honor them in whatever I do, whether it’s coming out here, doing my best on the field or going in the classroom, just honoring them and trying my hardest every day to be great,” Pupunu told KHON2 in August.
Pupunu was excused from team activities to return home in the days after the fire, although he never missed a day of practice. Pupunu and defensive back Kimo Holo Holt-Mossman, a fellow Maui native, helped lead a donation drive within 48 hours of the fire. They were also among the more than 50 people from the Rainbow Warriors’ program to visit Maui in a one-day mission coordinated by the Lieutenant Governor’s office to help with relief efforts.
The Hawai’i football program has worn a Maui decal on its helmets this season, a season that it has dedicated to the people of Maui.
Pupunu has played in all six games this season and started in two, including the home opener against Stanford. He has two catches this season for 48 yards, including a 15-yard reception this past Saturday at UNLV. He also blocked a punt in a win against Albany.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior is in his third year with the Rainbow Warriors after transferring from Weber State. Pupunu contributed on special teams last season and made the Mountain West Conference’s all-academic team.