Insight, News, and Opinion by Nick Abramo
  • April 13, 2021
Former Honolulu Star-Advertiser Sportswriter Cindy Luis Starts New Website:

Cindy Luis is back.

The former Honolulu Star-Advertiser sportswriter and columnist announced on Monday on Facebook that she has started a new website,

Luis, who had been covering University of Hawaii women’s and men’s volleyball since way before Al Gore invented the Internet, took a voluntary layoff from her role as sportswriter at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in June.

Cindy Luis — 40 years and counting in the business of sports journalism.

Through the years, she covered many different sports at the paper at various times, including UH men’s and women’s basketball and football. She also wrote a column called “Keeping Score” for many years, and there was also a time in the late 1990s and early 2000s that she held the top post in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin sports department — with the official title of sports editor.

“I am excited to announce the launch of, my new website for all things volleyball and more,” Luis wrote on Facebook. “Perhaps the best way to explain my departure from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser is to go back to the (July 1) podcast on the Dave & Tiff Show that made it official. It’s a lengthy interview and you’ll have to go through some of the entertaining banter between the hosts before I’m on. Thank you for listening.”

Fueled by the COVID-19 flu pandemic, the Star-Advertiser went through a round of job cuts in June. 

Bedrock Sports Hawaii reached Luis by cellphone late Monday night to get her thoughts on the new venture. One part of her plan is to get back on the volleyball beat when the Rainbow Wahine and Rainbow Warriors return to the court for competition.

Cindy Luis, right, and son Tiff Wells covering a UH volleyball match.

“I’m putting myself out there, getting back into the writing groove,” she said. “That’s been hard the last couple of months — losing my mom and my dog and my career. It’s been really tough.

“I hope to be doing a lot of people stories and more atmosphere-type (feature) stories.”

Luis has found another talent that has become a hobby. She’s been taking photos in her backyard and posting them on Facebook — and getting a lot of rave reviews.

“I’m branching out, getting into photography and getting so many compliments,” she added. “I have a friend who is a professional photographer and she says, ‘I can’t believe you. I camp out over night to get the right shot and you roll out of bed and point and shoot.’ I may get into watermarking or copywriting my photos.”

Luis, who said she fought very hard to get into the sportswriting field at a time when not many women were doing it, was the only woman full-timer in the Star-Advertiser sports department. Now there are none.

A native of San Diego, Luis graduated from UCLA in 1977 before taking a sportswriting and editing job at the Pacific Daily News in Guam in 1978. She came to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in 1981 and stayed onboard with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser after the merger with the Honolulu Advertiser in 2010.

Christopher “Tiff” Wells as a kid with his mom Cindy Luis at a UH volleyball match.

“I’ve been at sporting events and keeping score since I was a sophomore in high school,” she said. “It got to a point when I was in college that if I was at a basketball game, I would go crazy if I didn’t have a scorebook in front of me. One time, a guy at a game at Pauley Pavilion turned around and asked, ‘Who are you, John Wooden’s daughter?’ “

Now, she’ll get to continue jotting in the scorebook.

“I want to cover men’s volleyball next spring because they will win a national championship if they have a real season (not interrupted by COVID-19),” she said on a recent appearance on the Dave and Tiff Sports Podcast. “You heard it here first. They will win it in 2020-21. I have not covered a banner-raising team since 1987.”

That was the last time the Rainbow Wahine won the national championship, the third in the 1980s under coach Dave Shoji.

“I have a special affinity for that ’87 team,” she added on the podcast.

Luis has also had a very special relationship with her son Tiff, who was a baby during that title run and is now a veteran play-by-play announcer for UH men’s and women’s volleyball teams.

“I’m proud to call him my son, but I’m also proud to call him a colleague,” she said on the podcast.

Luis has written a children’s book that she hopes to turn into a five-part series. She is working on finding an illustrator.

“It’s called ‘Tutu Nunu and the Magic of Morning,’ a fantasy, educational book,” she said. “It’s designed for ages 2-5 and to be read to the children. It’s about a dove who comes in and wakes up a little girl in the morning and they have an adventure. It’s for kids to learn about bird life in Hawaii.”

Vinnie — named by Cindy Luis’ brother Vincent Craig — went through a
change from an angry bird to a nice bird, according to Luis.

The idea for the book came about because doves often fly onto Luis’ property and get into her house.

“I’ve been rescuing doves,” the 65-year-old Luis added. “They’re lost and they might have slight concussions from hitting a (nearby) wall. They like being held. I ask them if they’re OK and pet them and (they eventually fly away). The smallest one I rescued fit into the palm of my hand. Five or six types of birds fly into my yard.”

In addition to her coverage for the daily paper, Luis also wrote a volleyball blog called Volleyshots for the Honolulu daily.

An avid paddler who teaches a sports journalism class at UH, Luis got help creating her website from former Star-Bulletin colleague Blaine Fergerstrom.

Last week, Luis and her son were guests on WarriorCast, a UH athletic department podcast hosted by Eric Mathews. Luis was also Rob Espero’s guest on a podcast last week.


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