"He was standing on a ledge and was struck by a wave," Rodrigues
said Tuesday. "The ocean was treacherous."
A large wave struck Kennelly -- the 1989 Pacific League Defensive
Player of the Year -- and swept him off a 25-foot cliff, Maui Police
Sgt. Kevin Kahaialii told the Maui News. A search team was called in
around 1 p.m., and a rescue helicopter spotted his body near the
It was unclear if Kennelly drowned or died from head injuries,
Maui Assistant Fire Chief Gordon Cordeiro told the Maui News.
The National Weather Service had issued a high-surf advisory
Sunday, when surf heights reached nearly 20 feet.
"It was a rough day on Sunday," Rodrigues said.
Kennelly's death marked the second passing of a prominent Falcon
athlete in less than seven months. James Jenkins, a 2001 graduate,
died May 29 from injuries to his neck that were caused when he was
swept down a waterfall.
On Tuesday, Kennelly's former coaches and colleagues remembered a
dedicated athlete and loving father.
"I think there is still a lot of shock," CV football Coach Alan
Eberhart said of the two-year varsity linebacker. "I don't think the
reality that this particular young man is gone has hit a lot of
people. You just don't know. He was there a minute ago and now he's
"I don't believe that kid is gone. It magnifies it even more that
he's not a kid. He's a young man who has four kids. I can't even
Falcon Athletic Director Jim Beckenhauer -- who was Kennelly's
head coach on the varsity level -- recalled a 1990 graduate who
helped transform the CV football program.
"I think he changed our football program around," Beckenhauer
said. "We were on a bad streak and on a low for a while. He just
changed it around with his attitude and with his leadership. He
started some of the traditions that we still use, as far as
maintaining camaraderie with the team.
"He led by example and forced his teammates to follow. He was an
After high school, Kennelly continued his playing career at
Glendale Community College, where he earned All-Western State
Conference second-team honors as a sophomore.
"He's probably one of the finest kids I've ever met," Vaquero
Coach John Cicuto said. "He was so competitive and had an incredible
passion for football.
"He was kind of a throwback to the old days. He had that same
passion and feeling about school and life that kids had 25 years
Kennelly's family could not be reached for comment. Cicuto said a
memorial service will be held Friday at Christian Assembly Church in