Former University of Hawaii QB Colt Brennan dead at 37

NEWPORT, Calif. — Colt Brennan, a record-setting quarterback at the University of Hawaii and a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2007, died Monday, his father said. He was 37.

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Terry Brennan told the Star-Advertiser in Honolulu that his son was in his fifth month at a rehabilitation center as a patient. Colt Brennan died at Hoag Hospital in Newport, California, after being found unconscious a few days ago, the newspaper reported.

“He was doing so well, the spark was back in his eyes, and he was healthy and doing great, and it happened,” Terry Brennan told the Star-Advertiser.

Brennan’s side-armed throwing motion helped put Hawaii football on the map from 2005 to 2007. He was named the Western Athletic Conference player of the year in 2007 when the Warriors won the conference title, Hawaii News Now reported.

Brennan threw for 131 career touchdowns at Hawaii, including 58 in 2006. He passed for 5,549 yards in 2006. Brennan still holds the NCAA career completion percentage (70.4%) record, KHON reported. He also led Hawaii to a 12-0 regular-season mark in 2007, the year he finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Tim Tebow of Florida and Darren McFadden of Arkansas.

Brennan’s 58 touchdowns were an NCAA record until LSU’s Joe Burrow broke the mark in 2019, ESPN reported.

June Jones, Brennan’s coach at Hawaii, said in a statement that the quarterback was a force in the program’s success.

“Nobody will ever touch what he accomplished for all of us,” Jones said. “His decision to stay in school for his senior year meant so much to his teammates and the fans of Warrior football. It united his teammates and the entire state which led us to our 12-0 season and our Sugar Bowl appearance. RIP Colt.”

Brennan was taken in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL draft by Washington, but injuries prevented him from ever playing a game in the NFL, ESPN reported.

Brennan suffered severe injuries in 2010 when he was a passenger, along with his then-girlfriend, in a vehicle involved in a head-on collision in Hawaii, the Star-Advertiser reported.

Brennan was also arrested for driving under the influence, ESPN reported. In 2020 he was arrested at a hotel for causing a disturbance while intoxicated and later that year was arrested at his home after police said he was “extremely intoxicated.”

Gerald Welch, who is Saint Louis School’s associate athletic director and is a Hawaii alumnus, said Brennan “had the biggest heart.”

“He loved the people of Hawaii. He embraced the people of Hawaii. He loved my family. He did a lot for us,” Welch told the Star-Advertiser. “He never wanted anything in return but our friendship and our love. He was probably one of the greatest who ever played at Hawaii. He brought Hawaii to heights it had never been before. He embraced the people of Hawaii. He loved to be here.”