Hawaii football player dies after wave sweeps him from Oahu beach

Story highlights

  • Willis Wilson, 21, was in knee-deep water when wave hit
  • Wilson previously spent three seasons at the University of Washington
  • Coach: "He was a very fun-loving young man"
  • Wilson's father also played football for Hawaii
A University of Hawaii football player died after a large wave swept over him on an Oahu beach early Saturday.
CNN affiliate KGMB-TV reported that the Honolulu Fire Department recovered the body of Willis Wilson, 21, about 7:30 a.m., three hours after he vanished from the beach.
Wilson and two other people were in knee-deep water when the wave hit them, fire officials told KGMB. The other two people, and two more on the beach, could not locate Wilson.
After an air, land and sea search, authorities found Wilson's body.
Wilson, a running back, graduated from high school in Lakewood, Washington, and spent three seasons at the University of Washington. He then transferred to Hawaii, where he had not appeared in a game this season.
"We are very saddened by the news of Willis' passing," Hawaii football coach Norm Chow said in a statement. "He was a very fun-loving young man who was well liked by his teammates."
Wilson's father, Jack Wilson Jr., played for Hawaii in the late 1980s, the university said.