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Sports & Fitness // Keeping Score
Bob Hogue

Wyatt, Enterprise And The Silverswords

Now an executive with Enterprise, John Wyatt played basketball at Chaminade from 1987 to '89. Photo from John Wyatt

Now an executive with Enterprise, John Wyatt played basketball at Chaminade from 1987 to ’89. Photo from John Wyatt

If you’ve been one of the thousands of fans of March Madness and the NCAA Basketball Tournament, you’ve no doubt seen the Enterprise college spirit commercial that features college graduates and former student-athletes who work for the rental car company. It’s exciting to see one of Hawaii’s universities included in a spot of national prominence.

“To Silverswords” is John Wyatt’s line about 17 seconds into the 30-second commercial. You see the former Chaminade star palming a basketball, and then again in a group shot at the end of the ad, along with eight other “Enterprise teammates” who went to schools like Wisconsin, Nebraska, Utah, Missouri and Concordia, among others, plus the Oregon Duck.

“It was a great experience,” says Wyatt, who played for famed coach Merv Lopes at Chaminade from 1987 to ’89. “We taped it back in August; they flew us all out to Southern California for about five days. It’s a great positive message.”

Since the commercial began running, he says he’s “been getting calls from all over the country. I’ve heard from former teammates and from people I’ve worked with. I guess my 15 minutes of fame has been growing.”

Wyatt is in his 25th year with Enterprise. He has risen to the position of regional vice president, and after stints in the East and the Midwest, he now heads up a regional office in Montgomery, Ala. “My college experience really helped me lay a strong foundation for my life,” he says.

Wyatt married his former high school sweetheart. He and Delita grew up in Los Angeles, where he was a basketball star who led Banning High of Carson to the L.A. City championship. He and his wife have two sons, Delohn, 17, and Donovahn, 13. Wyatt stays involved in sports by helping coach the local AAU basketball team, the Montgomery Fire. “I love the game so much,” he says.

At 6 feet 6 inches tall, Wyatt played in the post for Coach Lopes in the late ’80s.

“I was pretty small to go up against some of the teams we played, but I worked hard as a strong defender and good rebounder,” he recalls. “We were a small college team, but Chaminade already had the reputation as “Giant Killers” after beating Virginia, SMU, Louisville in the years just before I got there. Because of that, it was tough for us to sneak up on anybody. “We played some great teams when I was there,” he adds. “Back then, there were two tournaments – the Maui Classic (since renamed the EA Sports Maui Invitational) and a tournament at Christmas, so we played a lot of Division I schools. We played against Danny Manning and Kansas the year they won the NCAA championship; we went up against Roy Tarpley and Michigan, Dell Curry and Virginia Tech, Kenny Walker and Kentucky, and so many more big-name teams. It was fun.”

But Wyatt also recognized that what he achieved off the court also was extremely important.

“I was the responsible one,” he says.

He graduated with a grade point average over 3.5 and was named Chaminade’s Student of the Year his senior year. He was also the Silverswords’ team captain and was even named the school’s homecoming king.

He’s proud of what he’s been able to accomplish and is excited about the future.

“I’m very, very fortunate,” he says. “I have a very stable, loving family, and I work for a great company.”

Silversword John Wyatt is living proof that a positive student-athlete experience can lead to great future success.

senatorbobhogue@yahoo.com

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