Rado Parapunov capped his University of Hawai’i volleyball career with the athletic department’s highest honor on Wednesday: the Jack Bonham Award.
Parapunov, the reigning AVCA national player of the year and NCAA tournament MOP, is the third consecutive Rainbow Warrior volleyball player to earn the award and fifth in seven years. He joins Taylor Averill (2015), Kupono Fey (2017), Stijn van Tilburg (2019) and Colton Cowell as the most recent winners from men’s volleyball.
The program has nine, tied with baseball and second to football (15). The other volleyball awardees were Jason Olive in 1995, Naveh Milo in 1998, Costas Theocharidis in 2003 and Alfee Reft in 2006. A Rainbow Wahine volleyball player has been named 11 times with nine winners from Wahine basketball.
The award is given annually to the top male and female senior student-athlete who “best exemplifies the ideals for which the late athletic direcotr Jack Bonham stood for in the areas of athletic excellence, academic achievement, public service, leadership and character.” Bonham was killed in 1974 in a plane crash in America Samoa when . returning to Hawaii from New Zealand where he was on a recruiting trip at the British Commonwealth Games.
Track & field standout Hannah Gaskins was the female awardee.
Parapunov, the Big West Conference Player of the Year, was a three-time, first-team All-American and finished his career ranked in the program’s Top 10 in kills and aces.
Off the court, Parapunov earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing and international business with a certificate in Russian and is on track to receive his master’s in marketing management later this year. He is currently playing for Bulgaria in the Volleyball Nations League.
“Rado led our team through his character and humble ways,” head coach Charlie Wade said. “He will go down in the history of the Rainbow Warrior volleyball program as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, to have played, and he gave his heart and soul to UH and the state of Hawaii. Despite English as his second language, he excelled academically and will leave UH with an advanced degree.”