Cindy Luis is an award-winning journalist with over 40 years of newspaper experience in Hawaii, Guam and California. In 2020, she retired from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the entity created by the merger of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser in 2010; she had been with the Star-Bulletin since 1981. She continues to write a column and other freelance articles for the Star-Advertiser, and currently is helping with a documentary on Bluegrass Music in Hawaii. She was certified to be a docent at ‘Iolani Palace in January 2023.
Luis was the first female in the Star-Bulletin sports department and, in 1999, became sports editor, the first woman to head a sports department in the state of Hawaii. While with the Star-Bulletin, she also was an assistant sports editor and weekly columnist, as well a beat writer for: the University of Hawaii women’s and men’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball teams; Division II colleges; and the Hawaii Islanders of the Triple A Pacific Coast League.
Her popular blog “VolleyShots” existed for nearly 15 years through the Star-Bulletin/Star-Advertiser, a platform for all things volleyball — collegiate, professional, international and high school. Her reputation for excellence in volleyball coverage led to Luis being recognized by USA Volleyball and the American Volleyball Coaches Association, the latter twice as the national print journalist of the year.
Luis also was a voter in the Associated Press Top 25 men’s basketball poll and the Harris Interactive College Football Poll, and continues to vote in the OffTheBlock volleyball media poll. She has served on the selection committees for the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame and the University of Hawaii Sports Circle of Honor. She currently is the historian for the UH Sports Circle of Honor.
Among the many events Luis has covered are the Maui Invitational college basketball tournament; the Hula Bowl collegiate all-star game; the Pro Bowl NFL all-star game; the Polynesian Bowl and Hall of Fame Induction; and the 2003 Super Bowl. She also covered numerous NCAA tournaments, including the women’s volleyball tournaments when Hawai’i won the national title (1982, ’83 and ’87) and the men’s volleyball tournament when Hawai’i won the NCAA title in 2021 and 22, and finished second (1995 and 2019).She also covered the Hawaii men’s basketball team during two NCAA and two NIT tournament runs.
Luis also has been an adjunct professor at the University of Hawaii, teaching sports journalism.
The San Diego native began her professional career while still in high school, covering high school boys basketball and baseball for the North Shore Sentinel, a bi-weekly community paper in San Diego.
While attending UCLA, she was one of the first women in the sports department at the Daily Bruin. She graduated in 1977 with a degree in Communication Studies and was a Chancellor’s Marshall at the commencement ceremony, an award given for outstanding service to the university.
In 1978, Luis was hired by Gannett Newspapers and took a sports writing job in Guam with the Pacific Daily News. After six months, she became sports editor, the first female in that position for Gannett and one of seven female sports editors in the country.
Luis remained with Gannett, moving to Hawaii to work for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in 1981.
The awards over some four decades include recognition from the Associated Press; Society of Professional Journalists; Hawaii Publishers Association; Guam Press Club; NCAA, Pacific West Conference; Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association; Kalos Kagathos (international sports coverage); Honolulu Quarterback Club; Association of Women in Sports Media; and the Women’s Sports Foundation.
The annual Hawaii women’s volleyball preview magazine earned national accolades including Best of the West by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) association.
Luis also had a role in the acclaimed documentary “Rise of the Wahine: Champions of Title IX.”
Her son, Tiff Wells, is a radio announcer for ESPN 1420-AM Honolulu, covering University of Hawaii men’s and women’s volleyball, and women’s basketball. They are the only mother-son duo in sports media in the country.
UCLA: B.A. Communication Studies, 1977
2021-: Writes a monthly sports column for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser
2010-2020: Sports writer, columnist at Honolulu Star-Advertiser
1981-2010: Sports editor, assistant sports editor, sports writer, columnist at Honolulu Star-Bulletin
1981-2020: Freelancer for the Associated Press, Gannett News Service as well as various newspapers and magazines on the U.S. mainland.
1978-1981: Sports editor, assistant sports editor, columnist, sports writer, editorial board member and editorial writer at Pacific Daily News, Guam
2017-19: Adjunct professor at University of Hawaii Manoa, Journalism-Communications Department (Sportswriting and sports media class)
Recognition from Associated Press; Society of Professional Journalists; Hawaii Publishers Association; Guam Press Club; NCAA, USA Volleyball; American Volleyball Coaches Association (two-time national writer of the year); Pacific West Conference; Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association; Kalos Kagathos (international sports coverage); Honolulu Quarterback Club; Association of Women in Sports Media; Women’s Sports Foundation
Her blog VolleyShots through the Star-Bulletin/Star-Advertiser was ranked Top 5 in the state of Hawaii since its inception in 2007. The annual Hawaii women’s volleyball preview magazine earned national recognition including Best of the West by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) association
She has served as the historian for the University of Hawaii Sports Circle of Honor since 2010, following two three-year terms on the selection committee.
Ka-ʻele-pulu: Pond (former fishpond), stream, and playground, now called Enchanted Lake, Kai-lua, Oʻahu. Lit., the moist blackness.