Thursday, October 23, 2014         

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Rich Sheriff is right. There is no bad seat in the arena that he runs and which is named for his father, Stan, the man who built the facility that instantly became one of the best things going at the University of Hawaii -- and still is, after 20 years.

On Saturday, the University of Hawaii football team eclipsed the program mark set in 1998 for road futility with its 20-10 loss at San Diego State, a nation-leading 16th in a row away from home. Norm Chow has been coach for 15 of them.

As of Saturday afternoon it appeared Ana wouldn't get close enough to Oahu to cause major damage. But the threat of the storm forced evacuation of Saturday's schedule and created a Friday night lineup of Hawaii high school football match-ups unprecedented in mass appeal and intrigue.

The University of Hawaii football team is in a strange land of precarious confidence right now. As the Rainbow Warriors prepare for Saturday's game at San Diego State, they are still trying to win on the road for the first time since 2011.

Sam Spangler can't lose in this year's NLCS. He's a lifelong San Francisco Giants fan. But he's also an ardent supporter of his former University of Hawaii baseball teammate, St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong.

Perhaps the most rewarding thing for the University of Hawaii football team Saturday night wasn't just that it won a game … but, rather, how it won. It was a synergistic and gutsy effort from all corners.

All season the University of Hawaii defense had done more than its share and mostly come up empty. But Saturday at Aloha Stadium the Rainbow Warriors got a full-team effort and big plays from both sides of the ball and finally came away with a win, and against an FBS opponent.

Maybe the first thing to remember about the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame is that it isn't just the Hawaii Football Hall of Fame. So, when a guy like Luther Elliss gets voted in, we shouldn't be surprised.

The players in the orange jerseys were off-limits not only for the defenders at Hawaii football practice on Tuesday. Reporters wanting to know how Taylor Graham felt about getting more repetitions and Ikaika Woolsey fewer snaps from center with the starters were also prohibited from going after the quarterbacks.

There's nothing worse than trying to mask self-interest with pretending to care about someone else's extreme misfortune. It's downright shameful.

OK, so here's the positive spin: The University of Hawaii football team is still undefeated. As coach Norm Chow told the Rainbow Warriors after yet another loss of a winnable game, they are 0-0 in the conference.

When the University of Hawaii football team came through here seven years ago -- staying at the same hotel, even -- it wasn't to play Rice, which is the Rainbow Warriors' mission Saturday night.

You almost have to know they're there beforehand to notice them. Among the 4,300 trees on the Rice University campus stand three palms, near the stadium that is home to one of the best college baseball programs in the country.

As any poker player will tell you, it usually takes more than an ace to win a big hand. Sometimes it can even contribute to you losing a bundle. And you can go on tilt and lose your rhythm after something good happening as easily as something bad.

”Just handle what’s in front of you now, and the future will take care of itself.” — Dan Millman, “Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior” That’s good advice for any golfer, but it was especially true Saturday as most of the Champions Tour pillaged windless and hence defenseless Kapolei Golf Course.

It's a nondescript little building at Kapolei Golf Course. But for many of the players at the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship this weekend, time spent there will be as important as that at the practice areas.

Kevin Clune has seen first-hand the rare victory and a more common loss for the University of Hawaii football team when playing far from home at altitude.

It was a good week for University of Hawaii offensive line coach Chris Naeole. Thursday he was named one of 25 finalists for the next induction class of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame. Saturday the Rainbow Warriors got their first win of the season, 27-24 over Northern Iowa.

It wasn't a masterpiece by any means. But the Rainbow Warriors will take it. The University of Hawaii football team did what it needed to do to win a game, its first of the season and second in 15 including all of 2013.

Only a few of the 30,000 sets of eyes at Aloha Stadium were focused on him. Josh Donovan was just doing his job in the fourth quarter of the University of Hawaii football game against Oregon State last Saturday.

It's been a hot topic of pau hana discussion from Waialae to Waianae for years now ... almost since he left seven years ago. But now that June Jones has resigned from SMU the speculation that he will return to the University of Hawaii, where he worked miracles with the football program as head coach, is rampant.

Things went from bad to worse for University of Hawaii football as news spread that running back Joey Iosefa will miss a big chunk of the season due to injury. It was the worst fear of what might happen in the first two games against Pac-12 teams.

At halftime, this one looked like it was going to end up really ugly. And the third quarter didn’t provide much in the way of lipstick for the pig, as Oregon State built its lead to 31 points.

Could it be that orange is the new blue? Or the new red? Or the new … well, the new orange? If familiarity does indeed breed contempt, Oregon State is an opponent that should fire up Hawaii the way BYU, Fresno State and Boise State have in the past.

It takes money for University of Hawaii sports to survive and more money for them to thrive. Anyone who didn't already know that has learned it recently.

The University of Hawaii volleyball faithful finally got to see a bona fide Rainbow Wahine go-to terminator Sunday night, three matches into the season. But she was sitting on the opponents' bench, and her eligibility was expended long ago.

Here's what I don't understand. Why were people, obviously University of Hawaii fans judging by their attire, streaming out of Aloha Stadium with 2:40 left in the game and UH down by just one point?

Washington is favored by around 17 points against host Hawaii in Saturday's season-opening football game for both schools. Rick Blangiardi is poised to tell the Rainbow Warriors that ain't nuthin'.

Everybody knows in football the defense's job is to stop the other team's offense. Kevin Clune takes the simplicity a step further. "Let them score less than we score," the new University of Hawaii defensive coordinator said when asked for the basic goal of his unit, after Tuesday's practice, four days before the season opener against Washington.

Gray clouds hovered over Manoa valley Friday morning. But University of Hawaii soccer coach Michele "Bud" Nagamine and her Rainbow Wahine can find the sunny side of a hard-boiled egg. Maybe even a rotten one.

Maybe I'm too optimistic for the University of Hawaii football season that begins a week from Saturday against Washington at Aloha Stadium. If the Rainbow Warriors don't close out games better than they did while winning just one last year, there's no way they'll go 4-9 this fall, like I think they can.

Hawaii high school football has never been better. Unfortunately, it has also never been worse. The individual talent continues to improve. As does the coaching. This senior class of football players is considered among the state's best by college recruiters; some say it will be the finest crop ever.

When Saint Louis dominated Hawaii high school football for a decade and a half, people paid attention. It would take a while, but there were enough energetic young coaches eager to learn and enough talented kids, spread throughout the islands, to eventually change the paradigm.

Trivia hasn't been the same since the advent of the Internet. Librarians, bartenders, sports editors and radio producers rejoice that answers to questions like, "Who won the Triple Crown in 1967?" can now be found with a few easy keystrokes instead of a telephone call to an "expert."

So University of Hawaii sports has finally hit the big time again, six-and-a-half years after appearing in the Sugar Bowl.

We always know the University of Hawaii women's volleyball team is going to be good. The question year after year is how good, and the standards are higher than they are for any other team on campus, except perhaps the sailing squad.

Yes, it's hot in Cleveland. Actually, warm and fairly pleasant this time of year. "Kind of like Hawaii, about 75, 80 degrees," Tony Tuioti says in a phone call from the shores of Lake Erie. "Beautiful weather. But it can change quickly."

Moses Samia has the right mind-set about riding out the storm. "I'm not too concerned because the weather is out of our control," the University of Hawaii defensive tackle said after practice Thursday morning.

Pretty good isn't good enough for Ikaika Woolsey, and that makes Jordan Wynn very happy. To most observers -- including Wynn, Hawaii's quarterbacks coach -- Woolsey did nothing during Tuesday's practice to lose his tentative spot at the front of the UH starting QB race.

You know why people bet the over, as in how many points will be scored in a football game? Couple reasons. One is it's more fun to cheer for offense. The other is you can hit it during the game and then stop worrying about it.

The man whose name is the answer to my favorite local sports trivia question holds a job that is by no means trivial. First guy to throw a touchdown pass at Aloha Stadium?

The fallout of reassigning the University of Hawaii-Manoa chancellor includes these questions: Is the position is even necessary? Can the UH president can just assume those duties? As a state taxpayer, it sounds like a good idea.

Brian Derby expects big things from one of the recent alumni of his popular youth and high school football lineman camp.

It was two years ago this month when Tom Apple — during his first week on the job as University of Hawaii Manoa chancellor — was trotted out in front of reporters to talk about something that had gone terribly awry.

It's too bad for Hawaii the college sports world doesn't revolve around women's volleyball instead of football and men's basketball. The University of Hawaii would be doing fine.

OK, everybody. Spread out. Norm Chow says that's what the University of Hawaii football team's offense will do this fall. The initial reaction is to rant and rave and say he never should have bunched up and tried to play smashmouth in the first place.

How does a college basketball coach get a three-year contract extension when his program is under NCAA investigation — a probe that has been ongoing for nearly four months now?

Like a typical grandparent, George Gusman watched with joy as 12-year-old Dominic played baseball last week in a tournament. As an experienced high school coach, he also took interest in the way the youth team coach moved the players around the field.

Sometimes blessings bring problems. And so it is with pitchers and arm injuries. Hawaii's weather allows for baseball year-round, which sounds like a great thing

So what happens if you start a Hall of Fame and it's obvious to all that you belong in it? That appeared to be a challenging dilemma for the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame, which otherwise enjoyed a wildly successful and smooth debut with its inaugural enshrinement activities in January.

It's all H logos and Warriors, just a couple of shirts with Rainbow Warriors. The only rainbow logo I saw on the first day of business at the new Ward Centre store Tuesday was on the shirt of 1420-AM radio producer Alan Miya.

At least it's finally out there for real discussion. It only cost $250,000 of state money to have a mainland company tell us to make the next stadium on Oahu smaller ... which is basically what our "stakeholders" told them to tell us.

Fans of East Coast football teams who live in Hawaii know all about rising before the sun to watch big games. So do sports bar owners. They can rely on healthy sized, loyal crowds.

Michelle Wie has come a long way, and probably has a long way to go. If she remains healthy and motivated, the 24-year-old winner of the U.S. Women's Open could continue winning golf tournaments, including majors, for at least another 15 years.

In 2003, when Michelle Wie was already becoming famous and playing in her first major, Kurt Suzuki was a walk-on at Cal State Fullerton, no one in Hawaii had heard of Colt Brennan and only a few in the islands remembered an Illinois state senator named Barack Obama.

If we had to pick a theme song for the early going of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)" would be a good choice. Not just in the figurative sense that in the first week of matches goal scoring was higher in Brazil than it was four years ago in South Africa.

Quick, someone call Child Protective Services. There's an 11-year-old being abused. She's playing golf and eating ice cream. She's hanging out with her idols. She's being ruined for life. Lucy Li, who is younger than my car, played her way into the U.S. Women's Open. Fair and square.

With the news of Kamehameha winning the National Interscholastic Surfing Championships in Dana Point, Calif., over the weekend, I was reminded of something from three years ago.

Hang in there, U.S. soccer fans. Your national team will dominate the world someday. That's been the message for around 40 years now, going back to when Kyle Rote Jr. was a superstar in the North American Soccer League.

If you can't grasp what all the commotion is about with the Washington NFL team's nickname, watch the commercial that the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation paid to air during the NBA Finals this week.

Many of us have been there. Waiting for a late check that will cover the rent that was due yesterday and the groceries that your body says you need now.

Now, with the pro draft concluded, comes the next recruiting phase for University of Hawaii baseball coach Mike Trapasso. You know, the one that didn't go so well last year.

OK, quick. Which Hawaiian island is the only one that has been home to an NBA All-Star, a big leaguer who appeared in the World Series and a Super Bowl champion? Yes, it's the Big Island.

The Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association has brought together an impressive array of speakers for its annual conference this week, including former Moanalua basketball player Angela Perez Baraquio-Grey -- who also happened to be Miss America in 2001.

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association honors its Hall of Honor inductees for 2014 on Sunday evening.

When I pose the wildly hypothetical question of Donald Sterling as University of Hawaii sports financial savior, UH athletic director Ben Jay laughs and replies with the proper two-letter answer: "No."

After working as a team member last year in the successful effort to keep the sport in the Olympics, the 2012 freestyle bronze medalist who turns 33 this summer is back to the individual grind.

Considering the way the University of Hawaii baseball team gave the game away Friday, there was no way it could stand as the season finale — as emblematic of the season as it is.

Regardless of how the NCAA investigation of the University of Hawaii basketball program pans out, if UH tries to punish head coach Gib Arnold — especially with termination — the school can expect a fight.

One of the best things about high school sports is that the wins and losses matter less than they do in college and the pros. Yes, of course the players try as hard, in some cases harder. And sometimes the defeats are more difficult to take.

Today is the final signing day for college basketball recruits, but for the University of Hawaii it's more like sighing day and reflecting on what might have been — while remaining nervous about what might come to be.

One of my siblings and I never cheated in Monopoly. The other three did, constantly (full disclosure: if I were not the eldest, I might have too). Who won? Nobody. I don't think we ever actually finished a game.

The NCAA probe of the University of Hawaii men's basketball program has expanded beyond UH staff and players, according to a man who describes himself as a "fan." He told the Star-Advertiser he was interviewed by an NCAA investigator Saturday.

With 32 individual titles at stake, there was plenty of drama despite the lopsided team standings at Saturday's HHSAA/Island Movers State Track and Field Championships at Kamehameha.

The present for University of Hawaii athletics is shaky and the future is uncertain at best. But UH can still celebrate its past.

Jay Marumoto was an outstanding pole vaulter at Punahou. But in the final event of his high school career, he failed. He was considered the top vaulter entering the field.

Another offseason and surprise, surprise, surprise: Another drama for the University of Hawaii men's basketball team and coach Gib Arnold. This latest one makes the others seem like the "absolutely nothing" that Arnold claimed this would be.

There's a University of Hawaii athletic team with an 18-3 record that is unbeaten as the visiting team and is one of six schools remaining to compete for a Division I national championship.

You had to be an accountant to figure out the scoring system for the University of Hawaii spring football finale. But it doesn't take much expertise at all to know if Joey Iosefa was let loose, the defense wouldn't have had its way with the offense as much as it did Saturday at Ching Field.

When Ikaika Woolsey played high school football in the Bay Area, announcers wouldn't even try to pronounce his name that translates in Hawaiian to "strength" or "warrior."

Moments following the greatest bogey of her career, Michelle Wie was doused with champagne. As she walked off the 18th green toward the scorer's tent, it was hard to tell if she was wiping a tear or a drop of bubbly from under her eye.

It will be a big challenge for Michelle Wie to seal the deal Saturday. But her station near the top of the LPGA Lotte Championship leaderboard may have already helped complete a big one for the tournament itself.

First the disclaimers. Watch out for Cristie Kerr. Bogey-free 6 under par on Thursday. Top 10 in her past three events. She's got 16 career wins and she's tied for third just two strokes off the lead.

It's not a novelty flavor of the day kind of thing that kim chee is available at the players' lunch buffet here at the LPGA Lotte Championship at Ko Olina Golf Club. It's a staple for a large portion of the field.

There was the beach and the local food last week, and Saturday night there's a Ping-Pong tournament for charity. In the middle of it, Michelle Wie will find time to play some golf.

Some University of Hawaii baseball fans have understandably lost their sense of humor with the home team dropping six consecutive conference games in its own park the past two weekends. The catcalls were scattered but loud toward the end of the latest defeat Sunday.

Back in the 1990s I spent a surreal and enjoyable afternoon at a friend's home playing a college basketball video game with some Rainbow Warriors players ... with the student-athletes often manipulating representations of themselves and their teammates on the screen.

My, oh my. The sky is falling because Hawaii won't host the Pro Bowl in 2015, and maybe not in 2017, as well. How will we ever survive this calamity? Wait, a second there …

Today we look at one from the Be Careful What You Ask For Department. Basketball coach Gib Arnold has made the only public statements regarding the NCAA's investigation of his University of Hawaii program.

One of those old-fashioned rock'em sock'em, backyard brawl, end-of-the-series college baseball games broke out Sunday at Murakami Stadium. It was the kind you saw a lot more often when the balls and the bats weren't so pitcher-friendly.

"Unique" is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot, often inaccurately. But University of Hawaii football player Scott Harding is truly one of a kind.

After the incident at University of Hawaii football practice Tuesday morning, I was asked by UH sports media relations director Derek Inouchi if I'd be willing to meet with coach Norm Chow to "clear the air."

See you at practice, Coach Chow. You don't have to talk to me, that's your choice. But you can't bar me from watching your University of Hawaii football team practice and from writing about the Rainbow Warriors the good things and the bad.

A regional National Labor Relations Board ruling allowing one college football team to unionize is the first move in what will be a very long, complicated and drawn-out process.

Ken Wagner is a man of faith, but he lives in the real world. So, with Brigham Young-Hawaii's intercollegiate athletic program slated for extinction in three years he hopes for the best and ... well you know the rest.

Usually, baseball guys are baseball guys and soccer guys are soccer guys and never the twain shall meet. But the Star-Bulletin's Al Chase was both.

It’s March 26. Do you know where your 2015 Pro Bowl is? Unless the NFL pulls a surprise flea-flicker in the final minutes Wednesday, its annual meetings will have ended without a decision of where its all-star game will be played after the upcoming season.

Two keys when analyzing University of Hawaii baseball as it heads into Big West competition are SOS and TBA. They staggered into port at 16-35, with just four more wins than UH has now less than halfway through the 2014 campaign.

Some University of Hawaii basketball fans are embarrassed that the conference its team plays in, the Big West, was represented in the NCAA Tournament by Cal Poly, a team with an overall losing record, finishing at 14-20.

Laura Beeman can coach and everyone on the West Coast knows it. The Pac-12 was already well aware of her as an assistant at USC and as a longtime junior college head coach at Mt. San Antonio.

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