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Ferd's Words

The 10 darkest days in UH sports history

Head down and grim-faced, University of Hawaii athletic director Jim Donovan stepped to the press conference microphone Wednesday in the wake of the Western Athletic Conference’s latest breakup and termed it a "dark day" for the school.

And no one in the somber Ed Wong Room of the Stan Sheriff Center seemed to disagree.

Just how "dark" — and where it rates among the worst days — is a matter of historical perspective, of course.

So, here’s one Top (bottom?) 10 version of the darkest days with the hope that the list doesn’t have to entertain any more candidates any time soon.

1. May 7, 1977 » The NCAA places the men’s basketball team on two-year probation, citing 68 rules violations. The team goes 1-26 in 1977-78 and it will be 12 more years and a couple of coaches before it goes to a postseason event again.

2. Jan. 16, 1993 » Less than three weeks after the Holiday Bowl triumph over Illinois, athletic director Stan Sheriff dies upon his return from an NCAA convention. The arena that carries his name and vision opens less than two years later.

3. Jan. 3, 2008 » After taking the Warriors to a No. 17 ranking and a Bowl Championship Series appearance but unable to get a new contract done, head football coach June Jones leaves for Southern Methodist.

4. Aug. 18, 2010 » Fresno State and Nevada announce they are following Boise State out the door to the Mountain West Conference, leaving a six-team, vastly weakened WAC and a shaky future for UH.

With their departure, 16 teams will have left the WAC in UH’s tenure.

5. Sept. 5, 2003 » The NCAA strips the men’s volleyball team of its 2002 national championship — the only one by a men’s team at the school — for using a player with professional experience.

Costas Theocharidis, the only player named to the NCAA All-America volleyball team four times, is erased from the record books and UH is fined $5,000.

6. Nov. 28, 1998 » Michigan slaps a 48-17 loss on UH as the Warriors complete an 0-12 season that ties the NCAA record for football futility and runs the nation’s longest losing streak at the time to 18 games.

The streak will reach 19 games before the Warriors beat Division I-AA opponent Eastern Illinois in the second game of the 1999 season.

7. June 21, 2002 » With winning teams in football and men’s basketball and a deficit of just $296,000, Herman Frazier is hired as UH athletic director. After he is fired in 2008, the audit of his final budget year reveals an accumulated net deficit of $5.4 million.

8. June 1, 1998 » Eight schools — Air Force, Brigham Young, Colorado State, Nevada-Las Vegas, New Mexico, San Diego State, Utah and Wyoming — announce they are bolting the WAC to form a new conference that eventually will be named the Mountain West.

9. Jan. 1, 2008 » UH’s magical unbeaten football season goes down hard in a 41-10 thumping by Georgia on national TV in the Sugar Bowl.

10. July 29, 2009 » Football coach Greg McMackin repeats a gay slur in an interview session with reporters at the WAC football preview in Salt Lake City igniting a storm of criticism, reaping national notoriety and drawing a fine and suspension from UH.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@staradvertiser.com.


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