FRESNO, Calif. >>> University of Hawaii football Nick Rolovich says he is all for the awarding of a Golden Screwdriver Trophy to the winner of the long-running UH-Fresno State series.
The Rainbow Warriors play Fresno State Saturday at Bulldog Stadium in the 49th meeting between the two, the longest with any UH opponent.
“We’ve got to get that (trophy) going,” Rolovich said. “Heck, if we win I’d put that in the trophy case.”
The trophy was the result of a contest held several years ago by ESPN radio 940 in Fresno in which the station asked listeners to design something to symbolize the rivalry between the two schools.
It is in recognition of an alleged incident from the teams’ 2002 game in Fresno. In the aftermath of UH’s 31-21 victory, Hawaii’s first in Bulldog Stadium, head coach June Jones claimed several objects were thrown at the UH sideline, including a screwdriver where he was standing.
Fresno State issued an apology at the time saying, “we believe that a screwdriver was thrown by one of our fans at the University of Hawaii team bench.”
The incident has been an object of controversy ever since, the story taking on a life of its own with many debating whether it actually happened.
When the station first sought to present the trophy Fresno State balked, saying it would not be recognized by the school which, at the time, was trying to clean up an image of belligerent fans.
The radio station has displayed the trophy at its tailgate before UH-Fresno games at Bulldog Stadium.
Rolovich said if the trophy were to be awarded, “It would be fun. That legend will grow and, pretty soon, it’ll be a mechanic jumped out from behind the goal post and was throwing screwdrivers at June like a ninja.”
UH has, in recent years, resumed trophy games with Wyoming, where the Paniolo Trophy is awarded, and Air Force, where the Laurence S. Kuter Trophy is given to the winner.
Rolovich has sought to bring other trophies to long-running UH series and came with with the Paradise Trophy for the winner of UH’s series with Nevada-Las Vegas this year.
Fresno State has the “Old Oil Can” series with San Diego State.