University of Hawaii reserve quarterback Hunter Hughes could have danced all night.
In an elaborate scheme concocted by that mad genius — head coach Nick Rolovich — Hughes was brought into the ring during Wednesday night’s WWE show in the Blaisdell Arena.
It was there where Rolovich, who had accompanied New Day, pulled out a manila folder containing a football scholarship. But Rolovich said Hughes would have to dance for it.
It evoked memories of three years ago, when Hughes was asked to dance during a football practice.
“That was a little embarrassing, but I’m willing to take it,” Hughes said.
It was an emotional moment for Hughes, who arrived in Hawaii as part of a non-profit Christian organization that helped people worldwide. Hughes had successfully earned a spot on the UH spring roster following a tryout in 2014.
But Hughes was cut after that spring practice. He tried out again in March 2015, then finally rejoined last year. Although he has not played in a game, much less taken a snap with the first or second units in practices, he was voted to the 14-player leadership council during the offseason.
“He may never play for us, but he does everything right,” Rolovich said, adding Hughes is a leader on and off the field. “Probably if you looked at him, you would say he doesn’t belong on a D-1 football team. But his heart does. It’s hard to win football games. But it’s not hard to change somebody’s life. I’m glad we got everyone involved and we got that one done.”
Hughes said he probably will deposit his first scholarship check into his bank account. He has paid for school and living expenses through loans and his work as a graphic artist. His art also can be found on quarterback Dru Brown’s left arm.
“It hasn’t been easy, I’m not going to lie,” Hughes said of making ends meet. “(The scholarship is) absolutely incredible. It still hasn’t hit me.”
For more Hawaii football, visit the Warrior Beat blog.