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59 Years Ago…

(Written by Lance Tominaga / Narrated by Ku’ulei Agbayani)
With University of Hawaii football fans still reeling from the Mountain West Conference’s decision to not hold a college football season this fall, we look back to the year 1961 – the last time Hawaii did not play an intercollegiate schedule.

The announcement made the front page of the Jan. 27, 1961 edition of the Honolulu Advertiser: “Regents End UH Intercollege Football.” The school’s Board of Regents voted 8-0 (with one abstention) to drop football “for the time being.” UH President Laurence H. Snyder cited the financial burden of maintaining a college football program, pointing out that the financial commitment for hosting home games in the fall would be “well in the neighborhood of over $60,000, and I don’t see how we can continue under the existing situation.”

The Regents left open the possibility that the football team could play other local programs.

“I hate to close the door on something like this completely,” said Regent Richard Penhallow, representing the Big Island of Hawaii. “Perhaps in the future we can play in a local league or with Church College and maybe Chaminade if they field teams. I was a football player myself once, although not a very good one, but I still like football and I hate to see it die.”

Thankfully, the absence of Hawaii football was short-lived. The Rainbow Warriors returned to the field in 1962, going 6-2 against collegiate and club opponents.

The headline of the Jan. 27, 1961 Honolulu Advertiser.

“Too many sicknesses”? This ironic editorial cartoon was published in the Jan, 27, 1961 edition of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

The local sports community was not very impressed with UH relegating itself to club-level football.

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