Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Saturday, October 9, 1999

Rice has no idea
what a real long
road trip is

THE Rice Owls, pointing out that playing Hawaii tonight at Aloha Stadium is the school's longest road trip in history, made former Rainbow quarterback Alex Kaloi laugh.

"Texas to here? Come on, give me a break," said Kaloi, a dentist practicing in Waianae.

Kaloi knows what the longest football road trip feels like. He was the quarterback on the UH team that played Rutgers in New Brunswick, N.J., on Oct. 4, 1975.

It's still the longest road trip -- some 4,950 miles -- for the football 'Bows, who usually don't stray too far from home.

"That trip was something else," said Kaloi. "It was just so far. The weather was cold, at least to me. It was one of the worst games I've ever played."

The Rainbows lost to the Scarlet Knights, 7-3. They went all that distance only to fall 13 yards short of a go-ahead TD late in the game.

A conscientious student back in those days, Kaloi remembered that he missed three full days of classes to get there.

The 'Bows left Wednesday, spent that night in Los Angeles, flew to Chicago the following day, changed planes and then went on to New York.

KALOI remembers the heart-breaking defeat, a fun night following the game with his teammates at a three-level dance hall with a busload of sorority girls from UMass and that's about all.

Except that it was sure a long way from home for a local boy.

Among Kaloi's fellow travelers to Rutgers were Arnold Morgado, Cliff Laboy and Henry Noa, uncle of current Rainbow starting right tackle Kaulana Noa.

Interestingly, new UH coach June Jones would have made that trip if he hadn't transferred to Portland State that season.

With head coach Larry Price deciding to go with a "Hula-T" featuring a running quarterback instead of a drop-back passer, Jones left the team.

"I never played with someone who's a more class act than June," Kaloi said. "I see he's still the same class guy now."

Jones remembers his "longest" road trip. It was a 15-hour bus ride one way from Portland to Montana State.

"We rode nine hours to Spokane, where we stayed the night. The next morning we went six more hours for the game. We lost and drove 15 hours straight back without stopping," he said.

He wonders 'til this day if Mouse Davis would have let his team stop over on the way back, if they had won.

THE Rainbows' first road trip was in 1923, when they went to Cal Poly-Pomona.

In 1935 they played back-to- back games at Denver and UCLA, marking the first time the Rainbows played two games away from home.

Mind you, it was an arduous trek in those days. They had to go by boat, taking four days just to get to the West Coast before training it inland.

Until Rutgers, the farthest the Rainbows traveled for a football game was to Tennessee in 1972.

The 1952 season was the first time that the Rainbows played three games away and in 1960 they opened with four straight road games. No wonder, UH dropped football the following year.

As for teams coming this way, the Maine Black Bears have traveled the farthest, losing to the 1990 Rainbows, 44-3.

Boston College, Central Florida, Pittsburgh, Yale, West Virginia, Temple and Rutgers also made their longest road trips ever, playing the Rainbows here. Once, apparently, was enough for them.

South Carolina came twice -- in 1977 and 1981 -- and lost both times.

So, Rice, this is nothing.

Bill Kwon has been writing about
sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

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