Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, June 7, 2002


UH-Alabama deal
‘close,’ ADs say

Yoshida says a deal could be
done 'in a couple weeks'

By Dave Reardon

A football game between Alabama and Hawaii on Nov. 30 at Aloha Stadium is close to reality, athletics directors at both schools said.

"There are some details to be done, but it's very encouraging," UH's Hugh Yoshida said yesterday. "It could be finalized in a couple weeks."

Alabama's Mal Moore told Crimson Tide fans basically the same thing.

"We are close to having the contracts consummated," Moore wrote in an e-mail to subscribers of Crimson Tradition Web site Wednesday.

Alabama would replace Washington State on UH's schedule. The Cougars opted to pull out because of a schedule change giving them a nationally televised game against UCLA the following Saturday.

The Crimson Tide could go on probation for past rule violations, pending an NCAA ruling in August. That would prevent Alabama from playing in postseason games, making a season-ending meeting in Hawaii more attractive.

"We have made certain with the NCAA and the SEC that there are no problems with us competing in this event, and ESPN has agreed to televise it," Moore wrote.

ESPN was planning to show the Hawaii-Washington State game, anyway, giving UH an unprecedented three nationally televised games (the others are at Brigham Young and Fresno State). The Warriors and Crimson Tide would play at 3 p.m. Hawaii time to accommodate viewers in Alabama.

Hawaii and Alabama have never played football against each other. Alabama was here for the 1985 Aloha Bowl, in which it beat USC 24-3.

Run-and-shoot and Rising Sun: Part of June Jones' master plan is for Hawaii to become Japan's football team. The Warriors coach wants to have a game there by 2004, and he hopes to find a Japanese recruit or two as the sport grows in popularity.

Assistant coaches Wes Suan and Rich Miano are going to Japan this month, specifically Osaka University.

"Wes and Rich are going to do some clinics and make contacts with the people involved to have a game over there," Jones said. "They came to see us last spring, so it's like an exchange deal."

Walking on: Wide receiver Nainoa Kuna and quarterback Preston Maloney have agreed to walk on to the UH football team.

Kuna is a former Punahou athlete who played his senior season at Westchester High in Los Angeles. Although he was injured part of the season, he caught five touchdown passes. After returning from the injury, he played tailback and safety. He returned to Punahou for the spring semester and recently graduated.

Kuna is 6 feet and 210 pounds, and has run 40 yards in 4.4 seconds on several occasions, according to his father, Steve Kuna. The elder Kuna was a high school teammate of UH receivers coach Ron Lee at St. Louis School.

"His uncle (Colorado assistant Brian Cabral) recruited him pretty hard," Steve Kuna said. "But they wanted him to play defense, and the UH coaches asked him where he wanted to play."

Maloney comes from Santa Barbara High School, where he broke passing records set by Randall Cunningham. He is 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. Maloney was lightly recruited because he missed most of his junior season with a broken arm.

"My two choices were San Diego State and Hawaii because I like areas near the beach," Maloney said. "Hawaii became my first choice because the offense is exactly the same as what we ran in high school and I like June Jones and (quarterbacks coach) Dan Morrison."

Including Maloney, at least seven quarterbacks will be in fall camp. The others are sophomore Tim Chang, senior Shawn Withy-Allen, junior Jason Whieldon, sophomore Kainoa Akina, and freshmen Jeff Rhode and Ryan Stickler. Akina is a transfer and must sit out this season.

"You can never have too many quarterbacks," Jones said.

Short yardage: Junior safety Dan Berryman will not return to the team this fall, Miano said. Berryman, an army veteran, has decided to return to active duty and go to flight school. "He would have helped us on special teams with his speed and leaping ability," Miano said. ... Orlando Wong, a UH recruit of two years ago, is expected back from his religious mission in November and will likely report to the team next spring. He played quarterback at Kahuku High School. ... With basketball coach Riley Wallace's new contract being finalized, the logical question is when Jones' will be addressed. But UH vice president Paul Costello said discussions to renegotiate the remaining two years of Jones' five-year, $400,000 a season deal have not re-opened since talks stalled in January. ... With the track at Cooke Field being torn up, the UH players are holding their informal workouts on the grass practice fields -- which, unfortunately for the coaches, are out of their field of vision from their office windows. ... New players report Aug. 5, veterans are expected Aug. 8 and practice begins Aug. 14.

UH Athletics

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