Warrior fight songs
have Jones and
Moore fired up
The football coach calls
the newscaster "negative"
following his musical critique
While many other football teams have quarterback controversies, the University of Hawaii Warriors dealt with a music controversy during the last couple of days.
Two of the state's most visible public figures -- UH coach June Jones and KHON-TV2 news anchor Joe Moore -- have squared off over six new musical tracks created and donated to UH by Grammy Award-winning composer Mike Post, to be used this fall during Warriors home games.
Moore blasted the idea of the new music at the end of his newscast Wednesday night. He questioned using the new tracks if they interfere with the UH band, in particular its playing of the theme from "Hawaii 5-0," which Moore calls the school's "unofficial fight song."
Jones responded yesterday morning, first on KKEA-1420's "Bobby Curran Show" and then to newspaper reporters.
"I don't have time for people who are negative, especially when they don't do their homework. Joe Moore didn't do his homework," Jones told the Star-Bulletin. "We haven't played 'Hawaii 5-0' (at the start of games) in six years. We are respectful to the band. Mike Post has agreed to meet with the band, write some specific music for them and include them. We did everything the right way. And he didn't do his homework, and he's reporting to the people something that isn't true, and I have no time for that."
Moore responded to Jones' comments yesterday in a phone interview with the Star-Bulletin.
"Since the early 1970s, 'Hawaii 5-0' has been the unofficial fight song. I know they quit playing it when they run on the field, but they still play it between quarters and at other times," Moore said. "It's just my personal opinion. 'Hawaii 5-0' is a great unofficial fight song. It's a feel-good song, it gets the blood pumping and it brings a sense of pride. Why bring in something different and say it's Polynesian?"
UH band director Gwen Nakamura said the new music will not affect the band, and it will continue to play "Hawaii 5-0" during games.
"We're still going to play it whenever we can," she said. "I think we'll all work together and try to make a good atmosphere. Everybody will have their role and ours hasn't changed."
Moore respects the job Jones has done during his five years at UH "on the field," he said. But he added that he does not like several of the changes Jones has spearheaded.
"It might be the straw that breaks the camel's back for me personally. First they change the uniform, then they change the name. I think it's sad. I don't think you should change things just for the sake of changing them," he said. "I think it sucks, but maybe I'm just a guy in his 50s, even though coach Jones is in his 50s, too, who doesn't want things to change."
Moore softened his stance somewhat on last night's early newscast, saying he had talked with Jones and that the whole thing was a "tempest in a teapot."
Still, Jones has been one of the state's most popular and controversial figures of the last five years.
Hawaii is 40-25 and has won two of three bowl games since the arrival of Jones, who spent most of his earlier coaching career in the NFL.
Jones, inheriting a team that went 0-12 the previous year, led UH to a 9-4 record in 1999. The former UH player and assistant coach then was able to change the team's nickname from Rainbows, or Rainbow Warriors, to Warriors, despite a large amount of public opposition.
Jones nearly died in a one-car crash after the 2000 season in which UH went 3-9. Since then the Warriors are 28-12, including two bowl wins and regular-season victories over Brigham Young and Alabama.
The coach's salary came under criticism from some corners when he received an $800,000-a-year contract last year after lengthy negotiations, making him the state's highest-paid public employee. (Half of the salary comes from unnamed private donors.)
"I think coach Jones has done a terrific job on the field. Fans want a winner and they got a winner. Some of the changes just seem unnecessary," Moore said.
Moore has been the state's most visible newscaster for nearly 20 years and has also been active as a writer and actor.
He said when he checked his voice mail at work yesterday, he had 23 messages, and 21 of them were in support of his opinion about the music at the games.
Jones was asked if he thought Moore was trying to generate a controversy.
"I have no idea what it is. Some people are born positive people, and some are negative," he said.
Post, who has also won an Emmy Award in addition to six Grammys, has produced many famous television themes, including those for "NYPD Blue," "Law & Order," "Magnum PI," "Hill Street Blues" and "L.A. Law."
He and Jones have been friends for about five years, according to a UH release earlier this week introducing the music.
"We wanted to create a sound that the program and the players could be proud of," Post said in the release. "At the same time, we wanted to be correct and respectful of the cultures and the traditions involved. Polynesia already has a great musical tradition, and what we did was pull sounds from a thousand years ago and mended them with sounds of today. I have been a lifelong football fan, and this was one way I could contribute to the Hawaii program. This sound belongs to the program, the players and the people. I hope it can help create a musical signature that will last for another thousand years."
Reaction from UH players has been positive.
"I like it," senior defensive tackle Lui Fuga said. "Those are good songs for us, they give us our own identity and will get us pumped up. Sometimes we get tired of the same old things the band plays."