Sports Watch

Bill Kwon

By Bill Kwon

Thursday, March 18, 1999

It’s been a
season to forget
for Rainbows

IT'S spring training, which means it's almost time for spring football. The Hawaii Rainbows start spring camp March 29 with new head football coach June Jones. That, in itself, should make spring football of more than passing interest for Rainbow fans.

Spring is also time for spring cleaning.

And nothing will give me more satisfaction than throwing out the entire 1998-99 UH athletic season, even though there are still games remaining to play, notably in baseball and men's volleyball.


It's plain enough to see.

In all my years of watching the Rainbows, I haven't come across a single season in which UH sports teams have proved so collectively futile.

Maybe Les Murakami's baseball 'Bows can still find a way to win a game on the road -- there's hope for that yet with 3-game series at Air Force, Utah and San Diego State -- but never have UH athletic teams played so poorly than this forgettable season of 1998-99.

It used to be that only the Rainbow football team couldn't win on the road. Now, every UH team is failing to do so, and it has reached its nadir this season.

Take football.

Who can forget that the Rainbows suffered their worst season in history, going 0-12, including four losses on the road?

The overall losing streak, which Jones inherits, is currently at 18. Not to mention a 15-game losing streak on the road.

A WAC road game? Forget it. The football 'Bows haven't won a conference game away from home since Halloween, 1992, when they beat Texas-El Paso, 41-21. That means they're now 0-24 in WAC road games.

Now that's bad enough.

What has compounded the frustration for UH fans is that the basketball 'Bows also didn't win a single game on the road this season, losing all seven conference games away from home. Add the sorry 0-6 road record of the baseball 'Bows, that comes to a not-so-grand 0-17 showing so far. Only the Wahine volleyball and basketball teams have saved Hawaii's face.

Even the Rainbow men's volleyball team, which usually does well on the road, is struggling, winning only one of six road matches this season. Obviously, losing can be contagious at UH-Manoa.

HOW does this season compare with others of recent years?

During the 1997-98 season, when the football team went 0-4 on the road, the basketball 'Bows won four of seven games on the road, and Murakami's men won three games away from the friendly confines of Rainbow Stadium.

In 1996-97, the football Rainbows again went 0-4 on the road, but Riley Wallace's 'Bows were 5-3 and the UH baseball logged a respectable 6-10 road record.

You'd have to go back to Wallace's first season with Hawaii (1987-88) to find the Rainbow men's basketball team failing to win a road game. But that's with an asterisk, since Hawaii did beat Air Force, 84-76, in a WAC Tournament game in Provo, Utah, that season.

That victory snapped two long losing streaks for the basketball 'Bows. They had lost 19 straight road games and 28 WAC games on the road before winning in Provo, of all places.

But wouldn't you know it? Back then, the football Rainbows experienced no such trouble on the road, winning at New Mexico in 1987, and Utah and San Diego State in 1988.

So can you blame me for already looking forward to next season for the Rainbows? Even if they're opening the football season against USC.

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

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