Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Saturday, November 20, 1999

Army would complete
service sweep for Rainbows

NAVY, Hawaii's opponent tonight, is the fourth football team this season that the Rainbows will be meeting for the first time.

The other three are Eastern Illinois - hopefully, for the last time - Rice and Texas Christian.

It's ironic to list the latter two since they are, after all, members of the same conference as the Rainbows. Or were, in the case of TCU in 2001.

In the case of Navy, you have to wonder what took so long to schedule the Midshipmen, considering the U.S. Navy and Pearl Harbor play such significant roles in Hawaii's history.

I remember suggesting back in the early 1980s that UH schedule Navy in 1985 because Dec. 7 fell on a Saturday. Perfecting timing, I thought.

Instead, Navy's only appearance here came in the 1996 Aloha Bowl when it defeated California, 38-25.

Now that the Rainbows have scheduled Navy, and having played the Air Force Academy 17 times, the obvious question is, will Army be next?

Good question, says athletic director Hugh Yoshida.

"We will definitely call them to see if they'd be interested in coming here," he said.

"Of course, they're another one of those option teams. I don't know if we'd want that."

Even though Army is in Conference USA, it would have no scheduling problem because of Hawaii's 12th-game exemption.

YOSHIDA thinks Army would definitely be interested in coming and the strong military presence here makes it an ideal matchup.

UH almost played Army exactly 50 years ago. I still remember the headline announcing that the Rainbows were going to play the Cadets.

It was shocking news then because Army was one of the super powers in college football along with Notre Dame and Oklahoma. It would be like like the 'Bows scheduling Florida State today.

If the Rainbows don't quite have the personnel to play the Seminoles today, imagine what it would have been like playing Army back then.

World War II had shut down the UH football program for four years. It was resurrected in 1946 with Tommy Kaulukukui as head coach and a bantamcock of a U.S. Army colonel named Francois d'Eliscu as athletic director.

The good colonel - who was once assigned to the U.S. embassy in Paris when France was liberated and the defeated Germans repatriated - never feared anyone or anything.

D'ELISCU first came to Hawaii in 1927 as chairman of the National AAU swimming committee for the dedication of the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium.

He liked it here so much, he stayed and married a McKinley High School teacher before being reassigned. Back he came in 1942 to teach jungle training at Schofield Barracks for the Pacific campaign before leaving for Paris. .

He returned to Hawaii and joined the Manoa faculty, also being named athletic director in 1946.

That's when he had the bright idea to schedule West Point because its two All-American running backs - Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard - were making national headlines.

"He wanted us to go bigtime," Kaulukukui recalled. "I didn't want to play Army. We didn't have the personnel."

School president Gregg Sinclair and the faculty concurred.

D'Eliscu resigned in 1948, and the 1949 game with Army game was canceled. Thankfully, for Army went 9-0 that year.

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

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