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Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Tuesday, March 28, 2000

Klompuses not out
of bowl picture

THREE years ago, Lenny Klompus moved the Hula Bowl to Maui. Now, he and his wife, Marcia, will be moving to the Valley Island as well. Well, for all intents and purposes.

"You haven't lost me yet," Klompus said when asked if he will no longer be involved with Bowl Games Hawaii.

Instead, they have turned over the day-to-day operations of Hawaii's three collegiate postseason games -- the Aloha Bowl, Oahu Bowl and the Hula Bowl -- to their attorney, Fritz Rohlfing.

But they will remain very actively involved by adding their expertise, and infuse more creative ideas to the bowl games. Instead of worrying about the "nuts and bolts" of the three bowl games, they plan on overseeing them and the extra time will help them provide a "bigger picture."

"We're still going to be much involved," Marcia said. "This frees us from the day-to-day stuff."

For example, yesterday Lenny attended a two-hour meeting that had nothing to do with football. He doesn't recall anything like that happening since he and Marcia first took over the Hula Bowl in September 1994.

The University of Hawaii Foundation had given up on the collegiate all-star game. At the time, the Klompuses were just hoping to keep the game alive.

It was on life support, two years short of making it an even 50 years. Not only did the Hula Bowl celebrate its 50th anniversary, it marched into the 21st century.

WHEN Kodak pulled out as title sponsor, the Klompuses were bold enough to sign on Hooters, despite some criticism that it was a politically incorrect sponsor.

Rivals.Com came aboard, much to the relief of the conservative American Football Coaches Association, which got involved with the Hula Bowl.

Klompus also tied the Hula Bowl with the Downtown Athletic Club, the people who award the Heisman Trophy, thereby associating the prestigious award with the Hula Bowl as well. Mind you, Lenny did all this while still handling the Aloha Bowl and Oahu Bowl.

Oh, and did I tell you the background of the Oahu Bowl, another Klompus brainchild?

In February 1998, he pitched the idea of a postseason college doubleheader at Aloha Stadium to the NCAA. Two months later, the NCAA approved the doubleheader and that December, the games were played.

Getting AFCA aboard, moving the Hula Bowl to Maui and coming up with the idea of an unprecedented football doubleheader. These are some of the ideas Klompus came up with while doing the nuts-and-bolts stuff. Somewhere in there, too, he was handling the Aloha State Games.

SO what can happen now if he only has to think about the "big picture" and come up with more creative ideas?

"It really gives us a chance now to take it to the next level," Klompus said. "Like making the Hula Bowl extraordinarily special."

While they still will remain very involved with the operations of the football bowl games, the Klompuses hope to explore activities in other forms of entertainment.

"We haven't had time to focus on other ideas before," he said. "We wanted to do something else," added Marcia.

For one thing, they will definitely spend more time at their Hula Bowl Maui store, which has an office in the back.

They used to spend three days in Honolulu, two on Maui. They figure to reverse it this time.

"But the plane flies both ways," said the Klompuses, who will continue to be busy. You can bet on that.

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

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