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Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Thursday, July 27, 2000

What the H is
going on here?

H -- That's the new University of Hawaii athletic logo. The H, you say. Get out of here.

Nope, I'm not kidding.

No more Rainbow logo. No more Go 'Bows in football.

The UH athletic department, with the blessing of football coach June Jones, has dropped the long-honored rainbow as a symbol of the school's athletic teams.

It was replaced with an H.

A filigreed H with a triangulated kapa design on both sides of the letter. Kind of looks like a termite-eaten H.

Admittedly different, the H will take some getting used to.

As Jim Manke, interim director for university and community relations, said, "People will either love it or hate it."

He's right. There's no in between.

Me? Put me in the hate camp.

In a word, ugly. In a more charitable word, generic.

The rainbow remains to me as one of the most distinctive logos you'll ever find in the world of college sports.

An H, however handsomely purl-one and knit-two it might be stitched, could just as easily stand for Houston, Harvard or Hawaii.

Or Havasu or Hopi, with its American Indian-looking feathery filigreed design.

And I'm sure a lot of persons named Haunani, Hugh, Harold and Hoku will go out and purchase a cap with the new UH logo.

Hmmm. Hugh. You don't suppose that's why UH athletic director Hugh Yoshida went along with it, do you?

The H can grow on you, though.

Already, a lot of H-words keep popping into my mind: Hokey, hee haw, humbug, ho hum.

You have to wonder why UH decided to drop the rainbow as its school symbol after all these years.

And if they think they really can find a marketing jackpot at the end of the rainbow.

Charlie Wade, the women's assistant volleyball coach, more than alluded to why the rainbow was dropped at yesterday's coming-out party at the Stan Sheriff Center. The rainbow sent out some wrong signals, he said.

Folks back on the mainland thought it had something to do with Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition. Or because the rainbow is identified with a gay liberation movement.

Apparently, some of the UH football players were teased about it by their buddies when they returned to their mainland homes.

YOSHIDA said the new logo just reflects a change in the school's marketing strategy.

"It will always will be the Rainbows . . . the Rainbow Classic," he said.

The school athletic teams will still be called the Rainbows, although the football team will call itself simply the Warriors.

Sorry, coach Jones. But they'll always be the Rainbows to me. The only Warriors I know, and most everyone else in Hawaii can identify with, are the Kamehameha Warriors.

I do like your team's bold new football uniforms with its black and silver accents with the green. And the Darth Vader dark green helmets are cool.

It's just that H thing.

It's not a symbol or an identity. It's just a letter.

"The new logo is simple but bold," says the athletic department's news release. (But) the design carries kaona, or a hidden or secret meaning."

It's so hidden and secretive that it lost me.

Still, the bottom line isn't a school's nickname or logo.

It's just win, baby. That's the only thing that sells tickets or makes athletic merchandise a hot commodity.

Football coaches are a superstitious lot. Will Jones dump the H if he has a losing season this fall?

Go 'Bows.

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

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