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By Paul R. Haberstroh

Friday, August 11, 2000

UH sports logo

Yoshida’s ineptness
led to UH
logo fiasco

No one has the authority to change the name of University of Hawaii athletic teams except the UH student body and alumni. June Jones, while an exceptional head football coach, is neither.

The football team has one decent season in eight long years, and against an emasculated Western Athletic Conference at that. Then all of a sudden it is bigger than the university and decades of traditions? Get real.

Coach Jones and Athletic Director Hugh Yoshida have deliberately taken advantage of the lame-duck status of our UH president to force this through. Indeed, the involvement of the departing president in the break-up of the WAC, and in recently granting Yoshida a raise despite seven long years of descent, is galling.

Yoshida is lucky to still have a job. Ever since the unfortunate death of former Athletic Director Stan Sheriff, Yoshida has been dragging down our UH sports programs with seven tortuous years of ineptness.

It was obvious back in '93 that the UH needed someone with real contacts and experience, someone like Sheriff. Instead, the powers-that-be chose a crony who could be manipulated.

Sheriff would have never allowed advertising on the sacred surface of the very basketball court where our students played their hearts out. He would not have allowed BYU blue to be worn by the UH basketball court wipers.

Long ago Sheriff would have convinced the people who manage Aloha Stadium to put in natural turf so we wouldn't lose so many fine athletes, sometimes permanently, to knee injuries.

But nooooo, it was turf-longevity and not ankle-longevity that counted. Moreover, high school football games and concerts were more important than the mighty Bows.

Sheriff would have insisted that the Manoa practice field be decently graded and maintained to prevent injuries to all students. He would have made sure we received the telecasts of ALL the road games in the major sports, and earned a pretty dollar profit in advertising to boot.

He would have never allowed our baseball team to deteriorate just to save one old coach's job. He would have insisted that students commit to graduation, and not a ticket back to their home countries.

So what is the latest? That, in the principle of team "unity," the individual sports now get to choose their own name. How utterly ridiculous and counterproductive to the essence of why students play athletics in the first place.

In all of my years involved with UH, I have seen presidents, coaches and athletic directors come and go. And I think now is the time to separate ourselves from Hugh Yoshida.

He simply does not understand the spirit of this university. He does not seem to have the backbone to resist the commercialization of the University of Hawaii by a bunch of Californians.

Remember, it is in California that they regularly change a stadium's ancient name for the right price. Ever hear what happened to Jones' old roost, Jack Murphy Stadium? Candlestick?

Marketing the team is one thing, selling it out is quite another. And the University of Hawaii is not for sale. There is much more at stake.

Paul R. Haberstroh is an assistant professor in the Marine Science Department at the University of Hawaii-Hilo. He earned his Ph.D. at UH-Manoa.

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