SO these are the $100 donors. Here are the big wheels, the gang green, the top boosters. Hawaii has these and here they are. June Jones stayed home for them (along with a continued recovery from his car accident, of course), while George Lumpkin had to head off to the Western Athletic Conference football meetings in his place. The head coach had to send his regrets and stay here for last night's sixth annual Pigskin Pigout at Murphy's Bar & Grill. That's how big it's become.
for UH football
The people with the big wallets can give you that final push. You've got to take care of them. Nurture them. Cultivate them, and keep them happy. June Jones is a smart man. A few smiles and some eye contact and letting people know you care helps you win games. On the field, in the recruits' living rooms, and here too. Jones understands that. One of Fred von Appen's biggest failings was that he couldn't work the room, and it sometimes seemed as if he didn't even know why he should try.
Money. That's right. Money matters. People matter. Public perception makes a difference. Let's see, $100 times one, two, three ... whoa! With this year's Pigskin Pigout bringing in about as much as the $102,000 it did last year, that can translate into a program with more resources, which can help equal success on the field.
Jones knows that, and so he stayed. The people know that, and so they spent.
And so, off goes Lumpkin, the loyal soldier, the steady No. 2. He can handle Reno. If a horde of people want to plop down a Ben Franklin each to hang out with Jones, who is he to turn them away?
He couldn't. And he shouldn't.
And so last night, the king held court.
It's a festive affair. There's music. And merchandise. And ...
"Lots of great food," says University of Hawaii offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh with a smile, his dome glowing with delight. Cavanaugh would have gone to Reno over his dead body. There's a Pigskin Pigout going on.
There were also auctions, and this is where the real money can come in. A Sam Choy luau up for sale. A cute dog that had been on TV all week. Pretty much anything you could think of with Jones' autograph on it. Golf trips. Gift certificates. Quilts. Outings. Jewelry. Enormous 3-liter jugs of wine. Was 1998 a good year?
Of course there were other things. An autographed hat by Jamie Sharper of the Ravens. Please raise your hand if you know who Jamie Sharper is. Two, three, four, thank you.
Andre Miller's old basketball shoes were not the object of a fierce bidding war. One guy thought about it at the last second, stressed a little, but couldn't pull the trigger.
The saddest case was an old, beat-up practice jersey signed by a local pro. The guy meant well, but this thing was past its days. It should have been shot.
"He actually sweated in it," a helper said.
It looks like it.
"It's from the Seattle Seahawks."
Seahawks? No. Turn it around. That's a BYU jersey! A BYU jersey at a UH football fund-raiser!
I'm surprised they didn't set the thing on fire.
Maybe they were in too good a mood, eating and drinking and spending a lot of money for UH football. It poured in like wine out of a 3-liter jug. These are the people who have the money to spend. The Pigskin Pigout has become very big indeed.
Kalani Simpson's column runs Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org