Hawaii Football Through The Years

The University of Hawaii’s football has had its share of highs and lows in its nearly 100 years of existence. Here’s a look back on some key moments in the program’s history.

Oct. 23, 1909

Then known as “The Fighting Deans,” the UH football team made its debut, beating McKinley High School, 6-5.

Jan. 1, 1924

A rainbow appears over Moiliili Field, and Hawaii upsets Oregon State to end the 2003 season. Reporters begin calling UH teams the “Rainbows.”

Jan. 1, 1926 

UH defeats Washington State, 20-11, to complete its second consecutive undefeated season. Combined, the 1924 and 1925 “Wonder Teams” went 18-0 and outscored their opponents, 606-29.

Sept. 17, 1955 

Hawaii shocks Nebraska, 6-0, in Lincoln, to earn one of the greatest upsets in school history.

Nov. 26, 1966 

UH falls to Utah State, 48-0, in the final game of their first all-collegiate schedule. The Rainbows finish 4-6 for the season.

Sept. 15, 1973 

Hawaii upends Washington, 10-7, in Seattle to open the 1973 season. The Huskies were favored by as many as 50 points.

Sept. 13, 1975 

Hawaii plays its first game at brand-new Aloha Stadium. It isn’t a happy debut, however, as the Rainbows get blitzed by Texas A&I, 43-9.

Dec. 2, 1978 

In front of more than 48,000 fans, Hawaii keeps it close against No. 3-ranked USC before losing, 21-5.

Sept. 8, 1979 

The Rainbow Warriors make their debut as a member of the Western Athletic Conference, losing to Utah, 27-23.

Nov. 14, 1981 

A national TV audience sees Hawaii fall to conference rival BYU, 13-3, at Aloha Stadium. The two schools were battling for sole possession of the top spot in the WAC.

Oct. 28, 1989 

After 10 consecutive losses to BYU, Hawaii beats the Cougars in a 56-14 rout at Aloha Stadium. UH basketball player David Hallums calls beating BYU “better than statehood.”

Dec. 25, 1989 

After a nine-win regular season, the Rainbow Warriors earn their first berth in an NCAA-sanctioned bowl game. On Christmas Day, UH is overwhelmed by Michigan State, 33-13, in the Jeep Eagle Aloha Bowl.

Dec. 30, 1992 

UH running back Travis Sims rushes for two touchdowns as WAC co-champion Hawaii defeats Big Ten power Illinois, 27-17, to emerge victorious in its first (and, so far, only) Holiday Bowl.

Dec. 2, 1995 

Hawaii loses to Oklahoma State, 24-20, to close out a disappointing 4-8 season. Head coach Bob Wagner is fired, to be replaced by Fred von Appen. Von Appen would go 5-31 in the next three years before getting the ax himself.

Dec. 25, 1999 

Hawaii holds off Oregon State, 23-17, to win the Jeep Oahu Bowl and complete a remarkable turnaround season. It is the first season under new head coach June Jones.

Nov. 5, 2004 

In a home game against Louisiana Tech, UH quarterback Timmy Chang becomes the NCAA’s all-time leader in passing yards. He finishes his career with 17,072 passing yards.

Nov. 23, 2007 

Led by Heisman Trophy candidate Colt Brennan, Hawaii beats conference rival Boise State, 39-27, to claim its first-ever outright WAC championship. The Warriors go on to play Georgia in the BCS Allstate Sugar Bowl, losing to the Bulldogs, 41-10.