Tuesday, February 6, 2001
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Posted on: Tuesday, February 6, 2001

UH, BYU renew football rivalry

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawaii football team will revive one of its oldest — and most heated — rivalries when it plays host to Brigham Young University Dec. 1 at Aloha Stadium, school officials announced yesterday.

BYU replaces Iowa State on the UH football schedule. The last UH-BYU football game was on Oct. 17, 1998.

"I’m excited to play them again," UH coach June Jones said. "It’s been such a great rivalry."

After BYU helped lead the secession of eight schools from the Western Athletic Conference in 1998 — leaving behind eight schools, including Hawaii — UH president Kenneth Mortimer vowed not to have his teams schedule games against BYU in the near future.

But the feelings have thawed — BYU changed its athletic director soon after the secession was announced and head coach LaVell Edwards retired last month — and when Iowa State sought a release from its commitment, UH opened negotiations with BYU.

After this year’s UH-BYU game, which will close the Warriors’ regular season, the teams will play a home-and-home series. The dates have not been finalized.

When BYU dominated the series from the late 1970s through the late 1980s, UH fans printed "Beat BYU" T-shirts and this newspaper even conducted a contest seeking suggestions on how to stop the Cougars.

The rivalry spilled to other sports. After UH hired former BYU basketball coach Frank Arnold, he was asked if he wanted to beat his old school. Arnold told a Honolulu Quarterback Club audience, "Is the Pope Catholic?"

Former UH basketball player David Hallums described a victory in Provo, Utah, as being "better than statehood."

The UH football team, led by quarterback Garrett Gabriel, finally beat BYU, 56-14, before a capacity crowd at Aloha Stadium on Oct. 28, 1989. The following year, hours after BYU quarterback Ty Detmer was awarded the Heisman Trophy, UH won again, 59-28.

Reviving the rivalry, said Gabriel, now a teacher and head basketball coach at Maryknoll School, "is good for the program. The biggest thing is it draws people to what they want to see. I definitely would watch it."

UH was scheduled to open the 2001 season against Iowa State on Sept. 1. But Iowa State wanted to play in the Jim Thorpe Classic, a game exempted from the NCAA limit of regular-season games. The Sept. 1 game also was to be exempt, and because the NCAA allows only one exempted game a year, Iowa State offered to play UH in the Jim Thorpe Classic, move it to Iowa as a nonexempted game or cancel the game.

Because UH officials say they were not offered enough money from Iowa State to make up for the loss of a home game, it opted to cancel the game two weeks ago. UH earns about $400,000 per home game.

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