Sorry Otto, times have changed
By Ferd Lewis
Somewhere, the late, great Otto Klum is surely churning in his grave today at the news the University of Hawai'i football team will be playing Oregon State on Dec. 2.
The once-upon-a-time coach — and so-called "father of UH football" who Klum Gym was named for — was resolute against playing opponents that recruited in Hawai'i's backyard.
So much so that when he found out San Jose State, a regular opponent, was recruiting Hawai'i prospects for 1939 — "proselytizing" they called it then — Klum banished the Spartans from the schedule. With an assist from events of Dec. 7, 1941, it would be 17 years before the two played again.
So, you can imagine how Klum might have felt yesterday when the Warriors announced a home-and-home deal that brings OSU to Aloha Stadium in 2006 and will send UH to Corvallis, Ore., in the future.
This after the Beavers signed six prospects from Hawai'i this month to go along with the four they had on the roster last season. This after the Beavers, who have three former UH assistants on their coaching staff — and four if Joe Seumalo takes the defensive line job — have swarmed over the state to the point where head coach Mike Riley has been known to sit in on Kahuku High coach Siuaki Livai's math classes.
Of course, if Klum's iron-fisted remedy were applied today, the Warriors might be playing a four-game schedule in 2006. Because that's about all the teams — Alabama, Purdue, Fresno State and Louisiana Tech — that aren't recruiting here. At the moment, anyway.
Along with OSU, Boise State, Nevada, Utah State, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Nevada-Las Vegas all took players out of Hawai'i this year and will likely be back. Idaho, among others, tried.
Clearly these eager Beavers come with a plan. "It'll be a real treat to bring all of our (Hawai'i) players home for a game," Riley said. "It's an important recruiting area for us, so it is great to go and play a game there and let everyone in Hawai'i see our football team in person."
Little more than six months from the start of a season for which UH still has one vacancy to fill, OSU was an opportunity that had to be pounced upon. For all the pressure it adds to recruiting, it was the kind of match that makes both dollars and sense for UH.
With premium seats to sell and fans to win back, UH couldn't afford another Middle Tennessee State. Nobody wanted another Eastern Illinois, but a lot of people would love to give ex-UH assistant Mike Cavanaugh creative grief. At this late date, few teams would be a better fit than OSU.
Gee, you don't suppose there is anything to the rumor that UH is talking to Brigham Young about filling the remaining opening, do you?
Reach Ferd Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 525-8044.