Coaches' group, Hula Bowl part ways
The American Football Coaches Association ended its 10-year relationship with the Hula Bowl, citing philosophical differences over the future direction of the game.
For the past 10 years, the AFCA and its Hula Bowl selection committee have selected players and coaches for the game.
The Hula Bowl — Hawai'i's longest running sports attraction — has struggled to draw fans, dipping to 7,065 spectators in its return to Aloha Stadium for its 60th anniversary on Jan. 21.
"The AFCA has invested a lot of time and effort over the years to help continue the tradition of Hawai'i's longest-running sporting event," AFCA Executive Director Grant Teaff said in a prepared statement. "It is our hope the game will continue to be viable in its new format."
The AFCA said it was recently notified by Hula Bowl officials that they are "considering significant format changes" for the 2007 game, Jan. 28, at Aloha Stadium.
The AFCA cited "philosophical differences," as the reason for terminating its relationship. It did not elaborate.
Joe Dan Rogers, the Hula Bowl's new executive director, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Lenny Klompus, former owner of the Hula Bowl from 1994-2002, said he invited the AFCA on board in 1995 to gain credibility with the NCAA.
The partnership gave the game a tremendous amount of integrity, he said.
Klompus, who is Gov. Linda Lingle's spokesman, said the AFCA did not provide sponsorship money, but the organization was a "major partner" with access to every college.
Notre Dame's Lou Holtz Florida State's Bobby Bowden, and Florida's Steve Spurrier coached at the Hula Bowl, Klompus said.