Archive for February, 2008

The schedule sets UH up to be the spoiler in the WAC

February 29, 2008

About why ESPN wanted the Fresno State-BSU game to be set up for a Nov. 28 title game, WAC associate commissioner Jeff Hurd said:
“Every year ESPN looks over the games seeking the best possible and potentially most interesting matchups in the conferences it has contracts with. Sometimes they work out. Sometimes they don’t. It is a long season and a lot of things can happen before the end of November.” (HA)

HA Note: “The defending Western Athletic Conference champion University of Hawai’i football team has been cast in a spoiler role for 2008. The release of the WAC schedule yesterday sets the stage for what ESPN and the conference apparently hope will be a Nov. 28 championship showdown between Boise State and Fresno State on the blue carpet in Boise. Just as in 2007 when the final conference weekend was an artful pairing of UH and Boise State, the network hopes to have the conference race build to a title finish this year. UH’s 39-27 victory over Boise State for the WAC title was seen in 2.65 million households, making it the biggest audience of any ESPN2 game and the largest of 14 Friday night games on the various ESPN properties. That came despite a 9 p.m. (Eastern) and 6 p.m. (Pacific) kickoff.”

HA Note: “Last season’s planning delivered what was termed the “biggest (football) game in WAC history,” a showdown of then-unbeaten 10-0 UH and once-beaten Boise State with the WAC title and a Bowl Championship Series berth on the line. Preseason predictions have Boise State and Fresno State expected to battle for the WAC crown in 2008. Both return sizeable parts of their lineups and both host UH.”

Aug. 30 — At Florida
Sept. 6 — Weber State
Sept. 13 — At Oregon State
Sept. 20 — Open
Sept. 27 — San Jose State
Oct. 4 — At Fresno State
Oct. 11 — Louisiana Tech
Oct. 17 — At Boise State (ESPN)
Oct. 25 — Nevada
Nov. 1 — At Utah State
Nov. 8 — At New Mexico State
Nov. 15 — Open
Nov. 22 — Idaho
Nov. 29 — Washington State
Dec. 6 — Cincinnati

Alex Gerke officially joins the Warrior staff

February 29, 2008

Harley-Davidson enthusiast Alex Gerke talked about how happy he is to join the UH coaching staff:
“I tell you what, you can’t beat this place. It’s so surreal just to be here. I’ve always felt this was the Shangri-La of coaching. This is a great place to be a coach. The people here are all outstanding; very friendly, very humble. The community is excellent. The program has great players, and a great tradition. Why am I fortunate to be here? All of the above.” (HA)

HA Note: “Last season, Gerke was Weber State’s assistant head coach in charge of the offensive line. Among his coaching stops were the University of Utah and Saskatchewan of the Canadian Football League. While he is a skilled offensive line instructor, Gerke has had experience coaching running backs.”

About coaching RBs, Gerke said:
“It really comes down to teaching fundamentals, having a good relationship with the players. had running backs in my meetings plenty of times.” (HA)

HA Note: “In addition to working with offensive line coach Brian Smith, Gerke will assist offensive coordinator Ron Lee in identifying defensive coverages during games.”

Looking forward to filling his role for UH, Gerke said:
“I look forward to it. I want to help make sure we give coach (Greg McMackin) and this football team every possible chance to be successful.” (HA)

HA Note: “Gerke drove from Utah to his hometown of Huntington Beach, Calif. Then he caught a flight to Honolulu, arriving yesterday. He already signed most of his employment papers.”

About his passion other than football, Gerke said:
“I like to ride my motorcycle, bro.” (HA)

About how he owns one Harley-Davidson, Gerke said:
“You only need one.” (HA)

About how he often hit the open road on this Harley, riding through Montana, New Mexico, and Arizona, Gerke (who bought his first motorcycle in 1990) said:
“I look forward to meeting the folks in (Hawai’i’s) Harley-Davidson community. I know (defensive coordinator) Cal Lee rides, and Mel (deLaura, the conditioning coach) rides. Now we have to make sure Rich (Miano, the associate head coach) trades in his little Honda Shadow and gets a real one.” (HA)

About how UH faces his former team (Weber State) on Sept. 6, Alex Gerke said:
“I’m looking forward to that game. It’s a good squad and Ron (coach McBride) will have the boys ready. I’m really looking forward to working for an outstanding head coach in Greg McMackin, being part of the University of Hawaii football family and I’m excited to keep what’s been built here moving. I’ve always felt that this was the Shangri-La of coaching. Being here is just surreal.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Alex Gerke officially joined the Warrior staff yesterday, hired as running backs/offensive line coach. Gerke spent the past two seasons as offensive line coach at Weber State, Hawaii’s first home opponent Sept. 6.”

HSB Note: “An offensive lineman, who played at Utah under McBride, Gerke’s coaching resume includes stints with the Utes and Cal Poly. Known for wearing shorts and tank tops on the practice field, Gerke said he couldn’t wait to hit the beach this weekend; he left Ogden, Utah, earlier this week, getting out ahead of a huge snowstorm. Gerke has spent many summers in Hawaii, helping at coaching clinics on Oahu and Maui.”

About how Gerke loves Hawaii, Mack said:
“He loves coming to Hawaii, and we’re happy we can make it a little more permanent. He’s exactly what I’m looking for in a coach. Besides his experience, he really cares about players. He’s going to really complement our staff and be a great addition.” (HSB)

Daniel Smith sues UH and Reinbold

February 28, 2008

AP Note: “A high school football player is suing the University of Hawai’i for allegedly revoking his scholarship offer after coach June Jones’ resignation. Daniel Smith, 17, of Boise, Idaho, also names UH’s former defensive line coach, Jeff Reinebold, in the suit. He says Reinebold told him not to speak to any other school when he offered the full scholarship last April, an offer that Smith says was reaffirmed over the next several months. Smith, a defensive back, said he gave up a scholarship from Portland State and declined offers to visit other schools before Reinebold told him in January that all scholarship commitments prior to Jones’ resignation had been revoked.”

About hearing that his scholarship offer had been revoked, Smith said:
“I was devastated. I committed to Hawai’i more than 10 months ago, and I stuck with that commitment.” (AP)

AP Note: “Smith said after receiving the news from Reinebold in January, he sought scholarships at roughly 40 schools, but none was available. Reinebold left UH for Southern Methodist University in February after helping the Warriors go 12-0 in the regular season. At SMU, he will work alongside Jones, the school’s new head coach, as wide receivers coach.”

AP Note: “The lawsuit “is being handled by the necessary parties,” making it inappropriate to comment, said John McNamara, associate athletics director at UH. According to Smith’s lawsuit, the university has denied that Smith received a scholarship commitment. Hawai’i assistant coach Ron Lee, who is taking over as offensive coordinator, told Smith’s mother, Wanda, that Reinebold did not have the authority to make scholarship commitments, according to the suit.”

About how Lee has offered him the chance to try out for the team but he wants a scholarship, Smith said:
“I kept my end of the deal. I want the university to keep its end of the deal.” (AP)

National TV games will impact PPV

February 28, 2008

About how the 4 to 7 nationally televised games will impact their PPV contract, John McNamara said:
“We’re used to being in this situation. This is an annual situation that we have to live with and find a way to work around it.” (HA)

The Warriors success last season brought in big money for UH

February 27, 2008

About their $930k more in ticket revenue than 2006 despite having 1 less home game in 2007, Clapp said:
“That’s just awesome.” (HA)

HA Note: “UH took in $930,106 more in ticket revenue in 2007 than it did the previous year despite playing one fewer home game. In 2006, when UH finished 11-3, ticket sales (season and individual) totaled $4.9 million for eight home dates. In 2007, sales reached $5.8 million for seven games.”

HA Note: “Football ticket sales annually make up 17 percent to 22 percent of revenue for the UH athletic department, which operates 19 teams on a $26.6 million budget. Single-game ticket sales in 2007 ($2,822,949) soared to nearly double those of just two seasons earlier ($1,426,544) for the same number of dates, while season ticket revenue also was up substantially. Buoyed by back-to-back sellouts against Boise State and Washington to close the regular season, average per-game attendance hit a 23-year high (41,325) in 2007. Not since 1984, when UH averaged 42,915, had football drawn as many.”

Happy with how they had a 23-year high for average per-game attendance, Clapp said:
“I’m excited to see that we’re going in the right direction and, of course, we have initiatives to continue to promote season ticket opportunities.” (HA)

Happy with the attendance last season, Mack said:
“I thought the support was outstanding. The crowds, I thought, were especially good at the end of the year, and it would be great to start out (in 2008) like we ended last season.” (HA)

HA Note: “UH sold 22,975 season tickets last year and has set a goal of topping 30,000 for the upcoming season, according to John McNamara, UH associate athletic director. As of yesterday, the athletic department said it had received new deposits from 787 fans requesting more than 2,300 season tickets for 2008.”

About the importance of having a lot of people at the games, Mack said:
“Our crowd really inspires and motivates our football team. I really think they were responsible for some of our wins.” (HA)

About whether or not they can increase ticket sales even more, Clapp said:
“It would be an overly broad statement to say (the 2007 numbers) are sustainable, but on the other hand, we’re gonna keep working each and every year to do the best possible job we can with season tickets.” (HA)

AD candidates are starting to be interviewed by UH

February 27, 2008

HSB Note: “Sources told the Star-Bulletin that Hawaii Bowl executive director Jim Donovan and Hilo Community College chancellor Rockne Freitas were interviewed by the search committee headed by Manoa chancellor Virginia Hinshaw yesterday. Both candidates declined comment. Donovan and Freitas are both former UH associate athletic directors. UH associate athletic director Marilyn Moniz-Kaho’ohanohano said she was scheduled for an interview today. Interim athletic director Carl Clapp is also expected to be interviewed. He also declined comment.”

About not wanting to comment on the search, Clapp said:
“I’m not going to comment on the search until its conclusion. I’m going to let the process run its course.” (HSB)

KKEA and KHNL/KFVE get extra time to negotiate the TV/radio rights

February 27, 2008

About giving KKEA and KHNL/KFVE extra time to negotiate with UH, Johm McNamara said:
“We’re making progress. I think we’re just trying to make sure they have the opportunity to put their best and final offers on the table. Once we have that we’ll determine if we extend the current agreements or go out to bid and give other interested parties an opportunity.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “The window for exclusive negotiation officially ends Friday for the current holders of radio and TV rights for University of Hawaii sports. But UH is willing to keep it open a while longer for KKEA (1420-AM) and KHNL/KFVE (Channels 8 and 5).”

About how they have received a proposal from KKEA but nothing yet from KHNL/KFVE, McNamara said:
“We’ll be meeting with (KHNL/KFVE) this week to get an idea where they’re at in the process and what their thoughts are.” (HSB)

About how he wants to continue to cover UH, KHNL/KFVE GM and VP John Fink said:
“I’m hopeful and optimistic that we’ll be able to continue a great relationship.” (HSB)

About how they are happy with how things are going under the current contract, Carl Clapp said:
“We very much value both the entities we’ve been working with.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Internet video streaming won’t be part of the current negotiations. ESPN, via the Western Athletic Conference, controls those rights for the next three years, McNamara said. However, Hawaiian Telcom has facilitated Internet video streaming of selected UH sports events because ESPN has declined to do so.”

About how Hawaiian Telecom has done their video streaming and will continue to do so, McNamara said:
“They’ve done it the past three years without an issue. The global piece, the streaming piece, is very important to us. Right now we’re still bound by the conference agreement with ESPN on streaming rights.” (HSB)

Note: I paid for the Hawaiian Telecom streaming last season and thought that they did an acceptable job. The high bandwidth link didn’t work for a few games, but the quality of the low bandwidth stream was at least better than past years.

Sheraton extends their sponsorship of the Hawaii Bowl

February 27, 2008

About Sheraton signing a 2-year extension to be the Hawaii Bowl’s sponsor (contract goes through 2009), Jim Donovan said:
“We are very excited that Sheraton Hotels and Resorts Hawai’i has agreed to this extension.” (HA)

Colt interviewed by the Dallas Morning News

February 26, 2008

Asked about the possibility that he’ll be a backup QB for awhile in the NFL, Colt said:
“I’m just ready for whatever comes my way. At 24, I’m ready to go and play right now. I feel like I’m mentally ready. And the last couple of months have been about getting physically ready. I just know that a lot of kids that are physically ready have trouble getting mentally ready, but I know I’m fine mentally. If I need to sit, though, then that will make me that much better. If that’s the case, then that’s the case and I’m ready to do it.” (DMN)

DMN Note: “There’s no questioning his production on the college level, and even though it might help him on the pro level (see: system quarterback), he was quick to credit the offense June Jones ran at Hawaii and will now run down the street from here at SMU.”

About how JJ’s offense is hard for defenses to stop, Colt said:
“One thing is you don’t see that offense a lot. It’s hard to gameplan and get ready for his offense, because it’s something new, it’s something everyone’s not used to. I think if he gets the recruits he wants and the support he wants, and it all goes with the recruits, if he gets the right recruits, he’ll win right away.” (DMN)

About what SMU is getting in JJ, Colt said:
“They’re getting a great offense and a coach that prides himself in taking programs that have been dismantled and building them and taking them to a whole new level. I know he’s real serious and real adamant about letting those kids know that they can compete and play with the big boys right away. He did a great job at Hawaii, and he’ll do similar things at SMU, you could be looking at some great things there (at SMU).” (DMN)

KGMB feature on the Under Armour deal

February 26, 2008

About how the Under Armour uniforms will help them win games, Mack said:
“We feel it’s going to help us win games. We feel it’s top of the line. And we really feel fortunate to be a part of it.” (KGMB)

KGMB Note: “McMackin is sold on Under Armour the new performance apparel that will be signature to his team next season. What was most convincing to him was the technical support the Warriors new uniforms will bring to their game.”

About the UA material, Mack said:
“All of their material is something that helps your body temperature. Their shoes are top of the line. I talked to texas tech, it’s the lightest shoe in the business. They coordinate everything like the pros.” (KGMB)

Mack Note: “Under Armour has reached the NFL, but only a select few when it comes to colleges. Hawaii now joins Auburn, Maryland, South Carolina and Texas Tech as the only schools in the country to be sponsored by the company.”

About how they are a good fit with Under Armour, McNamara said:
“I think we mirror their brand. They’re an up and comer on the national scene like we are. They feel we wanted to be aggressive with our marketing like they do. And they thought it was a great fit. We’re a real unique brand for them.” (KGMB)

KGMB Note: “The eight-year deal is worth more than $4.1 million. Besides the products Hawaii receives, the athletics program will bank $1.7 million for it’s general fund. Another bonus is the national exposure, that comes with a very popular brand for this generation of athletes.”

About how former UH players want to be in the commercials, Mack said:
“Rolo wants to be the quarterback in the ‘protect the house’ commercial and ‘click clack’ and all that type of things. We have all kind of former players, you can’t use your own players. And we have a lot of players coming out of the woodwork, to get on the commercials.” (KGMB)