The Hula Bowl was an independently administered post-season invitational college football game held annually in Hawaii from 1947 to 2008, usually in January. The game was last played at Aloha Stadium in the Halawa district of Honolulu. At one point the longest-running sporting event in Hawaii, it had been considered a premier venue to launch professional careers in the National Football League (NFL).
|Hula Bowl (defunct)|
Logo for the 2006 game
|Previous stadiums||Honolulu Stadium (1960–1974)|
Aloha Stadium (1975–1997)
War Memorial Stadium (1998–2005)
Aloha Stadium (2006–2008)
|Previous locations||Honolulu, Hawaii (1960–1997)|
Wailuku, Hawaii (1998–2005)
Honolulu, Hawaii (2006–2008)
The Hula Bowl was established in 1946 by Paul Stupin and Mackay Yanagisawa as the Hula Bowl All-Star Football Classic. When the inaugural game was played on January 5, 1947, the teams were composed of mainland college players pitted against a local team of graduates of Leilehua, a local high school in Wahiawa, Hawaii. The teams played a two-game series every January until 1951, when the format was changed to allow NFL players to join the Hawaiian all-stars, in an effort to create a more competitive environment. From 1960 onward, the game featured only collegiate players, and game results are listed in NCAA records. In its last format, the Hula Bowl pitted an all-star team of players who attended college in the eastern United States against a team of players from the western United States. The teams were split into the Aina and Kai teams, the Hawaiian words for land and water (designating "East" and "West", respectively).
The game was originally played in Honolulu Stadium in Honolulu before the bowl was moved to Aloha Stadium in neighboring Halawa. In 1998, the then-mayor of Maui County, Linda Lingle, convinced organizers to move the game to the War Memorial Stadium in the town of Kahului on the island of Maui. However, due to poor attendance and reduced revenue, the Hula Bowl returned to Oahu for its 2006 game and stayed at Aloha Stadium until the last game in 2008.
The game was usually held in January, following the conclusion of the college football season; thus the game held in January 1971, for example, was contested with a selection of players who competed during the 1970 college football season. The game was held in December one time, 1999. Due to that anomaly, there were two Hula Bowls played in 1999 – one in January, with players from the 1998 season, and one in December, with players from the 1999 season – and no game played during calendar year 2000. In 2002 and 2003, the game was held in February.
For many years, the Hula Bowl was distinguished from a similar event, the Senior Bowl, by playing by collegiate rules rather than professional rules, and by being amateur, which at one point was very important for those wishing to remain eligible to compete in collegiate or other amateur sports. Hula Bowl was a trademarked institution of the Downtown Athletic Club, of Heisman Trophy fame.
On July 1, 2006, it was announced that the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) would end its ten-year relationship with the Hula Bowl due to "philosophical differences" over the future plans for the game, including proposed changes for the 2007 game — such as reintroducing the "Hawaiian Islands versus Mainland" matchup used from 1947 to 1959. University of Hawaii head coach June Jones expressed a willingness to coach a potential Hawaiian Islands team, which would have a mix of Hawaiian and Polynesian players and, bowl organizers hope, would draw more fans to the game. The Hula Bowl had also discussed the idea of allowing junior status players to participate in the game and bringing over college football players from Japan, something the game had done in the recent past. Game officials also discussed awarding a national "Hula Bowl Player of the Week" to college players during the regular season; the winning players would have been invited to play in the Hula Bowl and been able to direct a $1,000 donation to a charity in their state.
The bowl remained dormant while organizers searched "for opportunities to reintroduce and reimagine the historic bowl game".
North Carolina proposalEdit
In November 2016, organizers announced their intent to restart the game in North Carolina in January 2018. However, in March 2017, additional news reports indicated that a revival of the game was unlikely, as a key supporter of the proposal, North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, left office at the start of that year.
In popular cultureEdit
In a mid-1990s storyline in the comic strip Funky Winkerbean, Harry Dinkle and the Marching Scapegoats perform at the Hula Bowl.
- Lewis, Ferd (July 3, 2009). "60 years catering to tastes of Hawaii fans". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- "BOWL/ALL STAR GAME RECORDS" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- AFCA Ends Relationship with Hula Bowl Archived May 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Masuoka, Brandon (July 29, 2006). "Hula Bowl tries to reinvent itself". The Honolulu Advertiser.
- "HISTORIC HULA BOWL SET TO CALL NORTH CAROLINA HOME IN 2018". www.hulabowlhawaii.com. November 4, 2016. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- Smith, R. Cory (November 4, 2016). "Historic Hula Bowl coming to Raleigh in 2018". North State Journal – via nsjonline.com.
- Kane, Dan (March 8, 2017). "Despite pre-election promise from McCrory, there's no Hula Bowl coming to Raleigh". The News & Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
- "USATODAY.com - Aina runs past Kai for 26-7 Hula Bowl victory". usatoday30.usatoday.com.
- "USATODAY.com - Stanley's two defensive scores rally East in Hula Bowl". usatoday30.usatoday.com.
- "USATODAY.com - Long trip to Hula Bowl benefits Marshall". usatoday30.usatoday.com.
- "Clemson duo play major role in Aina's Hula Bowl victory - USATODAY.com". usatoday30.usatoday.com.
- "Bernard Morris' big first half leads Aina to 38-7 Hula Bowl victory". ESPN.com.
- huskersva (1 December 2010). "Huskers in the NFL - 2008 Hula Bowl" – via YouTube.