Hawaii has abandoned a plan to neuter one of the best nicknames in college sports. For the first time in 13 years, Hawaii football—and the rest of the university's men's teams—will be the Rainbow Warriors.
This is complicated, so take notes. In 2000, Hawaii dropped "Rainbow" from the football team's name. Since then, most teams at the school have just been the Warriors—though the basketball and swimming teams remained the Rainbow Warriors. The baseball team was simply the Rainbows.
In February, the school announced its plans to bring some consistency—every team would go by Warriors. But there was pushback. "Both positive and negative feedback," as the AD puts it. So yesterday the school announced that the names will be standardized, but beginning July 1 they will all be known as the Rainbow Warriors. Got it?
When football dropped "Rainbow" in 2000, the move was controversial. Head coach June Jones said the team needed a more macho image. Then-AD Hugh Yoshida was a little more blunt:
"That (rainbow) logo really put a stigma on our program at times in regards to its part of the gay community, their flags and so forth," he told a Honolulu TV station. "Some of the student-athletes had some feelings in regard to that."
Yoshida would later backtrack, saying the name was only changed to "avoid confusion."
The Rainbow Warriors was never about the gays, though, and it wasn't related to the Greenpeace boat sunk by the French in 1985. The legend states that in 1923, a rainbow appeared in the sky as the Hawaii Fighting Deans upset Oregon State. Local reporters began using the nickname, and it was made official soon after.
All women's teams at the school will remain the Rainbow Wahine, Hawaiian for "women."