Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and Rainbow Wahine

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Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Rainbow Wahine
University University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Conference Big West Conference (most sports)
Mountain West Conference (football)
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Dave Matlin
Location Honolulu, Hawaii
Varsity teams 21
Football stadium Aloha Stadium
Basketball arena Stan Sheriff Center
Baseball stadium Les Murakami Stadium
Softball stadium Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium
Soccer stadium Waipi‘o Peninsula Soccer Stadium
Natatorium Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex
Other arenas Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex (track & field, sand volleyball)
Mascot Vili The Warrior
Nickname Rainbow Warriors
Fight song "Co-ed"
Colors Green, Black, Silver, and White[1]
Website www.hawaiiathletics.com

The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and Rainbow Wahine are the athletic teams that represent the University of Hawaii at Mānoa (UH), in Honolulu, Hawaii. The UH athletics program is a member of the Big West Conference in most sports and competes at the NCAA Division I level. It comprises seven men's, 12 women's, and two coed athletic teams.[2]

History and tradition[edit]

Hawaii athletics began more than a century ago, with the first football team being fielded in 1909. Through 1923, the UH teams were called the "Deans." In the final game of the 1923 season, the football team upset Oregon State, with a rainbow appearing over the stadium during the game. Sportswriters began referring to UH teams as the "Rainbows," and the tradition was born that Hawaii could not lose if a rainbow appeared. The rainbow officially became a part of the school's athletic logo in 1982 and remained until 2000.[3]

King Kamehameha the Great and his warriors united the Hawaiian Islands, earning the warrior a place of honor in Hawaiian history and an expectation of strength, skill and a fighting spirit. The UH teams became known as "Rainbow Warriors" long before the name became official in 1974.[3]

When women's teams were begun in 1972, founder and first women's athletic director Dr. Donnis Thompson named the teams the "Rainbow Wāhine" with "wāhine" being Hawaiian for women.[3]

Both the men's and the women's teams have long been known as the "Rainbows" or merely the "'Bows."

A controversial change in 2000 allowed each team to pick its own team name; the football, men's volleyball, golf, and tennis teams became the Warriors, while the men's basketball and swimming & diving teams remained Rainbow Warriors, and the baseball team became the Rainbows.[4] The women's teams, however, all remained the “Rainbow Wāhine." At the same time, the school changed its athletics logo to the current stylized "H", omitting the rainbow of the old logo altogether.

On July 1, 2013, the nicknames of the university's men's sports teams were once again standardized, and all male teams at the university are now referred to as the "Rainbow Warriors."[5][6]

Conference affiliation[edit]

The Hawaii men's teams competed as independents until joining the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in 1979.[7] The women's teams were independents until joining the Pacific Coast Athletic Association in 1985, with that conference rebranding as the Big West Conference in 1988.[8] In 1996, the women's teams joined the men in the WAC.[7] In July 2012, most of the school's teams moved from the WAC to the women's former league, the Big West Conference.[8] Since the Big West does not sponsor football, the Rainbow Warriors became affiliate members of the Mountain West Conference.[9] Teams in other sports not sponsored by the Big West compete as members of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.[10]


A member of the Big West Conference, Hawaii sponsors teams in seven men's and twelve women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[11]

Men's Intercollegiate Sports Team Article Head Coach Women's Intercollegiate Sports Team Article Head Coach Coed Intercollegiate Sports Team Article Head Coach
Baseball (Team article) Mike Trapasso Basketball (Team article) Laura Beeman Coed sailing [v 1] Andy Johnson
Basketball (Team article) Eran Ganot Beach volleyball [v 2] Jeff Hall Cheerleading [v 3] Mike Keolaolalani Baker
Football [v 4] (Team article) Nick Rolovich Cross Country Carmyn James
Golf Ronn Miyashiro Golf Lori Castill
Swimming & Diving [v 5] Dan Schemmel Sailing [v 1] Andy Johnson
Tennis John Nelson Soccer Michele Nagamine
Volleyball [v 5] Charlie Wade Softball (Team article) Bob Coolen
Swimming & Diving [v 5] Dan Schemmel
Tennis Jun Hernandez
Track & Field (Indoor [v 5] & Outdoor) Carmyn James
Volleyball (Team article) Dave Shoji
Water Polo Maureen Cole
  1. ^ a b Women's sailing and Coed sailing are sanctioned by the Pacific Coast Collegiate Sailing Conference, not by the NCAA.
  2. ^ Beach volleyball is a fully sanctioned NCAA sport which had its first national championship in the spring of 2016.[12] The Big West begins sponsoring beach volleyball in the 2016 season.
  3. ^ Competitive cheerleading is sanctioned by several organizations, not by the NCAA.
  4. ^ The football team competes as an affiliate member of the Mountain West Conference.
  5. ^ a b c d The men's and women's swimming & diving teams, the women's indoor track & field team, and the men's volleyball team compete as members of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.


The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team competes in NCAA Division I FBS college football. The team, which is currently coached by Nick Rolovich, joined the Mountain West Conference in July 2012. Under former coach June Jones, they were the third non-BCS team to play in a BCS bowl game, having faced Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 2008, losing to Georgia 41-10. Hawaii was ranked 10th and UGA ranked 5th in the nation. Hawaii was the only undefeated team of the 2007 season, before losing in the Sugar Bowl in January 2008.

Men's basketball[edit]

The team's most recent appearance in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament was in 2016. The Rainbow Warriors are coached by Eran Ganot. In 2015, the University self-imposed penalties as a result of NCAA violations committed by the previous coaching staff that include vacating 36 wins from the 2012–13 and 2013–14 seasons, reducing scholarships and practice time, and placing itself on one-year probation. UH also agreed to pay a $10,000 fine.[13]


The Rainbow Warriors have made one appearance in the College World Series, finishing as the runner up to champion Arizona in the 1980 College World Series. The head coach is Mike Trapasso who, since taking over the program in 2001, has led Hawai'i to two NCAA tournaments and was the 2006 National Baseball Foundation Coach of the Year.

In film[edit]

The creation of the first Rainbow Wahine teams at the University of Hawaii is the subject of the documentary film Rise of the Wahine, directed by Dean Kaneshiro. [14] Rise of the Wahine features the struggles of these first women's teams after the passing of Title IX and the film highlights the roles of coaches Alan Kang and Dave Shoji, first female Athletic Director Dr. Donnis Thompson, Patsy Mink, and first-teams volleyball players Beth McLachlin, Marilyn Moniz-Kaho`ohanonaho, Joyce Kapua`ala, and Joey Akeo.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "University of Hawai‘i Graphics Standards". University of Hawai‘i. 2007-05-15. Retrieved 2015-06-13. 
  2. ^ "University of Hawai'i, Manoa". NCAA. Retrieved May 24, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "UH Traditions". University of Hawai'i Athletics. Retrieved May 24, 2015. 
  4. ^ http://starbulletin.com/2000/07/27/sports/story1.html
  5. ^ "Nickname Of UH Men's Teams To Be Rainbow Warriors". 5 May 2013. Retrieved 11 Nov 2013. 
  6. ^ "'Rainbows' return as U.H. name change becomes official". 1 July 2013. Retrieved 11 Nov 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "History of the WAC". Western Athletic Conference. Retrieved May 24, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "About The Big West Conference". Big West Conference. Retrieved May 24, 2015. 
  9. ^ "HAWAI'I". Mountain West Conference. Retrieved May 24, 2015. 
  10. ^ "THE MOUNTAIN PACIFIC SPORTS FEDERATION 2014-2015 Participating Members". CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 24, 2015. 
  11. ^ "(logo) Hawai'i". University of Hawai'i Athletics. Retrieved May 23, 2015. 
  12. ^ "NCAA DII, DIII membership approves Sand Volleyball as 90th championship". NCAA. Retrieved May 24, 2015. 
  13. ^ "UH to self-impose penalties for NCAA violations". HawaiiNewsNow. May 15, 2015. Retrieved May 24, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Rise of the Wahine Documentary Film". 

External links[edit]