HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii fell just short of an upset, losing 17-16 to 25th-ranked Washington in Saturday night's football season opener. But organizers of a community fundraising effort say the Rainbow Warriors' performance may boost donations.
"Oh, it was terrific. They really played well," said longtime football supporter Don Murphy of Murphy's Bar and Grill. "I came away from that game thinking, boy we can win six or seven games this year. This team's for real."
Murphy's restaurant has hosted an annual fundraiser for the football team. But now he and other supporters are confident that an improve team will drum up more support for We Get 'Em, a grassroots fundraiser announced just last Friday.
" We think we're gonna run it for 60 days and do what we can do. Like (fellow fundraising leader) Ray Noh said, if ten percent of the people who live in Hawaii gave 30 dollars each, that would be three million dollars and that would cover that deficit," said Murphy.
That's the amount UH Athletics Director Ben Jay said the program needed this year, when he told the Board of Regents that sports -- including football -- could be cut if deficits aren't reduced. But Murphy said it's not just UH that has longtime athletics budget woes.
"It's every school in the country. There's only like 15 schools in the country that are in the black," he said. He added about the fundraiser, "It's not just for football, it's for the whole athletic department. All the different sports."
Murphy said "We Get 'Em" doesn't have a set fundraising goal. They just want to raise money for student-athletes. And a good showing in the football season opener can only help.
"They fought hard, the deference is terrific. They shut those guys down in the second half," he said. "So we really hope that this will help generate and get people a little more fired up and more interested in the whole deal."
For more information on We Get 'Em, click here.