HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii announced Monday that the Rainbow Warrior football team would call the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex home for at least the next three years.
The move comes after a letter, signed by both school president David Lassner and athletics director David Matlin and obtained by Hawaii News Now, blasted Aloha Stadium management for their financial agreement with the Stadium Authority and the decision to shutter all new events at the venue — leaving UH officials scrambling to find a new home for the ‘Bows.
Ideas of an all road schedule or moving to War Memorial Stadium in Maui began to circulate once the announcement was made, but the Warriors are staying on Oahu and on campus.
“There is a lot of work and collaboration to be done, including with the City & County and our neighbors, but we are extremely excited about this opportunity and see enormous potential in playing on-campus for the first time in our history,” said athletics director David Matlin. “Our goal is to offer a more intimate experience for our fans and a direct path for our student body to engage and create a true college football atmosphere.”
The Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex is home to multiple UH sports and where the football team holds some practices and their annual Spring Game, but will now serve as the temporary home of the Rainbow Warriors until at least 2024 — the estimated year that the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District will be completed.
The severely-downsized stadium only holds about 2,500 fans, but with the ongoing pandemic, it is unsure if there will be fans allowed at games in 2021.
Longtime UH football analyst, former player and coach Rich Miano is thrilled with the news and calls it an investment for the future.
“This was a condemned field in the 2007 Sugar Bowl run,” Miano said. “This was something that didn’t have bleachers, a press box, a sound system, a scoreboard. It was a zero on a one to ten scale in terms of facilities. It will be something that will help in recruiting. It will be something that I think really will make everybody associated with events and entertainment proud because it’s the missing link.”
School officials say they have plans to perform significant upgrades to the facility, including the replacement of the field turf, the addition of a new scoreboard, increased seating capacity, speaker systems, and an upgrade to the press box.
It’s unknown what the final price tag would be, but Miano thinks this sets the stage for other events and will be a venue supporters can be proud of.
“I think the fans will enjoy this experience immensely,” Miano added. “The students walking down from the dormitories, people getting into those parking lots and tailgating and overlooking Cooke field. It’s just something that I thought from the very beginning, if they had a few more million dollars, why not make this a 7,500 or 10,000 seat stadium?”
Matlin says the plan is for the team to play there for at least the next three seasons and the school hopes to have it ready to go by UH’s season opener on September 4th.
In possibly UH’s last game at Aloha Stadium, the ‘Bows closed out their 2020 campaign with a 38-21 victory over UNLV in front of a cardboard crowd.