UH fans split on team name

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Feb 13 2013 05:29:00 PM HST

Two camps form as the University of Hawaii Athletics Department plan team name changes.

HONOLULU -

University of Hawaii fans are split into two camps.  One said UH is the Rainbows and should always be the Rainbows. Others said it's time to adapt to the new name.

Shopping for UH sports gear can get confusing.

UH men's basketball T-shirts say "Rainbow Warriors." Football shirts  just "Warriors," and baseball shirt's say "Rainbows," but not for long. Well, not for long. The school has whittled it down to two nicknames. Warriors for the men, Rainbow Wahine for the women.

Brand marketers said that's a necessary change.

"Most colleges have one single brand and you want to grow that brand over the years so you are unified, remembered," said Janet Scheffer with Mana Means Communication.

UH teams had a single brand dating back to the 1920s. That changed in 2000 when then-football coach June Jones changed it to Warriors. Some have never let the Rainbows go. The vintage UH rainbow print shirts are Rainbowtique's top seller.

"I think just because we ran with Rainbows for so long for our football team it has a lasting memory with the island itself," said Brandon Adams with Rainbowtique.
 
"I think there's a whole other group of people born and raised here that grew up with the Rainbows that will really never be able to break away from that image," said Scheffer.

But brand marketers stress having one name cuts down on confusion.



"I think they should keep it all one things so that it's not confusing for everyone not to know what sport is what," said Mark Wooldridge, a UH swim team athlete.

"When I transferred here I didn't know which was which. All I knew was Warriors, but I didn't know who were the Rainbows, to be exact," said Kassandra Sauafea, UH student.

UH Athletic Director Ben Jay said this change will also probably lead to uniform changes. Right now he said there are four different apparel companies making the uniforms for UH, so he wants to get more consistency there, also.

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