A Chaminade-Virginia reflection

The Maui Invitational is in its 32nd year.
The Maui Invitational is in its 32nd year.

The Maui Invitational is pretty good about spotlighting figures from the historic Chaminade-Virginia game of 1982. For good reason — the event wouldn’t exist without that 77-72 game on Dec. 23, 1982 game at the Blaisdell Arena, which some consider the biggest college hoops upset ever.

A couple years ago, it was Ralph Sampson and Tony Randolph. Dave Odom, an assistant with UVA for that game, has been the tournament chairperson the last few years.

This year, the tournament got Virginia’s head coach from three decades ago, Terry Holland, to come speak about the game. What made his appearance remarkable?

“This is my first time (being back),” Holland told reporters Sunday.

Holland coached the Cavaliers until 1990 and became AD there for a while. More recently, he was AD at East Carolina.

As it happens, according to Holland, the Chaminade game (the upset was actually the third time they played) might not have taken place were it not for the popularity of Hawaii’s Rainbow Classic at the time.

“Well, to be honest, we tried to get into the Rainbow,” he said. “Because we were reaching the point it felt like our program was (on the rise). We’d just recruited Sampson, he would be a freshman that year, and then we started looking around saying, ‘all these other teams are playing these exempt games. They’re getting the minutes on us. We need to think about trying to get into the Rainbow.’ We called (UH) and they said, ‘well, we can work you in maybe 10 years from now.’ Well, that doesn’t do us a whole heck of a lot of good. So we got out the NCAA book and started looking through. We found Chaminade. Well, they were Division II, NAIA, but if they want to play, let’s see if they’ll do it. I called (Chaminade AD) Mike Vasconcellos and he jumped right on it. Like I say, I said, we can’t come out here for just one game. We’ve gotta have at least a second game. We’d prefer to have a third, as well. He said, ‘well, I can get BYU-Hawaii. I’ll call you back.’ And sure enough he did. So, we played in ’80, again in ’82 and then again in ’82-83. That was the big one, the big one coming back from Japan.”

Holland was gracious with his time about what he remembered from the Chaminade game, and more gracious still about the play of the Silverswords.

“We knew it would attract a lot of attention when people woke up the next day,” Holland said. “People did say, ‘what the heck? Is this an April Fools joke, a New Years Eve joke or something?’ But it was not. Like I say, they played extremely well. We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but that was because of their defense. They did a good job of changing defenses. And our kids played hard. A lot of people think, ‘well, you were in Hawaii, coming from Japan.’ Our guys played as hard as they could. Not particularly well at times, but they played hard. That’s all you can ask.”


  1. Creative721 November 23, 2015 3:06 pm

    Wow! So that means if UH were smart, they would have gotten one of the other teams to cancel and the Rainbow Classic would have been the defacto holiday tournament out here in Hawaii instead of the Maui Invitational. Someone in the UH Athletic Department really dropped the ball on this one by not booking Virginia! Missed opportunities. *sigh*

  2. Musashi-san November 24, 2015 6:15 am

    You know, the Rainbow Classic had a lot of good (very good) teams playing year in and year out. I don’t think UH “dropped the ball” on this. If Virginia played in the Classic, who’s to say that UH would have played Virginia and beat them.

    UH had their moments in beating teams like Kansas (that I think they when to the final 4 that year), but that did not save the Classic as we know it before.

    Unfortunately, it became finding sponsors and finding top teams to play here.

    But that day when Chaminade beat Virginia, it didn’t matter if you were a UH fan or a Chaminade fan, it was a GREAT victory for the State of Hawaii and for Chaminade.

  3. akuhead2 November 24, 2015 7:40 pm

    Not enough can be said about Tony Randolf. The story goes he grew up playing against Ralph Sampson. He knew his moves and was unafraid. Add to that they had an awesome shooting game and great coaching. Made for quite a game.

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