Rainbows or Warriors

Some nickname consistency would be nice, wouldn’t it? This has long been a hot topic about UH sports, and it’s been coming up more and more lately, it seems.

Do you — and should you — call the UH men’s sports teams Warriors, Rainbow Warriors, or Rainbows? The UH men’s basketball team finds itself at a sort of unique crossroad as far as this goes, being that it incorporates both names.

There’s been an unspoken movement going to phase out the “Rainbow” from the team for the past couple of years, as evidenced by the team’s road jerseys, coach Gib Arnold’s word choice (except one recent home game when he said, “Good win for the Rainbows”) and websites such as WarriorInsider.com.

At the same time, nothing has officially changed. Every UH basketball press release goes by “Rainbow Warriors.”  Fans still chant “RAIN … BOWS” with the cheerleaders at home games, then start up the “Let’s Go Bows!” rallying cry.

In my relatively short time as a UH basketball writer (fourth year) I’ve referred to the team as the “Rainbow Warriors” on first reference in a story and then, generally speaking, either the “Rainbows” or ” ‘Bows” each time after that. I don’t write the headlines for my stories (nor does any other writer for theirs), where just “Rainbows” often appears to refer to the hoops team. Generally, I’m OK with that.

On the other hand, many of the freelancers we employ on road games simply call the team the “Warriors,” and we’ve gone with that, too, in their stories. Hard to blame the freelancers for the inconsistency with the “Warriors” jerseys staring them in the face.

For me personally, I’d be fine with calling them the Warriors, and only Warriors, IF there’s an official shift in policy from UH. Until that happens, sorry to those of you in favor of dropping the Rainbow. It’s there, so I’m obligated to use it.

Hopefully that clarifies a little bit where I stand on that. Feel free to post your thoughts on the matter.


Miah Ostrowski (20 assists on the Fresno State-Nevada road trip) was held out of practice for the second straight day on Tuesday with a possible staph infection. Will have more on his status for Thursday vs. Louisiana Tech when more’s known.


  1. Warrior Dave January 17, 2012 12:11 pm

    Should be Warriors!!!!

  2. eagle January 17, 2012 12:33 pm

    Whoah ! Get healthy Miah ! While Shaq & Bobby Miles Are Capable … the team chemistry and flow is noticeably different when you’re out — sometimes the lead moves in the opponent’s favor, sometimes the team just goes stagnant (slower and more deliberate can be o.k. if it’s also fewer turnovers and more scoring conversions) … depending what areas, might be able to play with infection bandaged up ?

    Isn’t the Team and Program Name a “Leadership” And Branding Issue ? Or are we just trying to provide Maximum Liberty ?! My perception is that Most of the “Hardliner Coaches” ‘retired’ or moved on … so i think the opportunity to standardize and not confuse the national media is here now, making Brian’s timing appropriate ….

    Go ‘Bows!
    Go Warriors!

  3. Kendall January 17, 2012 12:57 pm

    It’s hard enough to recruit to Hawaii. I remember a recruit saying that he didn’t want to come to Hawaii because he didn’t want to be a “Rainbow”. Remember we are talking about kids that are 17-20 years old.

    Men = Warriors
    Women = Rainbow Wahine

  4. Warriorbacker January 17, 2012 1:10 pm

    Change all men’s teams to warriors already,for consistency, even the baseball team. Come on JD!!!!

  5. kvlogic January 17, 2012 1:55 pm

    Kendall, try explaining that whole men=Warriors thing to the 1992 Rainbows, which won the WAC football championship and the Holiday Bowl. Maa Tanuvasa was every bit a man and didn’t seem to flinch at Rainbows. But then again, he was too busy kicking Illinois butt and taking names to worry about all that, I suppose.
    Funny that the whole Warriors thing was kick-started by a man named June. That’s the laughable part.

  6. rainbowforlife January 17, 2012 2:25 pm

    Kids don’t want to be referred to as Rainbows, and thus, it is abundantly clear kids and coaches who make their living recruiting kids to come here don’t want the Rainbow in it.

    However, ghosts of UH past, and big dollars and branding campaigns have already been sunk into Rainbow: see Rainbowtique, etc.

    Still no firm leadership to take control of this issue, and bite the bullet to make the difficult call to move forward, and hence we continue to wallow in indecision, and diluting opportunities to leverage and captialize on a unified UH brand moving forward.

    paralysis by analysis and indecision.

  7. bigislandkurt January 17, 2012 3:09 pm

    Shouldn’t the women be Warrior Wahine? 🙂

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind it one bit if we dropped the Rainbows forever.


  8. Lowtone123 January 17, 2012 3:36 pm

    Women=Wahine or Na Wahine

    As a lifelong UH fan I think “Rainbows” time has passed. I think we still can honor the past by using some “rainbow” colors in the uniforms like the baseball team still has orange in it’s uniform from the Sheridan/Oahu AJA team.

  9. eagle January 17, 2012 4:06 pm

    i like “Rainbows”

    BUT NOT For The Team Name ….

    MUST BE Good (HOT!) Topic … Plenny Response
    (Not mis-spelt, pidgin which is an Official English Dialect)


    Warrior Wahine is More Consistent And has a ring to it …

  10. Aaron January 17, 2012 4:15 pm

    I think the official name of all mens teams at UH should be “warriors” but there’s nothing wrong with “rainbows” or “‘bows” being the unofficial name used by the home team fans and such. I’m also okay with the cheerleaders keeping “let’s go bows” alive as well, kinda like a shout-out to Hawaii fans who’ve been around long enough or are “in the know” about the roots of the program.

  11. sachi January 17, 2012 4:41 pm

    I’ve emailed Gib a couple of times in reference to using just Warriors. He liked the idea. I hope he pushes Donovan to get off his fat okole and get the ball rolling on the name change.

  12. Pauoa Boy January 17, 2012 4:53 pm

    All men sports teams should be WARRIORS only! Rainbows is old school, time to move on and bring in the new. Save watching the rainbows for a rainy afternoon driving up the Pali or something…

  13. Grant January 17, 2012 5:02 pm


  14. pali January 17, 2012 5:11 pm

    keep the “rainbows”. who cares what it infers. it’s part of school history, it’s a trademark on campus. i hope the university can see beyond the marketing, branding and/or recruiting conflicts and realize that “rainbows” or “bows” is part of the UH culture and should be cherished and honored.

  15. bleedgreen January 17, 2012 5:35 pm

    It doesn’t matter what you call the team, its how they perform on the field/court. If it makes you, the fans, and players feel good about being know as the Warriors, then the Warriors it is. Personally, I like the Rainbow logo. The 1992 Rainbow team did not let their name stop them from winning the Holiday Bowl, to the surprise of their BIG 10 opponent, Illinois.

  16. bleedgreen January 17, 2012 5:36 pm

    How embarrassing, they lost to the “Rainbows.”

  17. Construction Software January 17, 2012 6:14 pm

    I’m with you on this one.

  18. jcole January 17, 2012 7:35 pm

    Sad to say, but it’s probably time to move to “Warriors” and “Warrior Wahine.” BUT Did anyone ask na wahine as a group what they think about it?
    Gone are the days when the stadium would rock with “Rain—-Bows,” so we might as well move on. BUT “Rainbows” still beats the heck out of “Cornhuskers,” “Buckeyes,” “Golden Gophers,” “Aggies,” and hosts of others, BUT if young male athletes players don’t think so, geezers like me should adapt. Ahhh, still can’t make up my durn mind.

  19. Chicken Grease January 17, 2012 7:52 pm


    I never liked the Rainbow concept. So ’70s, too. Rainbows aren’t exclusive to Hawai`i and Notre Dame football’s Leprechaun’s found gold at the end of every rainbow here every time they’ve played Hawai`i, so, the heck are we so proud of the rainbow as a logo.

    I personally think those who insist on bringing back the rainbow or keep on saying “go [yawn] ‘bows” at football games (soon enough can say this about Warrior b-ball) — I don’t care HOW much they donate to the athletic program — do not take UH sports seriously. I mean, sorry, but, going on the road with a color pattern you learn in kindergarten as your statement, well, maybe that ends up showing that your school really DOESN’T have support.

    The polynesian motif H logo was the best thing that happened for the UH athletic program.

    ‘Til the last of my days and the days of at least a million generations after me, “GO WARRIORS!!!!!! GO GREEN, SILVER, AND BLACK!!!!!!

  20. tsboy January 17, 2012 8:34 pm

    i’m from the time of the Rainbows. but have been calling the team Warriors since JJ changed it. all the mens’ teams should be Warriors, period. the football and volleyball teams are already Warriors. basketball is halfway there. the hardest one to get changed is going to be the baseball team. they are still called the Rainbows.
    i like Na Wahine for the womens teams.

  21. Sickman Fraud January 17, 2012 8:36 pm

    Go Bows! Go Warrior! I prefer Rainbows because I’m old school but what do I know or care. Just win baby!

  22. Brian McInnis January 17, 2012 8:54 pm

    Thanks for the thoughts everyone. Glad to see so many passionate replies about it.

    It’s clear the views here skew more toward the “Warrior” side of it. That’s perfectly fine, but I still feel obligated to acknowledge the “Rainbow” too.

    Who knows, perhaps UH will make a change at some point.

  23. sports for fun January 17, 2012 10:23 pm

    Gib Arnold was at the Kamehameha/Punahou game tonight…

  24. hon2255 January 18, 2012 7:08 am

    It’s the Warriors all the way for the men.

  25. pocho January 18, 2012 8:35 am

    I’d say keep the name, “Rainbow Warriors”

    as you’ve written there’d be one less cheer for UH’s fans to holler if it’s just “Warriors”. The Stan’s chant of “Rain” “Bows”, “Rain” “Bows”,”Rain” “Bows” would sorrily be missed. It’s a way to get the fans in the Stan involved as you’d hear one side of the Stan yelling “Rain” and on the other “Bows”. That gets the blood flowing!

  26. rainbowbballer January 18, 2012 9:25 am

    aloha brian,
    I believe this “name thing” is full of IT. Lets go Win something like the WAC tournament, etc. Dont distract the players from their goal! After that hanging a name on them would be a natural thing. Also, watched the greatest game on Sunday and Riley should had a bunch of good players, a number of the back up players were the starters to take us to the NCAA. Wow, just have to give the credit to Coach Riley. Last thing, Marques Alexander had a great outlet pass, their run at opportunity, was awesome. If you have some input to the games shown how about, Troy Bowe teams, the legacy is there, do we wipe out the memories before we accomplish New Great Memories. Go Rainbows!!

  27. zzzzzz January 18, 2012 9:27 am

    “Gib Arnold was at the Kamehameha/Punahou game tonight…”

    You mean the Warriors’ game?

  28. Kaneohe Resident January 18, 2012 9:50 am

    Why does UH suffer from lack of appreciation for tradition? Remember awhile back when UH changed it seal to something “more modern”? Male recruits don’t want to be called a Rainbow? Definitely that recruit should go to another school since his manhood will be seriously challenged being called a Rainbow! Maybe another school called the Anteaters! Your school’s name don’t dictate your athletic ability. Your performance on the field does.

    GO BOWS!

  29. eagle January 18, 2012 11:13 am

    i can support a standard “Power” Name that helps football recruiting of 17-20 year olds who have concerns about playing for rainbows …
    [The Rainbow Coalition and Gay Rights flags Have Made an Impact on the mainland …]

    So Warriors is a good/appropriate Official Team Name…

    …and as we’ve seen since they started the warriors name (alone) nothing should stop the unofficial nicknames … Lots of Teams including National champ ‘Bama have additional pet & nicknames — as long as it’s not the official team name, i don’t have a problem with people cheering & chanting for the “Fighting Deans” (the official team name before Rainbows and Rainbow Warriors)

    [The Name thing needs to be resolved and should have next to no effect on properly coached and focused basketball players …]
    Since Troy Bowe came up, should also remember that he didn’t qualify to play as a freshman, then drove Riley nuts for two years with turnovers and charging calls until it all clicked in for him and he had the spectacular senior season mentioned above… so (for the impatient ones) cut freshman Shaq and sophomore Bobby Miles a little slack on becoming effective in the system …

  30. Dave Reardon January 19, 2012 11:52 am

    It’s times like this when I wonder if Oregon State ever thinks it might win a few more recruiting battles if it changed its nickname to something other than Beavers. I’m with the poster who basically said that if someone’s masculinity/ego is so fragile that he is bothered by what someone thinks of the team nickname, that person might not have the mental or emotional fortitude to perform well in front of large, boisterous crowds anyway, especially on the road. With all that being said, this is almost like not having a college football playoff or the lack of consistency in baseball rules (designated hitter). The longer it remains unresolved, the more it is discussed.

  31. Dave Reardon January 19, 2012 11:53 am

    … and maybe that isn’t such a bad thing for branding, although the conventional “wisdom” dictates otherwise.

  32. roygbivfan January 19, 2012 12:58 pm

    “let’s go war-riors” just doesn’t sound right in a football game. basketball, ok.

  33. warriorrebel January 19, 2012 3:18 pm

    I’ve always called UH “Rainbow Warriors”, since I was a kid back in the 70’s.

  34. Robin January 20, 2012 1:06 pm

    I like unique names, and Warriors is hardly unique. Kamehameha, Kapaa, Marquette, and Golden State..and I am sure there are others at the high school and college levels. Though I had on a grey sweater with green Warriors lettering on it, the dancer at a club in San Francisco thought that it was for Golden State:). That said, Rainbow Warriors. I think if polled, people would say the white helmet with the Rainbow and menehune running with the ball w/flames coming from the heels was the best helmet.
    Other unique names I like: Buff-N-Blue, Kamakani, Lunas, Pine Lads (and Lasses), Wheat Shockers, Golden Hurricane, Thundering Herd, etc.

  35. Kevin January 21, 2012 10:07 pm



    No need to add to the confusion by trying to alter the ONE constant this whole time and that is the name of the women programs.

    Im 29 and I have no general problem with “Rainbow’ being identified in our nicknames even though I prefer Warriors for all men’s sports.

    People forget why we were dubbed the ‘Rainbows’ to begin with and it has NOTHING to do with special interest groups or anything like that.

    People complain UH has no traditions like other places.. well, the one tradition we do have and still hear (lets go bows…) is unappreciated.

    Try ask guys like Niko and Al Noga if they felt and played like nancies because they were ‘Rainbow Warriors’.

  36. Cali76 January 24, 2012 1:17 pm

    Great win against NMSU. No blog write-up? I watched the game from another country and was very excited about winning. I figured it would be NEWS back home in Hawaii Nei. Not looking (or worthy enough) for a front page spread, but at least a blog discussion. What say you, Mr. McInnis?

  37. Brian McInnis January 27, 2012 1:25 pm


    You hooked me in with the “What say you?” part — that sounded straight from Return of the King. The NMSU game was indeed a big win for them. I just did a new entry about the narrow loss at USU, so hopefully that sates your appetite for the time being.

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