’92 Rainbow Warriors join the Circle

Bob Marley, Tupac, Queen, Jimi Hendrix never won a Grammy.

Tom Cruise, Will Smith and Harrison Ford never won an Oscar.

And it would be a surprise to many that the 1992 Rainbow Warriors had not been inducted into the UH Circle of Honor.

That changed with today’s announcement that the 1992 Holiday Bowl champs were among five inductees into this year’s class. Dave Shoji, Don and Marion Murphy, K. Mark Takai and Marilyn Moniz-Kaho‘ohanohano also will be celebrated in a dinner in October and with commemmorative plaques in the Stan Sheriff Center.

And while all are very much deserving, special acknowledgement goes to the ’92 team, which represents not only an 11-victory team and UH’s first mainland-bowl winner, but also that era. Bob Wagner, head coach of the ’92 team, and his predecessor, Dick Tomey, fielded some teams that ranked among the program’s finest … except they played at a time when there were much fewer bowls.

The ’92 season was particularly challenging. The Rainbow Warriors opened with consecutive road games at Oregon and Air Force. And while in Colorado Springs, Hurricane Iniki struck the islands. The Rainbow Warriors’ regular season was highlighted with the upset of BYU — thanks to that 53-yard pass from Ivin Jasper to Matt Harding — and the comeback against Pitt that ended after many of the East Coast voters submitted their ballots. How difficult was it to get into a bowl? A 7-4 San Diego State, led by Marshall Faulk, was left home. And, worse for the Aztecs, the Rainbow Warriors got to practice at the SDSU facilities in preparation for the Holiday Bowl.

Illinois finished third in the Big Ten that year after defeating Ohio State in The Horseshoe and tying Michigan. The Illini’s were so stacked that linebackers Kevin Hardy and Simeon Rice went No. 2 and No. 3 overall in the 1996 NFL draft.

But the Rainbow Warriors had their own stars: Michael Carter orchestrating the triple option, straight-ahead runner Travis Sims (“looks like Barney, hits like Bam-Bam), wideout Darrick Branch, kicker Jason Elam, defensive linemen Taase Faumui, Junior Tagoai and Maa Tanuvasa, linebackers Stewart Williams and Louis Randall, and defensive backs Bryan Addison, Zac Odom and Doe Henderson.

On a chilly night in Jack Murphy Stadium, the Rainbow Warriors beat Illinois. A week later, they finished in the top 20.


  1. haka July 24, 2017 8:39 am

    Ah the memories!
    Those were some fun times!
    More are on the horizon!
    Pride returns to the Rock!

  2. boolakanaka July 24, 2017 8:47 am

    Cheeehoooo to those glory years!!! 92 was seminal!!! But, I still say, the 1981, 9-2, poor ting no had bowl game for us, was the talented and underrated. I counted 17-18 guys that ended up playing on Sundays.

  3. Dister July 24, 2017 8:54 am

    I am glad I went to the Holiday Bowl. Flew TWA to get there. Still remember Michael Carter’s pass to Darrick Branch for the TD as if it happened yesterday.

  4. islandman July 24, 2017 9:45 am

    I don’t see the 2007 team or Colt Brennan listed in the Circle of Honor ?

  5. Duster July 24, 2017 10:05 am

    I’m glad I went to the Holiday Bowl game. I can still remember Darrick Branch chugging to the end zone after receiving the pass from Michael Carter. It seems like it was only yesterday. It was a special year and a special group who took us along for the ride.

  6. Duster July 24, 2017 10:07 am

    I have a comment awaiting moderation – probably because of the typo in my name. Perhaps Stephen/the moderator can delete it.

  7. NotNasti July 24, 2017 10:41 am

    ST: I’m still stuck on the first sentence of your post. Bob, Queen, et. al.. It’s going to bother me for the rest of the day.
    “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.”

  8. boolakanaka July 24, 2017 11:22 am

    To be pithy about it, Bob Marley did win a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001…obviously posthumously.

  9. Old School Dave July 24, 2017 11:40 am

    Equally impressive was the fact that the 92 team had also overcome a previous season filled with “Pilikia” that was a distraction and led to them being picked near the bottom of the old EAC.

  10. Old School Dave July 24, 2017 11:41 am

    Meant “old WAC.” Fingers r too fat ????

  11. orioles4eva July 24, 2017 11:59 am

    I was at that game, it was fun to watch, beating big bad Illinois. As it got later in the game it got really cold and that kind of chilled my enthusiasm just a bit.

  12. touchthestick? July 24, 2017 3:33 pm

    On today’s blog topic of lists, here’s one more offseason odd job to add to the lead paragraph in Sunday’s article:
    restaurant host.

    The biggest day at the restaurant is not Pigskin Pig Out but St. Paddy’s Day.

    Lines out the door, corn’ beef flying out the kitchen, hostesses flying chairs around to fit Irish-for-the-day celebrants around tables-for-two.

    In the middle of the chaos was a special guest host wearing a leprechaun outfit,
    Mr. Jolly Saint Nick himself.

    “Don Murphy helps us out so much it’s the least I can do for him.”

    But did he have to show us to a table and then stick around to kiss all the ladies?

  13. Akamai Okole July 24, 2017 5:10 pm

    Great Evening All!

    Sometimes I walk around and read the Circle of Honorees and gotta ask, “Who dat?”

    …not the case with this class.

    Das it

  14. H-Man July 24, 2017 5:31 pm

    HawaiiAthletics’ Mountain West Media Day pictures show Dru with a new haircut – short. He looks different. Jahlani sure is tall.

  15. SteveM July 24, 2017 6:59 pm

    Pssst… Happy 11th Anniversary of The Warrior Beat blog!

    ST had a video made for the 10th anniversary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcOZbntUHUU

  16. cappie the dog July 24, 2017 8:11 pm

    In its original context, the album “News of the World”, the co-opted sports anthems “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”, could have been the opening tracks to a dystopian sci-fi narrative, but alas, Queen was not prog-rock; not Rush. All four members of Queen contributed songs. That is why a lot of their albums lack coherence. But if Milli Vanilli and the Starland Vocal Band have Grammys, so should Queen. “Somebody to Love” deserves the Grammy for “Best Song”. “A Night at the Opera” is a pretty great album.

    Bob Marley deserves a Grammy for “Redemption Song”.

    When I was in junior high, I once made the argument that Dweezil Zappa was a better guitarist than Jimi Hendrix. I take that back.

  17. cappie the dog July 24, 2017 8:15 pm

    I remain adamant about the 1988 football team as being the greatest of all time.

    I think the Iowa win is the program’s finest moment.

    Does anybody know off-hand why the Aloha Bowl was such snobs about Hawaii?

    The year in which they finally got in, what I remember is an Oregon State fumble in the end-zone that would have been overturned had their been instant replay.

  18. Gmoney July 24, 2017 10:34 pm

    Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that #90 remains unassigned? ????

  19. Stephen Tsai July 25, 2017 4:16 am

    New post: http://hawaiiwarriorworld.com/?p=44197

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