Hawaii coach Luke Gill promised a wide open style of play on this date in 1940, and his team delivered.
The Rainbows fell to the Hawaiian Polar Bears 35-28 in front of a huge crowd of 15,000 at Honolulu Stadium, but Gill’s offense had Star-Bulletin Sports Editor Don Watson gushing.
Watson made note of the many errors by Gill’s crew and was quick to point out that it cost them the game but was smitten by the unheard of 183 passing yards on and even crazier 34 attempts by Melvin Abreu, Johnny Naumu and Joe Kaulukukui. Hawaii stuck with the air attack despite the first try being intercepted by former USC star Glen Gavin.
Gill was an assistant under Otto Klum for 10 years before the latter was dismissed after a contract dispute. Klum wanted his role reduced to only football coach so that he could spend the rest of his time on his ranch in Southern Oregon and UH officials weren’t having it.
Klum missed spring practice in 1939 to attend to his factory in Oakland where he was producing tackling dummies that were used all over the country.
Gill lasted as football coach for only two years before returning to Oregon. He died in 1981 at the age of 83.