Todd Graham takes part in Hawaii football tradition

Big Island artist Jeff Gomes designed this koa lei that was presented to UH football coach Todd Graham today

The Warriors departed today for the season opener against Fresno State, but not before head coach Todd Graham was presented with a symbolic koa lei.

Hawaii island craftsman JefF Gomes completed the lei on Wednesday, then sent it by express delivery to Na Koa’s clubhouse. Jenn Smythe tracked the shipment, and went it finally arrived, she raced to present it to a grateful Graham.

The idea of a coach’s koa lei was spawned a couple years when a group of fans, led by Kekoa Furtado, wanted to start a tradition connecting koa — a metaphor for “warrior” in Hawaiian culture — with the UH football program. Several fans then commissioned a Brook Parker painting depicting Polynesian warriors. The group also paid for the koa board handing in the UH locker room that the Warriors touch for inspirations before every practice.

It was at the presentation ceremony for the painting and board when a donor’s koa lei drew attention. It then was agreed to use donations to create a koa lei for Nick Rolovich.

Following Rolovich’s departure, it was decided to keep the tradition going. The project was put on hold when it appeared there would not be a season this year. But when plans for the Warriors’ eight-game season materialized, the lei project resumed.Jerry Boster and Tim Bowden were instrumental organizers. Here are some of the financial contributors to the lei:

> Tim Bowden

> Jerry Boster

> Randy Hiraki

> Gilbert Horita

> Garett Ichimura

> Liz Hahn

> Keith Kuniyasu

> Jonathan Roop

> Dennis Wong

> Rich Darvey

> Jaime Go

> Tino Tumpap

> Joanne Mor

> Keith Takeda

* * * * *

Following this morning’s workout, the Warriors departed on a non-stop Hawaiian Airlines flight to Sacramento. The UH travel party were the only non-airline passengers on the flight. The Warriors then were set to make the bus ride to Fresno.


  1. Da Punchbowl Kid October 22, 2020 8:04 pm


  2. phil the handy dog October 22, 2020 8:44 pm

    great to see the blog back, Mr. Tsai.

    rooting for this newspaper to survive.

    good luck, coach graham.

  3. haka October 22, 2020 8:50 pm

    Aloha ST!
    Howzit DPK!
    Go Warriors!
    ImPOUND da Dawgs!

  4. One Sr October 22, 2020 10:41 pm

    Aloha ST!
    Great to see the blog up and running once again. Warrior football is back!! Anxiously waiting to see the Warriors take the field on Saturday. I feel that everyone is in the same boat, no spring ball, not able to fully prepare or implement as many schemes for the season. But, I believe that the experience on the Oline is an advantage for us not to mention the QB. The front seven looks solid. Was surprised to see who is listed at DE’s. Looks like maybe wanting to have more speed and as many of your best athletes on D on the field?
    Go Bows!!

  5. Da Punchbowl Kid October 23, 2020 12:07 am

    Haka! Howzit braddah braddah!

  6. NorthShoreFan October 23, 2020 8:57 am

    Aloha Tsaikos!….Long time no talk and see… mo t-gate this year but at least can make some “noise” ova hea….
    Good to have the blog back!
    Mahalo ST…

  7. NorthShoreFan October 23, 2020 9:06 am

    Cool looking lei….Mahalo Tsaikos!

    Looking for a lot of discipline from the team. Running the plays is one thing but discipline is needed to do that. No after play trash talking….just get in formation and clear the head for the next play. Offense and defense. This should be the first thing the team needs to do….dropped balls cannot be helped….fumbles can be avoided.

  8. locomoco October 23, 2020 11:17 am

    HNL to Sacramento … yikes!
    Too bad they couldn’t have re-routed to San Jose!
    Go Bows!!!

  9. seewhy October 23, 2020 11:19 am

    ST, glad to see the blog back up and running.

    Great work everyone! From all the donors, to Jeff for creating the beautiful lei, and to Jenn with the clutch delivery. May the lei bring plenty of mana to the team! Go Bows!

  10. HawaiiMongoose October 23, 2020 11:54 am

    “Following this morning’s workout, the Warriors departed on a non-stop Hawaiian Airlines flight to Sacramento. The UH travel party were the only non-airline passengers on the flight.”

    Kudos to Hawaiian Airlines for finding a way to make that work. Short of diverting the destination from Sacramento to Fresno, that’s as close to a charter flight as you can get without it actually being a charter flight.

  11. SteveM October 23, 2020 12:30 pm

    Great background on the koa lei, ST!
    Mahalo to Jerry (SailorBlue) and Tim (DPK, Da Punchbowl Kid)!
    Hey–you guys lost my phone number? 😐

  12. tom-warriornation October 23, 2020 6:22 pm

    Great article ST; Hi SteveM; and they lost my number also, lol.
    GO BOWS–let’s bring home the bacon!
    Too bad all our road warriors couldn’t be there at the 50 yd line right behing their bench cheering them on!

  13. tom-warriornation October 23, 2020 6:23 pm

    UH website announced all 8 Hawaii games will be on the TEAM1SPORTS app for mainland fans. Free of charge.

  14. Maddog50 October 24, 2020 1:57 am

    Glad to be back

  15. A-joe October 24, 2020 3:17 am

    Good to see the OG Tsaikos finding ways to give back to the program. Thank you Tsai for providing this venue for all of us to meet up.

  16. Jack Flash October 24, 2020 7:37 am

    Game day is finally here- Go Warriors!

  17. LonelyHawaiiFan October 24, 2020 9:30 am

    Why isn’t anyone talking about what Spectrum is doing to UH Sports? This is an embarrassment to the program, the state and a slap in the face to business owners! #cancelspectrum #gowithdish

    UH games on Spectrum Sports Pay-Per-View will only be available to residential customers in Hawaii, and will not be offered to commercial establishments. This is in accordance to state and county guidelines that discourage large gatherings.

  18. SteveM October 24, 2020 12:12 pm

    RE: #14
    A-Joe (Addhknowjoe) — 12 of the 14 names in the contribution list have longtime and well known blog names. Unfortunately, I do not know the blog names (if any) of Jonathan Roop and Tino Tumpap

  19. burro sabio October 24, 2020 8:04 pm

    I hear that Jeff Gomes guy get one handsome baby brother.

  20. JesseJames October 24, 2020 9:23 pm

    Nice to be back…good win today

  21. 3-Prong October 25, 2020 11:36 am

    Howzit er’body. Long time. Congrats Bows🌈🤙🏼

  22. Da Punchbowl Kid October 25, 2020 10:57 pm

    Jesse – both the Gomeseseses braddahs sooo handsome!

Comments are closed.