HONOLULU (KHON2) — The last time the University of Hawaii football team switched venues was back in 1976 when they moved into was then the state-of-the-art Aloha Stadium under head coach Larry Price.
Prior to that the team played at Honolulu Stadium in Moiliili from 1926. The place affectionately known as the Termite Palace was home not to just football for high school and college but everything from carnivals to stock car races.
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Hawaii football was king. Back then 26,000 fans would fill stand stands to watch their beloved team.
“Well you know I played in the Old Stadium but I actually coached the very last game at the Old Stadium,” said former UH player and coach Rick Blangiardi. “I was there for the opening night of Aloha Stadium, throughout its whole history. I have had the benefit of some years in there that I was coaching. I spent 13 years in the games and remarkable memories. So this thing lives on.”
Of course now as Honolulu Mayor, Blangiardi has much more on his plate than just football. While he too is disappointed there will be no fans in attendance, he says seeing the team move on campus for the first time is long overdue.
“I was really looking forward to that event,” he said. “First and foremost as well as every other football fan. So this is a real disappointment. It’s a sign of what we are all dealing with. I’m really excited by you know we’ve been so consumed dealing with all aspects of this disease. Just if we can somehow maybe I can even divorce myself and go watch some football, it’ll be a great distraction.”
Former UH an NFL player Rich Miano will be a part of the history making day on Saturday, Sept. 4.
Although he regrets the players won’t have any fans in the stands, he’s still excited for the opportunity the players will have being on their own field.
“I just think having the students on campus, and then come down on game day atmosphere” said Miano. “It’s going to be exciting to see the new sound system and video board, football game play in seeing a football game played in Manoa. There will be rainbows eventually.”
After enjoying Aloha Stadium as a player and then as a broadcaster, Miano will be in the broadcast booth again Saturday with Kanoa Leahey kicking off a new era in UH football. It is an era similar to Wahine volleyball, before they moved into the Stan Sheriff center.
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“The end zone seats are going to remind you like Klum gym,” said Miano. “You’re going to be so close to the players you can almost reach out and touch them. I think 9,000 fans screaming that close to the players is going to be a phenomenal home-field advantage. Once we get to that level when there are fans. I think it’s going to be really exciting. I’m glad to be a part of it calling again tomorrow night. I can’t wait to call that game tomorrow night.”