More than just a 1-0 start to Mountain West Conference play will be on the line when the University of Hawaii football team plays host to San Jose State this Saturday night at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex in Manoa.
The Rainbow Warriors and Spartans will play for the Dick Tomey Legacy Trophy, which was created in honor of the legendary head coach of both programs who passed away in May 2019.
San José State holds possession of the trophy after winning last season’s contest 35-24 in Honolulu.
“I walk by it every day, and it makes me smile,” Spartans head coach Brent Brennan said. “It makes me think he’s looking at me, telling me to be more diligent about coaching this or coaching that, or too many offside penalties in the last game, or whatever. I can hear his voice as I walk past the trophy every day.”
Tomey coached UH for 10 seasons from 1977-86, compiling a 63-46-3 record, and spent one season as special teams coordinator in 2011. He is a member of the school’s Sports Circle of Honor. Tomey coached SJSU for five seasons which included a 9-win campaign in 2006.
“Coach Tomey was a great mentor. He’s one of the first persons that told me about Hawaii,” said Rainbow Warriors head coach Todd Graham. “I can remember going to Pebble Beach and playing in the Pebble Beach Classic with him, he always helped me. I got the job at Arizona State, he was a former head coach at Arizona and came and commented on how excited he was to have me at Arizona State and actually supported me in that role and people hammered him for that. He didn’t care. He was a person of great integrity. He was a tough guy, a defensive guy. He was a good friend.”
The Dick Tomey Legacy Trophy is one of four rivalry trophies that UH regularly plays for. Of the four, UH has possession of the Island Showdown Trophy, which it competes for against UNLV.
“When I first got here, when I walked into the office that was the first thing I seen was that trophy sitting there and we need to get that trophy back,” said Graham.
UH leads the all-time series 22-20-1. The teams have played every year since 1996 with the exception of 2012.
SJSU snapped a four-game slide in the series with last season’s win in Honolulu. The game was re-located to Aloha Stadium after the Spartans were unable to play at home due to COVID restrictions.
In that game, the Spartans raced out to a 21-0 lead just 10 minutes into the game and led wire-to-wire. The Warriors got back into it scoring 17 unanswered before SJSU scored two more touchdowns to seal the win.
This will be the third straight meeting in Honolulu, where SJSU leads 14-13.
City and County of Honolulu officials notified the University of Hawaii in August that fans will not be allowed at UH Manoa’s season-opening events due to the state’s recent record surge in COVID-19 cases and the resulting overwhelmed hospital capacity.
The decision to host fans will be re-evaluated in the coming weeks.
The game will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1 with a kickoff time of 6:30pm.