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Archive for Tuesday, November 20, 2007

University of Hawaii, KU share more than undefeated record

November 20, 2007

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Only two Division I Football Bowl Subdivision schools remain undefeated at this late juncture in the college football season.

One is, of course, the hometown Kansas Jayhawks. The other is the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. Though the two schools are separated by four time zones and nearly 3,600 miles - and good luck driving that - they share a bond beyond the goose eggs in the loss column.

The president of the University of Hawaii system is a Jayhawk, a graduate of KU just months before KU made its appearance in the Orange Bowl in the '60s. David McClain leads a nine-campus system that includes that University of Hawaii-Manoa, home of the Rainbow Warrior.

"We're celebrating our centennial right now," McClain said. "When we started, we started at Manoa."

McClain graduated from KU in May 1968 with a degree in economics. After a stint in the Army, he received a doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He landed in Hawaii in 1991.

He just missed seeing KU's 1968 team play in the Orange Bowl.

"By that time, I was drafted into the army in the middle of getting all my training," he said.

McClain said he's watched KU's season with great interest, catching the Kansas State and Iowa State games on TV. He's proud - and perhaps shocked - to see both his alma mater and his employer in the conversation for a berth in a Bowl Championship Series game.

"It's a pretty rare combination," he said. "There's a couple of reasons to be surprised - one having to do with Kansas and the other having to do with Hawaii."

In other words, McClain said, neither team has historically been so good.

"Under June's leadership, our team has worked to be consistently competitive, and under (Mark) Mangino, KU has become competitive as well," he said. June Jones is the coach at Hawaii.

But McClain is not the only islander with an attachment to the Jayhawks. Michael Chun, who received doctorate and bachelor's degrees from KU and a master's degree from Hawaii, serves as the headmaster of a statewide system of private K-12 schools for native Hawaiians.

He also was a player on the KU football team in the early 1960s.

"I think it would be very interesting if (KU and Hawaii) got to play each other," Chun said. "But it doesn't look like the bowl system would let that happen."

Chun said he was excited by the progress the Jayhawks have made. "I'm really looking forward to the game against Missouri," he said. "It's going to be the game of the century."

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