Volume 6, Issue 1 University of Houston
UH community gears up for Hawaii Bowl
Viewing parties are on tap for fans who can't make the trip
By Lisa Street
While Houstonians are busy bundling up and unwrapping seasonal cheer, the Cougar football team will be experiencing a sunny, sandy Christmas in paradise.
With the Cougars set to face the Hawaii Warriors at the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Day, the University community is alive with excitement and preparations for the big game.
"There has been a lot of cooperation between the Alumni Organization and the Athletics Department to get the word out about the game and make this a great event for all Cougars," Tom Cassidy, Houston Alumni Organization assistant director for member programs, said.
HAO encouraged its members and students to wear Hawaiian clothing and attend head coach Art Briles' radio program and a Cougar pride pep rally at the Athletic/Alumni Center on Monday.
After Briles' show, the Athletics Department's "ticket donation plan" received a great response, James Nicas, assistant athletics director for development, said.
A donation of $50 will get one member of the military a ticket to the bowl game and a red Cougar T-shirt to wear so the soldier can support the team in lieu of Houston fans who can't attend the game.
"As of (Tuesday) morning, we are at 850 tickets for soldiers stationed in Hawaii, and we want to make it to four digits," Nicas said. "That's always a good, solid number."
The football team has been working out its regular practice routine and has been coming up with special Hawaii Bowl game plays, Director of Football Operations Colin Shillinglaw said.
"The guys are excited, but at the same time determined to do something that hasn't been done in over 20 years -- win a bowl game," Shillinglaw said. "We've had good, spirited practices, and this is an exciting game for them as a team."
The Cougars' last bowl win was in 1980, when the team beat Navy 35-0 in the Garden State Bowl.
Conference USA regulations prevent the Cougar Marching Band from attending the game, but eight UH cheerleaders will fly to Hawaii to keep Cougar spirit alive.
The band would like to be able to go, but C-USA ruled that out because of the expense, band director David Bertman said.
"This has been an incredible unified season, and football has been the leader in this rallying point for the University," Bertman said.
UH fans who can't make the trip to Hawaii can tune in to ESPN at 7 p.m. Christmas Day to cheer on the team. The HAO will host bowl-viewing parties, complete with promotional give-aways and drawings, at three locations: Coog's in the University Center; F2's, 306 Main St.; and Sansone's, 14144 Westheimer Rd.
In Hawaii, the HAO will hold a reception at Honolulu's Sheraton Waikiki Hotel at 7 p.m. Dec. 24. Everyone attending the game is welcome to enjoy a $30-a-plate sit-down dinner.
The Cougar football team will leave the University
Hilton for Hawaii at 7:30 a.m. Friday and will arrive in Honolulu at 4
p.m. The team returns to Houston at noon Dec. 26.