By OSKAR GARCIA
HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii is officially unifying its team nicknames across sports, with all men’s teams to be known as the Warriors and all women’s teams to be known as the Rainbow Wahine.
The university announced its decision Wednesday afternoon, one day after Athletic Director Ben Jay told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the school was leaning in that direction after speaking with coaches, fans and student athletes.
“The words — warriors, wahine, and rainbow — represent who we are as a university and athletics department,” Jay said in a statement on Wednesday. “By utilizing these two nicknames, we keep with our tradition and are able to have a consistent branding and marketing message.”
Currently, the men’s teams go by three different names. Some, including football, already call themselves the Warriors. The baseball team is known as the Rainbows while the basketball team is known as the Rainbow Warriors.
All the school’s women’s teams are already known as the Rainbow Wahine. Wahine means “woman” in Hawaiian.
The change officially takes effect July 1.
The Rainbows nickname dates back to 1923, when a rainbow appeared over Moiliili Field during Hawaii’s upset of Oregon State. The university says reporters started calling the team (then known as the Deans) the Rainbows, starting the legend that the team wouldn’t lose whenever a rainbow appeared on the field.
Hawaii’s football team adopted the nickname the Rainbow Warriors in 1974, but dropped “Rainbow” in 2000.
Jay said in addition to people within the university, he spoke with corporate partners and business leaders in Hawaii to get their input.
“The common message was consistency and to find an identity,” Jay said.