Hawai'i Marches To Some New Football Tunes

By Staff

Coaching Management, 13.4, April 2005, http://www.momentummedia.com/articles/cm/cm1304/bbhawaii.htm

Good stadium music inspires players and fans while reminding the visitors they're on foreign turf, which is why some of the best stadium themes play on the intrinsic culture of the home team's city or institution. One of the most successful recent examples of a football program capitalizing on its native sound is the University of Hawai'i, where home fans and visiting teams were greeted during the 2004 season campaign by war drums, conch calls, chanting, and traditional Polynesian musicians.

The brief stadium themes unveiled for Warriors home games in 2004 were overseen by Head Coach June Jones. The six taped pieces include "Conch Shell," which is played before kickoff, "Eo Eo," which is played during timeouts, and "Warrior Strut," which is played as the Warriors enter the field.

The lyrics to "Warrior Strut," provided by Kanalu Young, a professor of Hawai'ian studies at the university, include a traditional Hawai'ian call to arms, "Eo Na Toa E," which translates to "This is battle. You must respond." Those words have become the team's unofficial motto, with players wearing it on their shirts and fans chanting the words during games.

"The new music has changed the whole atmosphere of our home games," says Jones. "Our crowd used to sit on their hands at times during the game, but this music has really brought them into the game. As soon as they hear 'Eo Na Toa E,' everybody responds. And in the six years I've been here, that never happened before.

"We wanted to establish an identity of who we are, and this has done that," Jones continues. "It really is us. It ties us all together, and over time it will become even more powerful, giving our program a new tradition."

The idea originated with five-time Grammy Award-winning composer Mike Post, who has written music for dozens of television shows, including "Hill Street Blues, "Law & Order," and "NYPD Blue." Post, who has lived part-time in Hawai'i for the past 30 years, became friends with Jones when the former Hawai'i quarterback returned to lead the program in 1999.

"When I first came back, Mike mentioned to me that he wanted to do something for the school," says Jones. "And he kept saying it, until I realized that he was serious. He wanted to give something to the football program, something that would last long after he and I are gone."

The new University of Hawai'i football music can be heard at: www.uhathletics.hawaii.edu/music.html.