By any measurement, it’s an unsightly trophy with a ugly backstory. But Hawaii football coach Nick Rolovich is willing to look past all that.
Rolovich, whose Rainbow Warriors come to the mainland for a Saturday afternoon game against Fresno State, is all for making the Golden Screwdriver Trophy the official reward for the winner. This weekend’s matchup will be the 49th between the teams.
“We’ve got to get that (trophy) going,” Rolovich told the Star-Advertiser of Honolulu. “Heck, if we win I’d put that in the trophy case.”
The coach’s comment is making the rounds on social media.
Note that Rolovich is talking about an ungainly, wooden block topped with a strip of artificial grass that’s impaled with a gold-painted screwdriver. The Stanley Cup it ain’t.
The trophy’s origins go back to the 2002 contest between Hawaii and Fresno State at Bulldog Stadium. Hawaii coach June Jones said about a minute remained in the game when a screwdriver thrown from the stands nearly struck him on the head. The Rainbow Warriors won that night, 31-21.
Fresno State’s athletic director at the time, Scott Johnson, immediately went on defense. “I can tell you of incidents in Hawaii every year,” he told The Bee.
A day later, Fresno State acknowledged the screwdriver throw had indeed happened: “We sincerely apologize to June Jones, the Warrior football team and the University of Hawaii.”
A Fresno radio station (it’s now 940 AM ESPN) asked listeners to design a trophy for the Hawaii-Fresno State game that symbolized the history between the two programs. The Golden Screwdriver was the result.
Does the trophy still exist? Oh, yes. We’re told that, as of Thursday, it was on the desk of 940 AM personality Ryan Williams.
Will it eventually end up in a trophy case? Stay tuned.