The November Local Sports Scene

Chad Owens of the Toronto Argonauts is director of athletic development for Hawaii Optimum Performance. Photo courtesy Barry Villamil

News and notes from the month of November:

I was excited to hear that one of my all-time favorite Warrior football stars is in the running for the most prestigious award in Canadian professional football. Chad Owens, the former Roosevelt standout who became an almost legendary figure in UH football during the June Jones era, is one of two finalists for the CFL Most Outstanding Player Award that will be announced Nov. 22.

Earlier this month, Owens led his Toronto Argonauts into Grey Cup contention by setting an all-time record for all-purpose yards in the regular season. As a receiver and return specialist for the Argos, Owens has become the most exciting player in all of Canada. His seemingly miraculous moves have become a highlight reel lover’s delight. One week after the conclusion of the regular season, he was named the CFL Eastern Division Most Outstanding Player. In 2010, Owens was named the CFL’s Special Teams Player of the Year.

If you’re a Rainbow Warriors basketball fan, I hope you have Friday, Nov. 16, circled on your calendar. That’s when the Big Ten comes to Stan Sheriff Center.

For just the fourth time in the past 15 Novembers, the University of Hawaii men’s basketball team will play host to a Big Ten opponent. This time, it’s the Fighting Illini of Illinois in a rematch of a 79-77 thriller that the Illini won back in 2007-08 against a Hawaii team led by Bobby Nash and Bill Amis.

Prior to that contest, the ‘Bows had won the two previous meetings against Big Ten foes. In the first game of the ’97-’98 season Nov. 28, 1997, a Hawaii team led by the Dynamic Duo of Anthony Carter and Alika Smith smoked Bobby Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers by a score of 82-65. Then, Nov. 19, 2005, the Julian Sensley-led ‘Bows whipped then fourth-ranked Michigan State by a final of 84-62.

Those two wins, played out before thousands of screaming Hawaii fans, have to rank among some of the most impressive local victories ever. We’ll see if there’s a little Rainbow Warrior Big Ten magic in store this Friday night.

Women’s volleyball fans were delighted to watch the two premier collegiate teams on the island clash this past week when the University of Hawaii Wahine hosted NCAA Division II powerhouse BYU-Hawaii. Both teams have been dominant in their respective runs to their conference titles this fall – the Wahine winning the Big West and the Seasiders winning the PacWest.

UH finishes up its regular season during Thanksgiving week against Cal-State Fullerton on Thanksgiving Eve, Nov. 21, and then hosts Senior night Friday, Nov. 23, against UC-Riverside.

Both teams will be headed to the NCAA Regionals, which are expected to start Nov. 29. Hawaii is waiting to see where it will end up during the first rounds of the DI tournament. BYU-Hawaii, which has been ranked No. 1 in the West all season long, will almost certainly host the first rounds of the West DII Regionals in Laie. Stay tuned for specifics to be announced on

Finally, I leave you with this thought, as the high school wrestling season starts up this month.

This quote from Dan Gable, the former Olympic champion and legendary Iowa coach, says a great deal about all levels of competition: “After the first period, the more skilled wrestler is winning. After the second period, the better-conditioned wrestler is winning. After the third period, the wrestler with the most heart is winning.”

Here’s to a whole lot of heart as you enjoy the local sports scene this November!