Maui islanders are all about their sports. From water sports to team sports, it’s all about the score.
One of the favorite teams to watch – and cheer to victory – is the University of Hawaii football team. Football season is one of the favorite times of year, as the Warriors battle at home and on the mainline to compete for NCAA bragging rights. Coach Greg McMackin leads this Western Athletic Conference (WAC) team against perennial rivals such as BYU and Boise State. In 2007, the Warriors handed Boise State a defeat to become the WAC Conference Champions.
Just as football season winds down, the EA Sports Maui Invitational kicks off basketball season during the week of Thanksgiving. The tournament is played at the Lahaina Civic Center in Lahaina, on Maui, and is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2008. The tournament began when tournament-host Chaminade University of Honolulu handed down one of the greatest college basketball defeats to the #1 University of Virginia team (that included Ralph Sampson.) The Virginia coach suggested to Chaiminade’s coach that they should host a tourney in Hawaii, and voila! Now, some of the most celebrated teams take part in the tournament for the early-season prestige.
Golf gets its season kickoff in Maui as well. The Kapalua Resort plays host to the PGA Mercedes Championship during the first week in January. The Plantation Course, designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore is known the world over for its views and large greens. Only the champions from the previous year are invited to compete, so it’s one of the most prestigious events on the tour.
There is no shortage of sporting events to put Maui on the sports map.