Hula Bowl
StadiumFBC Mortgage Stadium (2022–present)
LocationOrlando, Florida (2022–present)
Previous stadiums
Previous locations
Operated1946–2008, 2020–present
2023 matchup
Aina vs. Kai (Kai 16–13)
2024 matchup
Aina vs. Kai (Kai 24–17)

The Hula Bowl is a post-season college football all-star game held annually, usually in January. From inception through the 2021 playing, it was held in Hawaii; since the 2022 edition, it has been played in Orlando, Florida.

The game was first staged in 1947, between mainland collegiate players and local Hawaiian players; it has been played exclusively with collegiate players since 1960. The bowl was paused following its 2008 edition, then was revived in January 2020.

The game was originally held at Honolulu Stadium in Honolulu, then moved to Aloha Stadium in Halawa starting with the January 1976 edition.[5] The game remained at Aloha Stadium through the 2021 edition, except for eight editions played at War Memorial Stadium on the island of Maui.[6] The University of Central Florida (UCF) agreed to host the January 2022 playing of the game, due to Aloha Stadium being closed for repairs and upgrades.[7]


UCLA quarterback Ernie Case played in the inaugural 1947 game.

In late 1946,[8] the first Hula Bowl was organized by Paul Stupin and Mackay Yanagisawa.[9] When the inaugural game was played on January 5, 1947, the teams were composed of mainland college players (the "Southern California Rose Bowl Stars", led by UCLA quarterback Ernie Case) pitted against a local team of graduates of Leilehua (the "Leialums"),[10] a local high school in Wahiawa, Hawaii—the mainland team won, 34–7.[11] The teams played a two-game series every January until 1951, when the format was changed to allow National Football League (NFL) players to join the Hawaiian all-stars,[12] in an effort to create a more competitive environment. From 1960 onward, the game featured only collegiate players, and game results are listed in NCAA records.[12] Players were historically rostered by college location; North vs. South or East vs. West. Since 2000, team names of Aina and Kai, the Hawaiian words for land and ocean, have been used multiple times.

The game was originally played in Honolulu Stadium in Honolulu through the January 1975 playing, then moved to Aloha Stadium in neighboring Halawa. In 1997, the then-mayor of Maui County, Linda Lingle, obtained authorization to spend $1.2 million to improve War Memorial Stadium in the town of Kahului on the island of Maui,[13] which then hosted the game for the 1998 through 2005 playings. However, due to poor attendance and reduced revenue,[14] the Hula Bowl returned to Oahu for its 2006 game and stayed at Aloha Stadium through the 2008 playing.

The game has predominantly been played in January as one of the final games of the college football postseason, allowing players who competed in bowl games with their collegiate teams to participate. The game has been held in early February twice, in 2002 and 2003.

For many years, the Hula Bowl was distinguished from a similar event, the Senior Bowl, by playing by collegiate rules rather than professional rules, and by remaining amateur (the Senior Bowl paid players through its 1988 edition).[15] This was very important for those wishing to remain eligible to compete in other collegiate sports (such as college baseball) or otherwise retain amateur status. At one point the longest-running sporting event in Hawaii, it was considered a premier venue to launch professional careers in the NFL.[according to whom?]

Changing direction

Kyle Eckel of Navy at the 2005 game

On July 1, 2006, it was announced that the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) would end its ten-year relationship with the Hula Bowl due to "philosophical differences" over the future plans for the game,[16] including proposed changes for the 2007 game — such as reintroducing the "Hawaiian Islands versus Mainland" matchup used from 1947 to 1959. University of Hawaii and former NFL head coach June Jones expressed a willingness to coach a potential Hawaiian Islands team, which would have a mix of Hawaiian and Polynesian players and, bowl organizers hoped, would draw more fans to the game. The Hula Bowl had also discussed the idea of allowing junior status players to participate in the game and bringing over college football players from Japan, something the game had done in the recent past.[17] Game officials also discussed awarding a national "Hula Bowl Player of the Week" to college players during the regular season; the winning players would have been invited to play in the Hula Bowl and been able to direct a $1,000 donation to a charity in their state.[17]


After the January 2008 playing, the bowl remained dormant. Organizers searched "for opportunities to reintroduce and reimagine the historic bowl game",[18] and in November 2016, announced their intent to restart the game in North Carolina in January 2018.[18][19] However, in March 2017, additional news reports indicated that a revival of the game was unlikely, as a key supporter of the proposal, North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, left office at the start of that year.[20]


On October 29, 2019, it was announced that the Hula Bowl would be revived;[21] the 2020 edition was played at Aloha Stadium on January 26, 2020. It featured "NCAA college football players from all divisions, along with international players".[6] Aloha Stadium also hosted the 2021 edition, played on January 31, 2021,[22] held without spectators after the facility was "deemed unsafe to hold crowds" in December 2020.[23] In August 2021, with Aloha Stadium closed for repairs and upgrades, the University of Central Florida (UCF) agreed to host the 2022 playing—scheduled for January 15—at their home stadium, FBC Mortgage Stadium, in Orlando, Florida.[7]

Game results



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Year Name College Ref.
2020 Reggie Walker
Niko Lalos
Kansas State
2021 Mekhi Sargent
Carlo Kemp
CJ Marable
Nick McCloud
Coastal Carolina
Notre Dame


Coaches for the first Hula Bowl played exclusively with college players, in January 1960, were Bud Wilkinson of Oklahoma and Paul Dietzel of LSU.[46] Dietzel's East squad defeated Wilkinson's West team, 34–8.[47] Multiple inductees of the College Football Hall of Fame have coached in the Hula Bowl, including: Bobby Bowden, Terry Donahue, Johnny Majors, Ara Parseghian, Bo Schembechler, and Barry Switzer.[46] Larry Price coached in eight Hula Bowls (1969–1976) while Dick Tomey coached in seven Hula Bowls (1978–1979, 1981, 1983, 1985–1986, 1991); both while they were coaching with Hawaii.[46] For coaches from the mainland, Lou Holtz has the most appearances, with five (1979, 1989–1990, 1993, 1997).[46] These totals include both head coach and assistant coaching appearances.

Hall of fame

In 2019, the Hula Bowl announced the creation of a hall of fame.[48] The hall's inductees are:

Hula Bowl Hall of Fame
Year Name Role College Career highlights
2020[49] Junior Ah You Player Arizona State CFL (1972–1981), Canadian Football Hall of Fame
Eric Dickerson SMU NFL (1983–1993), 6× Pro Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame
Anthony Miller Tennessee NFL (1988–1997), 5× Pro Bowl
Mike White Coach Cal (1977)
Illinois (1988)
as player: Cal (1955–1957)
as head coach: Cal (1972–1977), Illinois (1980–1987), Oakland Raiders (1995–1996)
Rich Miano Contributor Hawaii Hula Bowl executive director; NFL (1985–1989; 1991–1995)
2021[50] Drew Brees Player Purdue NFL (2001–2020), 13× Pro Bowl
Tim Brown Notre Dame NFL (1988–2004), 9× Pro Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1987 Heisman Trophy, College Football Hall of Fame
Jesse Sapolu Hawaii NFL (1983–1997), 2× Pro Bowl
Steve Spurrier Coach Florida (1992) as player: Florida (1964–1966), 1966 Heisman Trophy, College Football Hall of Fame, NFL (1967–1976)
as head coach: Duke (1987–1989), Florida (1990–2001), Washington Redskins (2002–2003), South Carolina (2005–2015)
Pat O'Farrell Contributor West Point Hula Bowl ambassador to the armed forces[51]
2023[52] Steve Bartkowski Player Cal NFL (1975–1986), 2× Pro Bowl, College Football Hall of Fame
Brandon Marshall UCF NFL (2006–2018), 6× Pro Bowl
Willie Roaf Louisiana Tech NFL (1993–2005), 11× Pro Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame
Ron Simmons Florida State CFL (1981), USFL (1983–1983), College Football Hall of Fame
Darryl Talley West Virginia NFL (1993–1996), 2× Pro Bowl, College Football Hall of Fame
Reggie White Tennessee USFL (1984–1985), NFL (1985–1998; 2000), 13× Pro Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame
Bobby Bowden Coach Florida State
(1987, 1991, 1997)
as player: Alabama (1948), Howard (1949–1952)
as coach: Howard (1959–1962), West Virginia (1970–1975), Florida State (1976–2009)

Head coach appearances in the Hula Bowl are listed in parentheses in the College column.[53]

In popular culture

In 1997, a storyline in the comic strip Funky Winkerbean had Harry Dinkle and the Scapegoats marching band preparing to perform at the Hula Bowl.[54][55]

See also


  1. ^ Kwon, Bill. "Hooters a natural for Hula Show". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  2. ^ "Hula Bowl and Newsweek Announce Title Sponsorship". 10 January 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  3. ^ Foundation, Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers (16 November 2022). "Tunnel to Towers Foundation to Serve as Title Sponsor of Hula Bowl 2023". GlobeNewswire News Room. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  4. ^ Sep 20, EIN Presswire (20 September 2023). "Caribe Royale Orlando Resort to Serve as Title Sponsor of the 2024 Hula Bowl". FOX21 News Colorado. Retrieved 30 October 2023.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Borsch, Ferd (January 11, 1976). "Hu-la won? All but the West". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. p. 1. Retrieved January 24, 2021 – via
  6. ^ a b "Our History". 2019. Archived from the original on November 13, 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Murschel, Matt (August 9, 2021). "UCF to host Hula Bowl in 2022". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
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  9. ^ Lewis, Ferd (July 3, 2009). "60 years catering to tastes of Hawaii fans". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
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  11. ^ "Leialums Completely Outclassed by Rose Bowl Football Stars", Honolulu Star-Bulletin, p. 12, January 6, 1947, retrieved November 22, 2019 – via
  12. ^ a b c d e "BOWL/ALL STAR GAME RECORDS" (PDF). NCAA. 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  13. ^ Kubota, Gary T. (September 4, 1998). "Hula Bowl revenues far short of goal". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  14. ^ Lewis, Ferd (June 4, 2005). "Hula Bowl's hopes rest on return to Honolulu". The Honolulu Advertiser. p. 21. Retrieved November 22, 2019 – via
  15. ^ "Senior Bowl to stop paying players". The Santa Fe New Mexican. January 20, 1989. p. 16. Retrieved November 17, 2020 – via
  16. ^ "AFCA Ends Relationship with Hula Bowl". Archived from the original on May 24, 2011. Retrieved Nov 3, 2019.
  17. ^ a b Masuoka, Brandon (July 29, 2006). "Hula Bowl tries to reinvent itself". The Honolulu Advertiser.
  18. ^ a b "HISTORIC HULA BOWL SET TO CALL NORTH CAROLINA HOME IN 2018". November 4, 2016. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  19. ^ Smith, R. Cory (November 4, 2016). "Historic Hula Bowl coming to Raleigh in 2018". North State Journal – via
  20. ^ Kane, Dan (March 8, 2017). "Despite pre-election promise from McCrory, there's no Hula Bowl coming to Raleigh". The News & Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  21. ^ Peterkin, Olivia (October 31, 2019). "HULA BOWL to reboot after 12 years as part of CBS Network partnership". Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  22. ^ Shimabuku, Christian (January 31, 2021). "Team Kai wins Hula Bowl in likely final game at Aloha Stadium". KHON-TV. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
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  24. ^ Turner, Jamie (January 23, 1994). "Hawaii Ponoʻi a game-saver". The Honolulu Advertiser. p. C1. Retrieved November 22, 2020 – via
  25. ^ "(box score)". The Honolulu Advertiser. January 23, 2000. p. C6. Retrieved November 22, 2020 – via
  26. ^ "(box score)". The Honolulu Advertiser. January 13, 2001. p. C8. Retrieved November 22, 2020 – via
  27. ^ Reardon, Dave (February 3, 2002). "Rolo wows 'em on Maui". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. p. B5. Retrieved November 22, 2020 – via
  28. ^ Luis, Cindy (February 2, 2003). "Aina wins rousing Hula Bowl". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. p. B11. Retrieved November 22, 2020 – via
  29. ^ Song, Jaymes (January 18, 2004). "Aina runs past Kai for 26-7 Hula Bowl victory". AP.
  30. ^ Song, Jaymes (January 23, 2005). "Stanley's two defensive scores rally East in Hula Bowl". AP.
  31. ^ "Long trip to Hula Bowl benefits Marshall". AP. January 22, 2006.
  32. ^ Song, Jaymes (January 15, 2007). "Clemson duo play major role in Aina's Hula Bowl victory". AP.
  33. ^ "Bernard Morris' big first half leads Aina to 38-7 Hula Bowl victory". AP. January 12, 2008.
  34. ^ Tsai, Stephen (January 27, 2020). "K-State's Walker leads Kai team over ʻAina". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. p. C3. Retrieved November 8, 2020 – via
  35. ^ Tsai, Stephen (February 1, 2021). "Hula Bowl: Finish to Remember". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. p. C2. Retrieved December 22, 2022 – via
  36. ^ Beede, Jason (January 16, 2022). "Ex-UCF QB Milton, Team AINA fall short". Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. p. 4 (Section 3). Retrieved January 9, 2023 – via
  37. ^ Gamarra, Max (January 14, 2023). "Team Kai beats Team Aina 16-13 in 2023 Hula Bowl". Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  38. ^ "In memoriam: John Johnson, 96, UCLA football standout and assistant coach". UCLA Athletics. October 19, 2017. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  39. ^ @ChrisShanafelt (February 26, 2020). "Walker recorded 3.5 sacks + forced a fumble and went on to win MVP honors of the all-star game" (Tweet). Retrieved January 23, 2023 – via Twitter.
  40. ^ @dartmouthsports (January 27, 2020). "Defensive Niko Lalos of @DartFootball stood out at the 2020 @Hula_Bowl Sunday night, earning MVP honors for Team Aina with 6 tackles, 3 for a loss, 2 sacks and 1 forced fumble!" (Tweet). Retrieved January 23, 2023 – via Twitter.
  41. ^ @NYCKING (February 1, 2021). "#HulaBowl Mekhi Sargent named offensive MVP and Carlo Kemp named defensive MVP" (Tweet). Retrieved January 23, 2023 – via Twitter.
  42. ^ @NYCKING (February 1, 2021). "#HulaBowl MVP for both teams C.J. Marable offensive MVP and Nick McCloud defensive MVP" (Tweet). Retrieved January 23, 2023 – via Twitter.
  43. ^ Beede, Jason (January 16, 2022). "Ex-UCF QB Milton, Team AINA fall short". Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. p. 4 (Section 3). Retrieved January 9, 2023 – via
  44. ^ @ToledoFB (January 14, 2023). "@CoachScott_UT helped coach offensive MVP Holton Ahlers" (Tweet). Retrieved January 23, 2023 – via Twitter.
  45. ^ @PeterAriz (January 15, 2023). "Congrats @JoFerg__ on a great week of practice and heck of a Defensive MVP performance in yesterday's @Hula_Bowl!" (Tweet). Retrieved January 23, 2023 – via Twitter.
  46. ^ a b c d "All Time Coaches". Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  47. ^ "All-Americans Lead East In Hula Bowl Win". Independent-Journal. San Rafael, California. UPI. January 11, 1960. p. 10. Retrieved November 23, 2020 – via
  48. ^ Miano, Rich (2019). "Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on November 13, 2019. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  49. ^ "Hula Bowl Hall of Famers". Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  50. ^ "Hula Bowl unveils 2021 Hall of Fame Class". January 2021. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  51. ^ "Our Staff". Archived from the original on October 30, 2020. Retrieved January 31, 2021 – via Wayback Machine.
  52. ^ "Hula Bowl Hall of Fame Registration". Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  53. ^ "All Time Coaches". Archived from the original on August 13, 2022. Retrieved January 23, 2021 – via Wayback Machine.
  54. ^ "Funky Winkerbean". Standard-Speaker. Hazleton, Pennsylvania. August 30, 1997. p. 13. Retrieved November 22, 2020 – via
  55. ^ "Funky Winkerbean". Dayton Daily News. Dayton, Ohio. December 14, 1997. Retrieved November 22, 2020 – via