(Monday, October 13, 2008)
UH To Host Inaugural Diamond Head Classic
Eight-Team Men's College Basketball Tournament Tips off in 2009
HONOLULU - The University of Hawai‘i and ESPN Regional Television, Inc., (ERT) a subsidiary of ESPN, announced today the creation of the Diamond Head Classic, an eight-team men's college basketball tournament that will be played in 2009 – Dec. 22, 23 and 25 – at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.
The tournament will feature 12 games through three days. Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in the championship game on Christmas day.
"This is a great day for our basketball program, our university and the entire state," said Jim Donovan, UH Athletics Director. "I believe the significance of this event is enormous—tantamount to our university joining the Western Athletic Conference, and more recently, the formation of the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. We're grateful to ESPN Regional Television for their efforts in bringing a first-class event to the islands and it's our intent to a host a tournament that everyone can be proud of."
ERT expects to release the tournament bracket and ticket information for the Diamond Head Classic in the spring or summer. More information can also be found at the official Web site: http://diamondheadclassic.com.
"The Diamond Head Classic allows the University of Hawai‘i to once again be a focal point in preseason college basketball and we couldn't be more excited," said Bob Nash, UH Head Basketball Coach. "We have a golden opportunity to showcase our program and student athletes before a national audience and play some of the elite teams in the nation. The fans here and those across the country should be in for a real treat."
The University of Hawai‘i will continue to host the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, one of the nation's longest running preseason tournaments. Dates and tournament format will be announced at a later date.
"Honolulu is one of the greatest destinations in the world and we're thrilled to bring a college basketball event to the fans there," said Pete Derzis, ERT Senior Vice President and General Manager. "It's also an opportunity for the student-athletes, coaches and staffs to enjoy themselves in a wonderful off-the-court setting."
"The HTA is pleased to partner with ESPN Regional Television on the inaugural Diamond Head Classic that will provide an invaluable, unique marketing opportunity for Hawaii, not only in terms of TV exposure, but also in terms of reaching markets important to Hawaii, added David Uchiyama, Hawaii Tourism Authority Vice President of Marketing. "This is more than a premier collegiate sporting event for our community to experience; this is an opportunity to showcase the warmth, beauty and aloha spirit of Hawaii to a national audience. In addition, the event will attract participating teams, their families and fans to visit Oahu during a traditionally slow travel period for Hawaii."
ERT owns and operates four other exempt basketball tournaments:
- The Charleston Classic (Nov. 14-16; S.C.), featuring Clemson; College of Charleston; East Tennessee State; Hofstra; Southern Illinois-Edwardsville; Temple; TCU; and Western Michigan
- The O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off (Nov. 20, 21 and 23; San Juan), featuring Missouri; Memphis; Xavier; Virginia Tech; USC; Seton Hall; Fairfield; and Chattanooga
- The 76 Classic (Nov. 27, 28 and 30; Anaheim, Calif.), featuring Arizona State; Baylor; Cal State Fullerton; Charlotte; Providence; St. Mary's; UTEP; and Wake Forest
- The Old Spice Classic (Nov. 27, 28 and 30; Walt Disney World Resort), featuring Georgetown; Gonzaga; Maryland; Michigan State; Oklahoma State; Siena; Tennessee; and Wichita State
Former UH Head Basketball Coaches Comment on the Diamond Head Classic:
Larry Little (1976-85)
"My hat's off to Jim Donovan and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The Diamond Head Classic puts the spotlight, not only on the state of Hawai‘i, but on the university. Three days of quality competition on national television benefits everybody. I feel good about it and am behind it 100 percent."
Riley Wallace (1987-2007)
"In these tough economic times, the Diamond Head Classic is a prime opportunity for the University of Hawai‘i to gain national television exposure without leaving the islands. It's a win-win situation for the university and ESPN. I hope the fans of Hawai‘i will support this new tournament the way they've supported the Rainbow Classic for the past 44 years and make it a new holiday tradition."