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Game 3 - Saturday, September 9, 2023, 6:00 PM HST 12:00 AM EST (Sunday) Clarence T.C. Ching Complex, Honolulu, O‘ahu, HI

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Danes set to take care of business


By Mark Singelais

Courtesy of Greg Gattuso

UAlbany football coach Greg Gattuso enjoyed the Hawaiian surf when he visited Honolulu for the Aloha Bowl as a Penn State football player in 1983. The Great Danes play Saturday at Hawaii.

ALBANY — Forty years ago, in his final game as a Penn State football player, Greg Gattuso got to visit the tropical paradise of Hawaii.

Gattuso, then a senior defensive lineman, played in the 1983 Aloha Bowl against Washington. Besides the 13-10 victory, he still treasures the memories of the sun and surf.


“We spent eight days and it was a spectacular experience that I remember vividly to this day,” he said Monday.

Now the University at Albany football coach, Gattuso will pass along the experience to players who are about the age he was then. The Great Danes (1-1) will play the University of Hawaii (0-2) on Saturday at Clarence T.C. Ching Complex in Honolulu. Kickoff is 6 p.m. local time, or midnight in the Capital Region.

“It was a really unique experience (in 1983),” Gattuso said. “I think that’s what I’m most excited about for our team, all the things we’re jumping through to try to get this trip going and all the challenges, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world because they’ll get to go to Hawaii. Ninety-five percent of our team probably is never going to get to go (otherwise) and football is offering them that.”

The Great Danes are scheduled to board a bus at 4 a.m. Tuesday to drive to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. From there, they’ll catch an 11-hour flight direct to Honolulu.

While in Hawaii, the team plans to visit Pearl Harbor and the Diamond Head volcanic cone. The Great Danes are staying at a resort.

Though he wants his team to enjoy the week, he said he’ll remind his players repeatedly of the primary reason for the trip — to beat the Rainbow Warriors of the Mountain West Conference.

“It’s a challenge because it’s a work week and I’ve talked to them today about we’re trying to go there to win a game,” Gattuso said. “It’s a beautiful place, so we’re going to do what we can, but at the end of the day, we want to win a game and we want to play our best and we can’t do that if we don’t practice and meet and do the things we normally do.”

Gattuso said he scheduled this game in 2015, when then-UAlbany deputy athletic director Jerry Koloskie told him Hawaii reached out.

“If we’re still here in 2023, let’s go,” Gattuso told Koloskie.

Koloskie retired four years ago. Gattuso is still leading a team that looked impressive in a 21-17 loss to Marshall on Saturday in Huntington, W.Va.

The Great Danes will take on a Football Bowl Subdivision school for the second straight week. After getting a $350,000 guarantee from Marshall, UAlbany will receive $150,000 from Hawaii, which in addition is paying all the Great Danes’ travel expenses.

Because UAlbany is traveling most of Tuesday, the Great Danes changed their schedule this week. They practiced (in shorts) Monday, which they typically don’t do. They will have a light practice Tuesday in Honolulu before ramping it up on Wednesday and Thursday.

“It’s hard,” Gattuso said. “If you’ve never been there, it’s one of the most beautiful places you can go, and it can lure you in. But I think we have a mature group. We have some older guys on this team. They understand.”

Senior linebacker Dylan Kelly repeated Gattuso’s message.

“Obviously, Hawaii’s a beautiful island,” Kelly said. “But it’s still a business trip. We go there to win this game. We still have our fun, enjoy the beautiful place it is, but still, it’s a business trip.”

UAlbany junior cornerback Aamir Hall, a Baltimore native, is being joined by his parents for the trip.

“I mean besides the game, I’m just excited to see the scenery,” Hall said. “Just being somewhere I’ve never been before, it’ll definitely be a great experience for me. My family will be traveling as well, so I’m excited for them, as well.”

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Sagarin predicts Hawai'i (#136) over Albany-NY (#169) by 8 1/2

Massey predicts Hawaii (#139) over SUNY Albany  (#159) by 11 (22%)

Rainbows had two players ejected for targeting out of 10 penalties last week.

Their crowd of 12,547 was their largest at Ching since the Aloha Bowl was condemned.

Costly miscues doom Hawaii

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The Great Danes will take on a Football Bowl Subdivision school for the second straight week. After getting a $350,000 guarantee from Marshall, UAlbany will receive $150,000 from Hawaii, which in addition is paying all the Great Danes’ travel expenses.

Anyone in the know on how much it costs to send a D1 football team from NY to HI? Is there $150-200k of expenses there? Hoping UA is getting their monies worth on this trip!

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The expenses on top of the 150k would be paying would be significant.  Airfare and 5 days lodging (Tuesday to Saturday presumably) also hawaii  has sponsorship with Hawaiian air so hawaii costs for the flights are probably less than what i would pay. Same thing with lodging i would think. It also isn't my concern. I am enjoying my visit and looking forward to the game Saturday.  


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6 hours ago, UAalum72 said:

Hawaii is paying $150K PLUS travel expenses 

Right, I'm just curious if it costs $200k (difference between Marshall and HI) to send a team to HI from NY. I'm sure it's not cheap to send 70-80 people to HI, but just curious. Either way, I'm sure many of these players who prior to going to play college ball may have not left their states/towns are really enjoying the all expenses paid trip - awesome for them! (part of the reason why I love to travel for work when asked to do so - nothing better than having your trip paid for hah)

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36 minutes ago, UAFAN said:

UAlbany Football insta reporting Gattuso is sick and did not join team in Hawaii.  Assoc Head Coach Jared Ambrose will assume head coaching duties.

I saw the same posting; I hope Greg is just "under the weather" and he did not travel due to an abundance of caution.

Nothing on this story on the UAlbanySports.com., TimesUnion.com and WNYT-News Channel-13 websites.

Edited by cwdickens
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The weather forecast for gameday:

Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high near 91. Breezy, with an east-northeast wind 14 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.

Saturday Night:  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 72. Breezy, with an east-northeast wind 14 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

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Defense needs to be on their game.  Hawaii is a passing team all the way.  The Defense may win, stay in the game or not win the game based on how they play as a unit.  

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It would almost be worth it to stay awake to hear Wyland trying to pronounce the names of some of the Hawaii players. That’s the longest pronunciation chart I’ve ever seen for a FB game. Maybe he’ll default to numbers. “That’s Popaloca Kamanacowaloa on the tackle.”   

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