After Hawaii moves to the Mountain West in 2012, the Warriors and Wyoming will renew their once budding rivalry, but will have to do so without the trophy the two teams fought over for nearly 20 years.
The Paniolo Trophy -- a bronze statue of a cowboy on horseback twirling a lasso -- has been missing since the rivalry ended in 1997. It was actually donated to the rivalry by the Wyoming Paniolo Society, a group of Hawaii residents with ties to Wyoming. But after the rivalry games stopped and the WAC broke up in 1998, the trophy went missing and no one seems to know what happened to it.
Paniolo_TrophyWyoming, which won the last five meetings of the series which ran from 1979-97, was supposed to have it, but Wyoming associate athletic director Kevin McKinney told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser he hadn't seen it.
"We have looked everywhere for it here and it is not to be found," McKinney said. "(We) were talking about it and we seem to remember that it had been damaged and was in a shop over there for repairs.
"(We're) not totally sure about that."
Has it been in the shop for the past 14 years?
Hawaii said it searched its catacombs for the trophy and came up empty as well.
Perhaps a search of former Wyoming coach Dana Dimel's home might turn up something. He was the last coach to win the trophy before it mysteriously disappeared. Dimel is currently the offensive coordinator at Kansas State.
Or perhaps Vic Koenning or Joe Glenn swiped it after being unceremoniously fired? Current coach Dave Christensen could be using it as a paperweight.
Wyoming isn't the only team to have a random trophy rivalry with the Warriors. Air Force played the Warriors for the Kuter Trophy, which started in 1980. However, Air Force, which won the final four games of the original series, said the trophy remains in one of the trophy cases in the football offices.