Vili Fehoko as 'Vili the Warrior', has been raging and entertaining on the University of Hawaii Warrior sidelines for a dozen years. But as happens often in most life endeavors, Vili has decided to move on.
Announcing on Facebook, Vili stated that he needed to support his family and be there for them. He said: "it's time for me to say ALOHA OE to the HAWAII FOOTBALL PROGRAM and our VOLLEYBALL PROGRAM." Vili's actual name is Viliami Fehoko.
His own football players
Vili's boys, who have helped him on the sidelines and in his shows, are all excellent football players at different levels. One son has moved on to the NFL. Two others are playing for Division 1 teams and another is still in high school but getting scholarship offers.
Within a year of June Jones taking over as head coach, he saw Fehoko working at the Polynesian Cultural Center on the North Shore and invited the imposing figure to Hawaii football games, where he was an instant hit.
Not always fun
It hasn't always been a love affair with the intense icon. There were several complaints that Vili was too physical with opposing mascots and cheerleaders. Vili sued EA Sports for using his likeness without permission. He also sued his former employers, the Polynesian Cultural Center for racial-discrimination, stating they showed special treatment to Samoans over Tongans. Vili is Tongan (source - Pacific Business News).
Vili brought drums and a lot of screaming to the stadium, doing the Haka and sometimes incessantly pounding on the drums. He was very entertaining and often connected with the fans like few mascots could. Vili was a true entertainer who also did volleyball games. He often does free shows with his family for charity.
There's no word from the university of if, when or what will be a mascot in the future though technically, Vili was not an official mascot.
Will be missed
Viliami Fehoko's story is an interesting one of pride of culture (source - video, World News). The iconic Vili has been performing for about three decades, entertaining people around the world. He may have hung up his drums for football games but Vili will continue to make appearances on the islands. It's hard to have a genuine mascot type figure who can connect to fans with true emotions - Vili Fehoko as Vili The Warrior will be sorely missed.
To Vili and his family, enjoy your ohana - Aloha and Mahalo.
Sources - Vili The Warrior, University of Hawaii
Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of college football as well as Hawaii, visiting there as a second home for over 40 years. Go 'Bows!