Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Maloofs Climb Aboard the Pineapple Express

Last time we heard from the billionaire Maloof brothers — Joe and Gavin — they were noshing on $6 burgers at their Palms Casino in Vegas. They've resurfaced in another playground of the rich — Hawaii.

The brothers recently attended a Hawaii practice and game and met coach June Jones. During the meeting, Jones told the billionaire brothers that his recruiting budget was only $50,000.

"I couldn't believe what I heard," said Joe, who played football at New Mexico. "I couldn't believe he built this kind of team — I guess you can call it a dynasty — with the type of budget that he has."

The Maloofs then donated $50,000 to Na Koa, the team's booster club, and cut a $25,000 check to the June Jones Foundation. They also plan to establish a scholarship in Jones' name valued at $15,000 annually.

Hawaii — the only remaining unbeaten team — is all the rage. The Warriors' game against Boise State produced the largest audience for ESPN of its 14 Friday night games on ESPN or ESPN2 this season.

Now the Warriors are not without problems. At least six Hawaii players had their helmets swiped during the postgame celebration after the win over Boise State. Plus receiver Davone Bess has been reprimanded by the Western Athletic Conference for taunting Nevada fans after the Warriors' victory on Nov. 16.

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