Warrior Forever:  Travis Sims
by:  Sam Murai

Aloha Sports Hawaii Fans!  Periodically we will catch up with a Warrior athlete from the past.  If you have a favorite athlete you would like us to catch up with, send your suggestion to sammurai@sportshawaii.com

When current Hawaii football is brought up on television media, internet message boards, and casual football fan chatter, the topic will always revolve around Hawaii’s passing game.

However, twenty years ago when Hawaii football was mentioned, media and football fans would immediately note Hawaii’s dominating run first triple option.   No other football program in the last twenty years has done a complete one hundred eighty in style of play.  Hawaii is the only program to go from a run oriented, control the clock offense; to a pass every down, time of possession means little, attack.

 In 1992, Hawaii was the second leading rushing team in the Nation, just behind powerhouse Nebraska.  The 32.7 points that were put up each game would compare easily to today’s modern offensive output.  During that season, Hawaii grounded into submission #22 ranked Fresno State led by first round draft pick and future ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, a Pitt Panther team led by future NFL quarterback Alex Van Pelt, BYU, and Oregon at Autzen Field.  The power running offense would pave the way for Hawaii’s first ever bowl game victory over Illinois and their future All-Pro linebackers Kevin Hardy and Simeon Rice.  Hawaii would finish the season 11-2 and have their first ever national ranking in the final polls at #20.

Quarterback Michael Carter and fullback Travis Sims were the lynchpins for Hawaii’s historic nationally ranked team.

Travis Sims rushed for 1,498 yards in 1992, first in Hawaii’s record book for rushing yards gained in a single season.   To put the record into perspective, no Warrior before or since, is within 350 yards of that mark.  Travis’ average of 124.8 rushing yards per game over the course of the season is also first in Hawaii’s record book.  It could be fairly inferred that Travis had a lot of carries during that season.  However, Travis needed just 220 carries to reach that mark (6.8 yards per carry, also a Hawaii record).  Even more amazing, despite Travis being the focal point of opponents’ defenses, Travis was only tackled for a loss twice in the season for minus five yards!

Travis is also entrenched in Hawaii’s record book at third for All-Time Rushing Yards and fifth for Most All-Purpose Yards in a Single Season.


Sports Hawaii was able to catch up with Travis in Seattle, where he is currently the Vice-President of Sales for Makita USA, INC.

Sports Hawaii:  Aloha Travis!  Thanks so much for doing this for Sports Hawaii.  There are a lot of Hawaii fans wondering what you and your monstrous calves have been up to.    Do you have a family?

Aloha Sports Hawaii!  I am happy to be doing this for you guys!  I have a wonderful family; been married for 13 1/2 years now to an awesome Canadian girl that I met in Hawaii.  We have three extremely active kids; Cooper (12), Landon (9), and our little girl Alex(andra) (6).  She’s the princess of our family and lets everyone know it!  The boys play every sport possible, and I’m either coaching or helping out on each of their teams.  Cooper is a quarterback and Landon plays quarterback and running back.  And yes,  they have the speed and calves! People ask me that all the time.  😉

 Sports Hawaii:  At SH we remember how you used to wear jeans and have to cut a slit down the back by your calves just so you could fit.  Where do you reside now?

I was born and raised in the South Seattle area, and now I currently live in a little town south of Seattle called Gig Harbor.  It’s one of those little towns you see on a postcard: on the water with mountain views.  A great place to raise a family.   My parents live close by, so that’s a great thing for the kids too.

 Sports Hawaii:  How often have you been back to Hawaii since leaving?  Are you planning on visiting any time soon?

Since my football days at Hawaii, I have been back a lot!   I get back to Hawaii about four times a year for work,  and another with my family for vacation.  I met my wife there, so Hawaii is very dear to both of our hearts.  We call it our second home.   I’ll be back in January for work and probably February with the family.

 Sports Hawaii:  What is your fondest memory of Hawaii, not related to football. Any particular place to go or eat?  Favorite thing about Hawaii?

I have so many fond memories about Hawaii, but most of all I miss the people and how they took care of me while I was there.  I used to love going to Auntie Pasto’s for their carbonara; great stuff.  I still go there whenever I visit.  Also, I go to Buzz’s over in Lanikai.  My favorite thing about Hawaii is the relaxed feeling I have when I’m there.  I’m very laid back, so when I’m there, I feel like I’m home again.

 Sports Hawaii:  What was your most memorable game?  Any particular run still stands out for you?

The Holiday Bowl was great because Illinois came into it taunting us and laughing at us because we were much smaller than them.  It was kind of nice to rub it in their face on national TV; I liked being the underdog.

Holiday Bowl Highlights

Also, playing UTEP was fun because we ran all over them. I had a 99 yard touchdown called back because of a phantom clip call by the refs.   We were all huddled up in our end zone and (Michael) Carter said, “Let’s drive this 99 yards and score a touchdown”.  I responded, “#&*% that, give me the damn ball and I’ll do it right now!”   We all laughed about it afterward!

Sports Hawaii:  In 1992, you ran for 1,498 yards.  Didn’t anyone know you needed just two more yards for 1,500?  For a lot of fans at SH, it still bothers us…..

I gotta admit, it bothered me a bit too, but my goal going into the season was 1,000 yards, so I can’t be too disappointed.  Funny though, I took all my linemen out to dinner after the season to say thanks for the help, and they brought me a cake that said “1,498, not 1,500, I guess I wasn’t good enough!”.   In current NCAA record keeping though, Bowl Games are included in season stats, People usually throw in the Holiday Bowl, which bumps me to 1,611.  🙂

 Sports Hawaii:  Ah, that is true, we should let UH know that they should adjust the record.  Hopefully some SH fans can sleep better knowing you actually did break 1,500…  What made you choose Hawaii back then?  Who else recruited you?

I was recruited by Oregon, Oregon State, Washington State, Idaho, Montana State, Air Force, Cornell, and a few other schools. I chose Hawaii for early playing time, an offense that suited me, and an up and coming program that ran the ball a lot.  Oh, and yes, staying near Diamond Head on the recruiting trip helped too. 🙂

 Sports Hawaii:  Well, thankfully you chose to become a Warrior.  Do you still keep up with the Hawaii football program?

Absolutely!  I watch every game I can.  When I have time and I am in Hawaii, I’ll go to some of the games as well.

 Sports Hawaii:  With the way Hawaii runs the spread offense now,  there is a good chance your record will last for a very, very, long time.  Any thoughts on that?  What do you think of the spread offenses we see everywhere like Hawaii?

I’m hoping the record lasts for awhile.  Anytime somebody does well or gets close I’ll usually get a call or two.  If somebody beats the record, good for them, they earned it.  I think the spread is very exciting and I actually use it a bit with my boys’ football teams.

 Sports Hawaii:  That is great to hear, make sure your two boys are familiar with Hawaii’s offense and be sure to send them to Hawaii!  Tell us a funny story or two while at UH playing football.

My mom still cringes at this story, but looking back, I think it is pretty funny:  I got knocked out in the middle of the field at Aloha Stadium during a game.   When I woke up, I was face down on the old white helmet painted at mid-field.  I thought I was dead and seeing “the light”. Pretty wild, but I thought I was “gone” for a bit.

Another time, a giant moth flew in my helmet during a game.  I freaked out and thought it was a bat.  I ripped off my helmet and threw my helmet down and got a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct! Good times with the large moths out there!

Honestly though, everyday something happened with the guys that was funny.  You get a bunch of young men together and something is bound to happen.

Sports Hawaii:  Did you feel like a celebrity on the Hawaii campus during your time here?  Do you feel lucky or unlucky that there was no internet back then? Now, everyone knows the Hawaii players.  Back then there was no such media or exposure….

Yes,  I felt like a celebrity back then, it was great.  People were always talking about the games, and thank God we were winning!  I can’t imagine what it would have been like if we were losing. Even now, when I visit Hawaii, people will still stop me when I’m out there and buy me a drink to say Mahalo for the good times.

As far as the internet and the exposure it gives players today, I am mixed on that one.  It would’ve been nice for my friends and family to have access to me like they do now.  But on the other hand, I think a lot of the players get so caught up on what is being said about them it may have a negative impact on them.  The news paper, Robert Kekaula, and Jai Cunningham were all that we needed back then.

Sports Hawaii:  Aloha and thanks again Travis for being a part of our Warrior Forever series.  SH would like to wish you are your family our best wishes and continued success on your future endeavors!

Aloha guys!  Be seeing you in the Islands soon!


Warrior Forever: Travis Sims
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