HONOLULU (KHON2) — The UH football program heads into a new era with plenty of challenges, starting with finding a new head coach. Fans say the next one has to be more in tune with Hawaii’s unique culture.
UH fans acknowledge that finding the next coach will not be easy. It will have to be somebody who loves a good challenge and who really wants the job.
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Coach Todd Graham’s announcement to leave the team came after weeks of turmoil with some of the best players announcing to transfer. That led to a legislative hearing with former players accusing Graham of being abusive which he denied. UH now has to find a new coach who will then need assistant coaches and catch up on recruiting.
“It’s not an easy situation especially with the way things went down. I give anybody who steps in a lot of credit for taking it on,” said Marc DeCosta.
Fans add that the next coach needs to be more in tune with how things are done in Hawaii.
“One that’s familiar with the culture here and the community and everything,” said Don Murphy. “I think is going to be a very integral part of it. We’ve seen that bringing people in from the outside doesn’t always work too well.”
“It is different,” said Kurt Osaki. “It is a great and unique culture they need to understand that’s part of our brand I think in Hawaii.”
Familiar names are being thrown around such as June Jones and Rich Miano. Fans say it’s also important to have a coaching staff that is mindful of the mental health issues raised by the student athletes.
“They have to be responsible and approachable and friendly and treat people like actual people and not just an athlete,” said Suzanne Beals. “They’re not there to just perform as an athlete, they’re a person.”
While there are many challenges, fans say the job still has plenty of perks.
“It’s Hawaii, it’s a wonderful place to live,” said Murphy. “It’s challenging but most of these football coaches they want a challenge. They’re used to that.”
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“Maybe there’s going to be somehow the ones that really want to be here, but really wants to embrace not just our island culture but our football culture, the University of Hawaii and represent them well,” said Osaki.