The search is on for a new head coach for the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior football team after Norm Chow was fired Sunday.
The announcement was made after the team suffered an 58-7 loss to Air Force Saturday night at Aloha Stadium. It marked the sixth straight loss for the Rainbow Warriors, putting Chow’s record at 10-36 in his four seasons with the ‘Bows.
Offensive line coach Chris Naeole is now serving as interim head coach.
Chow addressed his former players at a closed-door team meeting Monday morning.
Team captain and offensive lineman Ben Clarke said Chow was relatively upbeat in his talk with the players.
“He said we shouldn’t be sad. College coaching is a tough job and he’s been fired before. He said to keep our heads up and keep playing,” Clarke said.
Clarke said the team will do its best to win the last four games on the schedule, starting with an away game at UNLV Saturday, and then three final home games of the season against Fresno State, San Jose State, and Louisiana-Monroe.
“Seniors like me would like to go out on a high note,” Clarke said, “and I think getting a couple of wins before heading into spring ball would be really important.”
“They’re very resilient,” UH athletics director Dave Matlin said of the players after talking with them. “They’ll continue to play hard.”
Matlin became the university’s athletics director at the end of April, and this is definitely the biggest decision he’s made in his roughly six months on the job.
“Yesterday wasn’t a joyous day. I think some people don’t realize that there’s a human side with coaches and their families. This impacts a lot of people’s lives,” he said. “Sometimes you make decisions that are in the best interest and I think players realize that overall.”
Matlin had good things to say about Chow, but said several factors led to his decision.
“He’s a professional. He’s a good man. I grew to respect and admire him, and I just decided it was in the best interest that we make a change,” he said. “Part of it is team performance, part of it, you saw the crowd. It wasn’t very good. We’ve been declining our fan base about 10- to 12-percent a year for the last five or six years, and that’s not just since Norm got here.”
Matlin said the job for head football coach was already posted online Sunday with a closing date of Friday, but added that “we’ll probably roll it, because the best pool (of candidates) isn’t until the season is over. It’s ongoing right now, but I wouldn’t expect anything until the season ends for us to start interviewing. But we want to be prepared just in case we do get enough applicants to go.”
Matlin said a search committee will not be put together to look for a new head coach, and university officials know what type of person they are looking for.
“You need someone that will be accepting of Hawaii and you want someone who’s just a passionate person, who’s going to work harder,” he said. “At the end of the day, the characteristic you need is someone who will work twice as hard as our competition, because I think to be successful here, we need to flat out outwork people.”
Very few applicants will publicly acknowledge having applied for the job, since most candidates are currently employed.
Two names that don’t fit that bill are former UH head coach June Jones and one-time associate head coach Rich Miano
Both are said to be interested in the job, according to sources close to each camp.