University of Hawai’i head football coach Nick Rolovich completed his coaching staff with the addition of four new hires, including defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa, who will make his second go-around heading the Rainbow Warriors’ defensive unit.
In addition, Rolovich announced the hiring of Sean Duggan as linebackers coach, Kefense Hynson (pronounced ka-FIN-say, hen-SON) as receivers coach, and Jason Cvercko as the director of football recruiting and retention.
“It’s an exciting day for UH Football as we fill the majority of the staff today,” Rolovich said. “I would like to welcome Kevin Lempa, Sean Duggan, Kefense Hynson, and Jason Cvercko. Lempa and Duggan were part of one of the best defenses in the country last year and will bring a system that I believe will give our players a chance to play fast and aggressive. They rely on toughness and togetherness within their scheme and have done it without the No. 1 recruiting classes in the country. I was firsthand witness to the inspiration and leadership Lempa provided our team when he was in Hawai’i as DC before. He understands Hawai’i and is one of the most genuine people in the world who will connect well with our players and fans.”
The addition of the three new coaches completes Rolovich’s inaugural coaching staff. Previously announced hires include Chris Naeole (offensive line), Abe Elimimian (secondary), Jake Cookus (special teams), Brian Smith (offensive assistant), Zak Hill (offensive coordinator), and Lawrence “Legi” Suiaunoa (defensive line).
Lempa, who returns to Honolulu after serving as UH’s defensive coordinator from 2000-02, spent the past three seasons as Boston College’s defensive backs coach, his third stint with the Eagles. In his first stint at UH, Lempa helped the Warriors to a 9-3 record in 2001 and 10-4 mark and Hawai’i Bowl appearance in 2002 before returning to BC for the second time.
The Hartford, Conn., native has more than 40 years of collegiate and professional coaching experience with nine different schools and one NFL team. He’s coached on 13 bowl teams and spent 12 years as a coordinator. In his first tenure with BC, Lempa coached the outside linebackers and special teams for 10 seasons before accepting his first coordinator position with Dartmouth in 1991. He joined the San Diego Chargers staff in 1997 and spent three seasons before becoming UH’s defensive coordinator under then-head coach June Jones in 2000.
Lempa coached three seasons at Hawai’i before returning to BC in 2003 as defensive backs coach. After four years with the Eagles, he joined Maryland’s staff as secondary coach for four seasons. He spent one season each as defensive coordinator at Central Connecticut State in 2011 and Columbia 2012 before returning to BC for the third time in 2013.
Duggan joins Rolovich’s staff after one season as graduate assistant at BC, where he was a four-year letterman at linebacker (2011-14). During his senior year, Duggan was team captain and helped the defensive unit rank 11th nationally in total defense and second in rushing defense. In 45 career games, Duggan amassed 115 tackles, including 6.5 for loss, one interception, two fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble.
Upon graduating from BC with a degree in marketing, Duggan joined head coach Steve Addazio’s staff as a defensive graduate assistant. In 2015, the Eagle defense ranked first nationally in total defense (254.3 yards per game), second in rushing defense (82.8), fourth in scoring defense (15.3), and eighth in passing defense (171.5). BC also led the nation in third down defense (.241), first downs allowed (166), and tackles for loss (115).
Hynson comes to UH after one season as wide receivers coach at Norfolk State. Prior to that, he spent three seasons at Montana (2012-14), on the same coaching staff as Suiaunoa and Cookus. At Montana, Hynson spent the last two years as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“The wide receivers job was one of the most difficult positions to fill, not for a lack of applicants, but the amount of qualified ones who had great connections to the program,” Rolovich said. “In all honesty, Kefense wasn’t in my initial thoughts for the staff. After interviewing him, I knew he was the right guy for this group of wide receivers and for this staff. He is an absolute go-getter that has taken all opportunities to learn and get better at his craft. He also brings coordinator experience from multiple stops. His humbleness and his focus on being a great husband and father made him the right fit for Hawai’i.”
Prior to Montana, Hynson coached the wide receivers at Yale from 2009-11, which followed a three-year stint at Division II Western Washington (2006-08), where he served as offensive coordinator for the final two seasons. From 2003-05, Hyson jumped around as running backs at Montana (2005), director of football operations at Boise State (2004), defensive backs coach at Quincy (2004), and assistant receivers coach at Willamette (2003), the latter of which was his alma mater, where he was an honorable mention All-American and three-time all-conference pick.
Cvercko was Nevada’s coordinator of recruiting operations for the 2015 season, which culminated with a win in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl earlier in the week. The Hartford, Conn., native joined head coach Brian Polian’s staff after spending three years as director of football operations at Stony Brook University. He previously worked at the University of Massachusetts, where he received his first full-time job as recruiting and operations assistant in 2011.
As an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut, Cvercko was a recruiting intern for two seasons upon receiving his bachelor’s degree in sport management in 2011.
“As excited as I am about finishing the coaching staff, they will all be better coaches with better players,” Rolovich said. “That’s where Jason Cvercko comes in. I have known Jason for a few years now and witnessed how he improved the recruiting efforts at Nevada. He will bring ideas, organization, and quality assistance to our staff as a whole as we begin this journey. He is an East coast guy, but the first day I met him he told me Hawai’i was his dream job. It was a no brainer to bring him to Pride Rock. He is also very fond of the Lion King.”
THE LEMPA FILE
Hometown: Hartford, Conn.
Alma Mater: Southern Connecticut State (B.S., 1974); Maine (M.Ed., 1978)
Family: Wife, Sara; Children, Christopher and TaraPlaying Experience
1970-73 – Southern Connecticut State, Wide ReceiverCoaching Experience
1974-75 – Southern Connecticut State, Wide Receivers
1976 – Wesleyan, Wide Receivers
1977-80 – Maine, Defensive Backs
1981-90 – Boston College, Outside Linebackers/Special Teams
1991-96 – Dartmouth, Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
1997-99 – San Diego Chargers, Defensive Backs/Defensive Line
2000-02 – Hawai’i, Defensive Coordinator
2003-06 – Boston College, Defensive Backs
2007-08 – Maryland, Secondary
2009-10 – Maryland, Safeties
2011 – Central Connecticut State, Defensive Coordinator
2012 – Columbia, Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
2013-15 – Boston College, Defensive Backs
THE DUGGAN FILE
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Alma Mater: Boston College (B.A., Marketing, 2014)Playing Experience
2011-14 – Boston College, LinebackerCoaching Experience
2015 – Boston College, Graduate Assistant
THE HYNSON FILE
Hometown: Oakland, Calif.
Alma Mater: Willamette (B.A., History, 2003)
Family: Wife, Shanina; Children, Jade, Myles and LaylaPlaying Experience
1999-2002 – Willamette, Defensive BackCoaching Experience
2003 – Willamette, Assistant Receivers
2004 (Spring) – Quincy, Defensive Backs
2004 (Fall) – Boise State, Director of Football Operations
2005 – Minnesota State, Running Backs
2006 – Western Washington, Special Teams Coordinator, Running Backs
2007-08 – Western Washington, Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers
2009-11 – Yale, Wide Receivers
2012 – Montana, Tight Ends
2013-14 – Montana, Co-Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks
2015 – Norfolk State, Wide Receivers
THE CVERCKO FILE
Hometown: Hartford, Conn.
Alma Mater: Connecticut (B.A., Sport Management, 2011)Coaching Experience
2009-10 – Connecticut, Recruiting Intern
2011 – Massachusetts, Recruiting and Operations Assistant
2012-14 – Stony Brook, Director of Football Operations
2015 – Nevada, Director of Recruiting Operations