As soon as word of Nick Rolovich taking the head coaching job at Washington State became official, the search for Hawaii’s next head football coach began.
Before Rolovich’s departure was announced, momentum was positive for the Rainbow Warriors, who are coming off of a 10-win season in 2019. This will be Hawaii athletic director Dave Matlin’s second head coaching search during his tenure. The first one came in 2015, when he let go of Norm Chow and his 10-36 UH record.
In 2015, it behooved Matlin to move on from Chow and start fresh. This time around, it may behoove him to promote from within and prioritize continuity to keep the ‘Bows on their current track.
The options are certainly there for Matlin if he chooses to look in that direction. Passing game coordinator Craig Stutzmann, defensive coordinator Corey Batoon, and associate head coach/inside linebackers coach Mark Banker are all experienced members of the UH staff that would clearly take the next step in their careers if they were to add head coaching to their resume. All three do not have head coaching at the collegiate level, but all three are respected and revered by former, current and future UH players.
It was reported that the financial terms of Rolovich’s deal is for five years and a total of $15 million. Rolovich would have his own staff in Pullman that he’d have to put together, and he would almost certainly start with the coaches from the 2019 UH staff. Depending on who follows Rolovich to Wazzu, it could give Matlin an even smaller pool of potential head coaches to choose from.
Before 2015, the last time UH overhauled its coaching staff was in 2011, the year Chow got the job following Greg McMackin’s forced resignation. Rolovich, Dave Aranda, Cal Lee, Brian Smith, Rich Miano, Mouse Davis, Dick Tomey and Dave Aranda were just some of the coaches on the 2011 staff not retained that following season.
Each of the above names are recognizable in the Hawaii sports scene. Aranda went on to become the highest-paid defensive coordinator at LSU, while Lee reignited a dynasty at Saint Louis. Rolovich and Smith restored the program’s winning ways, while Miano, Davis and the late Tomey are still considered UH legends.
The Feb. 5 signing day is quickly approaching. There’s no question that Matlin will have to look fast to find Rolovich’s replacement. The only question is how far he’d have to go to find him.