Former University of Hawaii football players and others close to the program provided testimonies about the state of the program under head coach Todd Graham during a Hawaii State Senate hearing on Friday afternoon.
UH athletics director David Matlin and school president David Lassner briefly spoke and answered questions before testimonies were provided virtually.
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Former Hawaii players RJ Hollis, Leonard Lee, Darryl McBride Jr., Derek Thomas, Justin Uahinui and Rod York all spoke. So did Marie and Pastor Nofo Eletise, the parents of former offensive lineman Michael Eletise. Additionally, Tina Thomas, Derek Thomas’ mother, provided a testimony as well. Lastly, notable Oahu attorney Michael Green spoke.
Every single person who provided on the record testimony via Zoom on Friday all shared concerns about the direction of the program under Graham, and how the culture of the program has been gradually lost during his tenure due to how players have been treated by the current regime. Common themes include a lack of respect towards players, and not seeing eye to eye with Graham and his methods.
Since the conclusion of the 2021 season, former starters Chevan Cordeiro (San Jose State), Darius Muasau (UCLA), Jonah Laulu (Oklahoma) and Nick Mardner (multiple Power Five offers), have left the school. All four signed with UH as lightly-recruited high school players. Additionally, starting running back Dae Dae Hunter left for Liberty as well.
Following the testimonies, Lassner says the hearing was cherry-picked to make a point and lamented the process. Additionally, Matlin said not everything brought up was true, then read a prepared statement about how the team is working to fix the issues with measures such an internal leadership committee across multiple classes.
Graham took the floor and also spoke about what’s being done to fix some of the team’s internal issues. Senator Glenn Wakai challenged some of Graham’s sentiments based off of what was said by the former UH players that spoke. Graham continued to take questions.
Matlin also received inquires about a former UH women’s basketball player.
Below are some updates from the meeting.
National Signing Day for football is set to take place on Feb. 2.