16 years after closing out his University of Hawaii playing career, Timmy Chang will make another return to Aloha Stadium this weekend as an assistant coach for Nevada.
The Wolfpack and Rainbow Warriors are scheduled to face off on Saturday evening, marking as his third trip to face UH as a member of the Nevada staff having gone 1-2 in his first three attempts against his alma mater having won in Halawa in 2018.
“I really have a hard time playing against the University of Hawaii. It’s something I grew up watching my whole life and putting on the colors. It’s never an easy game, even when we were battling against Nick Rolovich and Craig Stutzmann for the last three years and Abraham Elimimian and those guys, it’s never an easy game but I’m just happy to come home and happy to compete and just happy to be playing at this time of the year,” Chang told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.
Chang is entering his fourth season as tight ends coach in Reno, and has enjoyed success with the Pack as undefeated Nevada ranks fourth in the country in passing offense averaging 261 yards per outing. Despite the impressive numbers and unblemished record, Chang is preparing his team to be ready for a team that takes great pride in protecting their home turf.
“No doubt. It was never easy to win at Aloha Stadium and play the University of Hawaii back then and it ain’t going to be easy come Saturday. We’re just preparing them. That 50-thousand seater used to be rocking but it won’t have any fans so we got to bring our own juice,” said Chang. “At the same time, the boys from Hawaii just play a little bit different when they’re at home. They take pride in protecting the rock and the things that they do and they preach, and it’s never easy. It’s a very physical battle and the teams that come out of there, when they get back on the airplane they feel it. So that Saturday is going to be a good contest. It will be one of those old fashion Hawaii football games.”
Chang, created lots of memories playing for his hometown team in the early 2000’s as he was a four-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection for UH from 2000-04. He completed 1,388 of his 2,436 career passes for a 57.0 completion percentage, amassing 17,072 passing yards, 16,910 yards of total offense and 117 touchdowns. He held the NCAA Division I record for passing yardage, total offense, total completions, total attempts and total plays, two of which still stand. He was selected as the MVP of the 2003 Hawai’i Bowl and was the co-MVP of the 2004 Hawai’i Bowl. Chang was also a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
“It’s special. I grew up in those halls. I grew up in that stadium. My father was an ILH official for many years. I was a ball boy at so many games, I ran in and out of those locker rooms. I ran around those stairs, you sit in the high yellow all the way down to the red lodges, it’s just really special. It just brings back a lot of memories.”
Although, with COVID-19 restrictions making the trip look and feel very differently than in previous years, Chang is excited to spend Thanksgiving weekend on his home island.
“Truly grateful. I haven’t seen my mom, my sisters, and my family and friends in a year and a half now since last May recruiting in 2019 and so just being home, that’s what I miss the most. I miss the people. I miss coming off the airplane and you can smell the ocean, smell that salt water. I truly miss those things.”
Chang’s Wolfpack and the Rainbow Warriors will kickoff on Saturday at 6:00pm. The game will be televised on Pay-Per-View.