HONOLULU (KHON2) — The fallout from now-former University of Hawaii head football coach Todd Graham’s resignation continues Saturday, Jan 15. This happened as one of the program’s best players, Khoury Bethley, became the 19th Rainbow Warrior to enter the NCAA transfer portal.

Now the rebuilding process begins as the university searches for a new football coach.

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It is unusual in the college football world to see head coaches resign on their own without the golden parachute of a buyout. Graham forgoes $1.275 million in a buyout for the final three years of his contract at UH.

Hawaii State Sen. Glenn Wakai (D) said the resignation wouldn’t have happened without the senate’s fiery hearing with UH on Friday, Jan. 7.

“What happened last night was the best outcome that could possibly have occurred, and it was kind of like a divorce yesterday by Graham deciding he’s going to leave, it was an amicable divorce. Because he could have chosen the long drawn out fighting for months, if not years, stuck around to the very bitter end of his contract.”


Graham was already paid out a reported $12.8 million by his previous employer Arizona State University to go away, despite Graham being one of the most successful coaches in ASU football’s history. 

“I think it comes down to personalities, it comes down to your ability to ingratiate yourself to the community around the program, and that’s where there was a disconnect,” said Kanoa Leahey, Spectrum Sports’ play-by-play announcer. ”I don’t think you can argue with the resume. I don’t think anybody would even argue with the football X’s and O’s know-how.” 

As UH looks toward making a new hire, Sen. Wakai said that Athletic Director David Matlin should be given a mulligan — a second chance.

“I don’t think Matlin can be judged by one hire. I think he’s hired a lot of good folks. And you look at the other programs as well. Volleyball is thriving. We have a new opportunity with a new baseball coach,” Sen. Wakai said.

To help that next hire, Sen. Wakai wants the state’s administration to get the ball rolling faster on the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District.

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“You might see some legislation this upcoming session that relooks at the process because we can’t be waiting around things don’t go on sale,” explained Sen. Wakai. “Labor costs won’t decrease, the price of steel only increases so the more we punt the more the dream fades away we got to get going.”

Correction: An earlier version of the story had incorrect information on when the request for the proposal had been pushed back to. The error has been corrected.