HONOLULU — University of Hawaii football coach Todd Graham resigned on Friday night amid a storm of controversy surrounding his treatment of current and former members of the Rainbow Warriors program.
Speculation was rampant on what action UH would take with the veteran head coach following a divisive state Senate hearing about Graham’s alleged behavior on Jan. 7.
What You Need To Know
- Embattled Hawaii football coach Todd Graham resigned on Friday night following a week of speculation on his future with the program on the heels of a controversial state Senate hearing
- Graham was accused by multiple former players of mistreatment and mental abuse
- His resignation means UH does not owe him money behind what he earned to this point in his five-year contract, the university said
- The search for a new head coach begins immediately, while linebackers coach Jacob Yoro is the interim head coach
Graham had three more years on his initial five-year contract. UH went 11-11 in his tenure and qualified for bowl games in both seasons, although it backed out of playing in the EasyPost Hawaii Bowl following a 6-7 2021 season.
UH linebackers coach Jacob Yoro will be interim head coach while a search for a replacement is underway, athletic director David Matlin confirmed to Spectrum News.
Graham issued a statement:
“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as the Head Football Coach at the University of Hawaii for the past two seasons. After much prayer and reflection with my family, I have come to the conclusion that I will step away as head coach of the Rainbow Warriors, with a very heavy heart. I want to give my thanks and appreciation to the players, staff and coaches who persevered through all the challenges of 2020 and 2021. It wasn't easy, but they all fought the good fight and we did things the right way.
“Our staff poured our hearts and souls into our players and truly made a difference in their lives. I could not have asked more of their commitment, work ethic and love for our players and football program. But it is clear to me that I must step away and do what is best for me and my family and my health. I honor, value and love all of my players and coaches and I wish you the very best. The University has not asked me to step down. I am leaving solely for my family and my health. We have laid a strong foundation for future success, and I will always be cheering you on!”
At the Senate hearing, more than a half-dozen UH players, alumni and their family members blasted Graham for a range of alleged mental abuses and mistreatment.
The Texas native was also accused of being a poor cultural fit for the program.
Written testimony submitted to the Senate included accusations that Graham had referred to some of his players as “pineapple pickers” and others as “porch monkeys" – assertions that Graham denied. It was also claimed by at least one person that Graham was overheard saying Hawaii is a “third-world country” because a vending machine was not stocked with Dr. Pepper.
Discourse about the program arose when starting quarterback Chevan Cordeiro and starting running back Dae Dae Hunter entered the NCAA transfer portal following the 2021 season. Multiple other prominent defections followed including linebacker Darius Muasau and defensive lineman Jonah Laulu.
UH noted in its release that because Graham is resigning, it does not owe him money “aside from normal reimbursements and compensation earned.”
Per the terms of his contract, the university would’ve owed Graham more than $1.2 million if it terminated him without cause before the 2022 season.
The UH Board of Regents had planned to take up the matter of Graham and the football program in its regularly scheduled meeting on Jan. 20.
Matlin, who hired Graham in 2020, said: "Todd informed me of his decision to resign. We enjoyed many successes under his leadership even as he faced pandemic conditions, the withdrawal of Aloha Stadium, and the prohibition of any fans for nearly all his time with us. Todd's tireless efforts as a coach have made a positive impact on many student-athletes. We have talked at length, and it is clear he has taken this action so that the football program can thrive moving forward."
UH said the search for a new head coach begins immediately.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated with information on the interim coach.
Source : https://spectrumlocalnews.com/hi/hawaii/sports/2022/01/15/todd-graham-resigns-as-university-of-hawaii-football-coach813