us polo assn boots New UH football head coach Nick Rolovich wants team to ‘live
Can new UH coach change the culture?
Nick Rolovich named new UH head.
New University of Hawaii head football coach Nick Rolovich, 36, used the example of the many times he’s watched a Disney movie with his children to make a point of where he wants to lead the Rainbow Warrior football program back to a winning tradition.
Speaking at his introductory press conference Monday, he likened the team and program to “The Lion King’s” Pride Rock. “We were great once, we can be great again. We are all Simba.”
Rolovich was greeted with warm applause when he entered the room to meet staff and press for the first time as the school’s head football coach. He thanked his former UH teammates for reminding him that he “was meant to be a Warrior and made me want to be here today.” He thanked coach Brian Polian of Nevada, and former UH head football coaches June Jones, Greg McMackin and Norm Chow for their help and guidance.
Rolovich saved his final thanks to his family who helped him learn what “aloha” was when he first arrived in Hawaii back in 2000 “to treat people right, care about people, and respect the place where I am at the moment.”
He remembered walking out of Aloha Stadium on Senior Night and said he wants his players to experience what he did that night. “It’s a special place when it’s rocking,” he said, and emphasized he wants “the kids in the program to make the community better living aloha and playing Warrior and get back to our winning tradition.”
When asked how he was different compared to when he left the islands, Rolovich stated that “I never left in my heart. I learned a lot about recruiting and a different offensive scheme” but more importantly that “aloha works here and everywhere. You treat people right and being from Hawaii helped me on the mainland.
“I believe I would be back. I belonged here,” he said, and added that he feels “there’s a want to be great again and it’s my job to get that done.”
Rolovich’s plan for the UH football programAs for the particulars of the job, local recruitment starts this week and he said he’ll put together his coaching staff in due time. “It’sbetter to get right guys than quick guys,” wanting them to be “men of aloha” and becounselors and role models for the players.
As an offensive coordinator for Nevada, Rolovich often visited Hawaii to recruit players. “There’s good talent in the state,” he told KHON2. “The best part about a local player is their mindset, is their toughness, is their ability to be unselfish. It’s how they’re raised and the Polynesian explosion of players is all over the country. It’s not just their physical tools, it’s their values that make them a positive impact on teams.”
Rolovich says he will search for those intangibles in his own players.
Rolovich says the most pertinent task is building a culture among the current ‘Bows, then bring in a new crop in the class of 2016. He will stay in Hawaii through the week before hitting the road to recruit.
“There’s a lot to do. I’m excited for it, I’m ready for it. I’m ready to roll,” he said.
As for decision making, Rolovich says he’d like to be aggressive. “I want to be able to evaluate the talent we have. I want to give this team the best chance they canto win. I think going to Nevada gave me a much wider range of offensive ability.
But in the end, Matlin said,
“We got the guy. Dick Tomey told me, I spoke to him a few times in the last month, and he said ‘When you know, you’ll know.’ After I met with him in person, the second time after the interview, I knew.”
Matlin calledRolovich’s plan impressive: “You don’t put that plan together in a week. You put that together in years and years of preparation.”
Matlin said when he broke the news to the team last week,”You saw a lift in everyone. They seemed excited. I’m excited for our staff and our department,” he said. “People like Nick and respect Nick and people are happy he’s back here. People are going to support him in our department. You can see it already. That’s so incredible.”
Contract and salary detailsMatlin says Rolovich will be making $400,008 for the first two years of his contract, then $425,004 for the next two years, with a fifth year trigger at approximately $450,000 if he leads the team to a bowl game.
In comparison, former Rainbow Warriors coach Norm Chow had a base salary of $550,000, whileGreg McMackin was paid $1.1 million a year.
“I think it’s a very good compensation plan that makes sense,” Matlin said. “A lot of his compensation upside is for goal aligned incentives. So yeah, you can see that’s a modest payout in terms of the NCAA Division I head football coaches.”
That includes up to $80,000 if his team wins the conference championship game, and up to $1 million if they win the national championship.
Conversely, a buyout by the university in the fourth year would cost $150,000.
The university has had a string of costly buyouts and settlements, including Chow, McMackin and former men’s basketball coach Gib Arnold. Matlin says Rolovich’scontract was vetted by the university’s legal counsel.
“Athletics is an important part of the University of Hawaii’s core mission of education, and the University is pleased that Coach Rolovich agreed to bring his talents, background and reputation to the Manoa campus. Coach Rolovich appreciates the University maintaining his personal privacy and the general public’s understanding. Coach Rolovich has therefore decided to disclose the exact amount of his salary under his current employment agreement with the University of Hawaii at Manoa.”State Sen. Sam Slom says UH officials are moving in the right direction by sharing the contract details.