University of Hawaii head football coach Todd Graham has resigned from his position, the school announced Friday. The move comes after former Hawaii players, parents and senators criticized the coach during a January 8 Senate hearing.
The hearing before the state’s Ways and Means and Higher Education Committees, which lasted nearly three hours, was called as players’ frustration with the culture under Graham became public knowledge. On Dec. 1, former players RJ Hollis and Darryl McBride Jr. held a Twitter space to discuss issues within the program amid player transfers. Recent and current players finally joined the discussion and spoke of Graham taking away their love of football through his verbal and mental abuse, including tactics like using abrasive language to ignore players who aren’t gamers. .
Similar sentiments emerged in an SFGate article a few days later. At the hearing, Graham and sporting director David Matlin denied some accusations and said work was underway to resolve the issues. When asked near the end of the hearing if he would fire Graham if the school could afford his $1.275 million buyout, Matlin said no and that he believed in solving problems.
The hearing ended with senators asking the school to suspend any coaching contract extensions.
“After many prayers and thoughts with my family, I have come to the conclusion that I will step down as head coach of the Rainbow Warriors with a very heavy heart,” Graham said in the school announcement. “I want to acknowledge and thank 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 got it right. the right way.
“Our staff put their heart and soul into our players and really made a difference in their lives. I couldn’t have asked for more of their commitment, work ethic and love for our players and our football program. But it’s clear to me that I have to step away and do what’s best for me, my family and my health.”
Graham added that the university did not ask him to resign. “We spoke at length, and it’s clear he took this step so the football program could thrive,” Matlin said.
A total of 19 players have moved out of the program, including starting quarterback and team captain Chevan Cordeiro, a Hawaii native who recently left for San Jose State. Matlin and Graham released statements Dec. 28 about the Portal losses, saying it had become an unfortunate reality of college football.
Graham was introduced as head coach in January 2020, succeeding Nick Rolovich, and went 11-11 during his tenure in Hawaii. He was on a five-year contract; the school said it owed Graham no additional money other than “normal refunds and compensation earned” after his resignation.
Co-defensive coordinator Jacob Yoro will serve as interim head coach, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
(Photo: Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)