This is the first week Nick Rolovich can add newcomers to his staff. While there is a large selection — he joked he has 700 new friends since being hired — he also is taking his time to vet and analyze the candidates.
Not sure whom he’ll pick, but I’ve always liked these guys:
> Phil Austin: The former UH safety is now Fullerton College’s associate head coach. He previously was a quality-control coach at UCLA assisting Adrian Klemm with recruiting and Jeff Ulbrich with the linebackers.
> Chris Brown: One of the strongest Warriors, Brown honed his coaching skills at Saint Louis, Damien and, now, Bishop Gorman.
> La‘anui Correa: People always talk about the importance of not just liking football, but loving it. As legend goes, Correa used to wear a UH helmet when he slept in the days leading to training camp. He’s coached at Saint Louis, but his personal tutorship is displayed with the development of Boise State sack specialist Kamalei Correa.
> Nate Ilaoa: He knows the game, he played it very well, and he has the charm — and connections — to be a very good coach and recruiter.
> Ashley Lelie: Rolo and Lelie were a dynamic duo in 2002. They coached together for a year at Nevada. Since then, Lelie has coached the receivers at Alabama A&M. The Bulldogs’ passing game struggled, but when they completed passes, they averaged 16.6 yards.
> Kevin Lempa: While the Warriors were racking up those yards in the early 2000s, it was Lempa’s defense that produced NFL prospects. Lempa’s third stint at Boston College (as DB coach) might be the best. The Eagles lead the nation in total defense (254.3 yards per game), No. 2 against the run (82.8 yards), and No. 9 against the pass (104.66, with 13 interceptions against nine TDs).
> Victor Santa Cruz: The former UH linebacker has built a nice little program (on a little budget) as Azusa Pacific’s head coach. He was a feisty player who has combined intelligence and feistiness as a coach.
> Brian Smith: The coach who recruited Alex Green and Brenden Daley to Hawaii has been doing good work as Occidental College’s offensive coordinator. This season, Bryan Scott completed 65 percent of his passes with 22 TDs against six interceptions, and Kwame Do averaged 174.6 rushing yards per game.
> Craig Stutzmann: He is best remembered for that celebratory punt in the rout of BYU (the final UH game for him, Lelie, Smith and Rolovich). But what should be remembered is his success as offensive coordinator at Emory & Henry this season. The Wasps have been stinging opponents for 446 yards and 36.6 points per game.
> Matt Wright: Lempa used to consider Wright, a former Saint Louis head coach, as player-coach. Wright’s hand-written notebook was rich with detail and observations. Wright owns Sportstage, which aspires to be the next HUDL.