Hawaii football: Nick Rolovich officially introduced at Washington State

Nick Rolovich was introduced as the new Washington State coach Thursday by WSU athletic director Pat Chun and president Kirk Schulz.

One moment earned applause louder than all the rest at Nick Rolovich’s introductory press conference at Washington State’s Martin Stadium on Thursday afternoon.

“Three-one-seven,” Rolovich, the former Hawaii head coach and quarterback, answered to a question about the Apple Cup.

He paused dramatically before elaborating, “That’s the number of days until we get to play it.” The Apple Cup is the annual rivalry game between WSU and Washington, which has gone seven straight (and 10 of the last 11) to the Huskies, and about 2-to-1 all-time.

The closest thing to a “Pride Rock” or “Live Aloha Play Warrior”-esque rollout of a team theme — which Rolovich announced at his introduction at UH in November 2015 — might have been when Rolovich closed his introductory remarks by saying, “The Pirate left the treasure in Pullman, and the ‘X’ marks the spot here at Martin Stadium.”

Mike Leach, the former WSU head coach and a friend of Rolovich, was nicknamed “The Pirate.” Leach took the head job at Mississippi State, opening the way for Rolovich’s hire.

Rolovich said that WSU will run the run-and-shoot offense, which shares some elements with Leach’s Air Raid scheme.

“I’m going to ask Mouse (Davis, the founder of the run and shoot) if we can change it to the ‘Run and Coug,’ see how he likes that,” Rolovich said.

Noted WSU president Kirk Schulz, “We wanted a coach who shared a similar offensive philosophy to our previous coaching staff.” He described a fast-moving process upon Leach’s departure with Rolovich “right at the top of our list from the very, very first.”

Added athletic director Pat Chun, “Finding the right fit is absolutely imperative at Washington State. We believe we found that in Nick Rolovich.”

Rolovich’s quirky personality was on display throughout the half-hour conference, with Schulz opening by donning a Rolovich-esque hat emblazoned with the WSU logo.

Rolovich opened his remarks by thanking his family, past coaches, teammates and players he’s coached.

As he did on Twitter on Wednesday night, Rolovich then thanked people back in Hawaii.

“I would be wrong if I didn’t say mahalo to Hawaii for giving me this opportunity and every opportunity I’ve had in my life, as far as my family and coaching career,” he said. “It will always be part of my heart, and I’m very grateful for the time and aloha spirit they gave me.”

But Rolovich said that support for WSU in Pullman, including facilities and student attendance at games, was a factor in his move.

“There’s a togetherness here that was real attractive for me to be a part of,” he said at one point.

“One thing sold me on this place: family. A place where I could look forward to the next chapter of raising my family, in a community that respects one another, loves one another, is in it for one common goal. That excites me. That’s why I’m honored to be here today.”

There was no sign on camera of three UH assistants — Brian Smith, Craig Stutzmann and Jason Cvercko — who were expected to be at the press conference. CORRECTION: Smith and Cvercko can be seen at the left-hand side at the beginning of the press conference video embedded above.


  1. H-Man January 16, 2020 2:48 pm

    Interesting that Nick pointed out that student support was one of two factors in his decision. The other being facilities. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have a 5-year, $15 million contract.

    But Nick points one glaring disappointment at Hawaii – very obvious lack of student support. I don’t understand this, but it’s a new world with Millennials who are more occupied with their cell phones to play video games. But apparently its the opposite at WSU where there is huge student support for football and their entire student-athletic community.

  2. mileHIwarrior January 16, 2020 2:51 pm

    Now with that said…we can focus on Hawaii football cuz Phase 3 isn’t gonna happen sitting on our okole. Matlin… you’re up buddy!!

  3. Kawika January 16, 2020 3:08 pm

    Support for WSU in Pullman, facilities, and great student fan support. Three things lacking at UH.

  4. Hawai'iOnly January 16, 2020 3:23 pm

    K we can stop following Rolo around like sad little puppies.. he left us. I’m over it.. I give zero phaks what he does now.. I only want to see articles about who applied.. who’s left.. what recruits transfer in/out.. info that’s directly related to Hawaii Football absolutely nothing to do with Rolo or Wazzu. MAHALO

  5. kahuna January 16, 2020 3:44 pm

    #3….WSU get big time money from the PAC 12 ESPN contract. Those money allow them to build nice facilities and pay big time for coaches. UH does not have that kind of money to throw around so its not entirely UH’s fault.

    Pullman is also a college town so everything in that town evolves around the football program. Honolulu is a big city with lots of stuff to do so fan support will not always be there.

    If UH was in the PAC12 and get 22 million dollars per year, you can beat we would have nicer facilities.

  6. Kawika January 16, 2020 3:58 pm

    Yeah, dea get money, but we still get this:


  7. Shaka808 January 16, 2020 3:59 pm

    Student support – stadiums too far from school, its too expensive once they get there (not many students can afford the price of food/drinks in the stadium) combine that with wrist bands for beer and they cant even sneak beers to the under 21 students. No way you get the college students to show up.

  8. kapakahi January 16, 2020 4:40 pm

    Ghobrial was there too. Was wearing darker colored Wazzu gear…..same as Jason Cvercko…..while Brian Smith was wearing a grey polo with Cougars on the front.

    Bradshaw probably going too.

  9. Kahuna January 16, 2020 5:50 pm

    Smith is not going to get the job here so him wearing WSU is not surprising. Special team coaches are aplenty. It’s not like our special was all that special. The S and C guy was a Rolo guy so he should go there and make more money. Tommy could go back to football or get somebody new.

  10. kev January 16, 2020 6:17 pm

    Cannot believe that WSU has their football schedule already…
    …and already promoting the next football season.

    I know that we have to wait for the mountain west conference to finalize the schedule but they should post it early so as to not lose any excitement from the football season that just finished.

    With the bowl victory fresh in our minds, maybe people would get tickets.

    Of course we need a new coach first…

  11. kapakahi January 16, 2020 7:37 pm

    Rolo hopes to take at least these 4 assistants with him from UH to Wazzu….

  12. Islander January 16, 2020 7:57 pm

    Hope to get Stuz or Smith. But it’s not the end of the world if they all left. We can bring in Timmy or Cal to help for the offense.

  13. kapakahi January 16, 2020 10:39 pm


    Cal is strictly a defensive coach….always has been…..and not an offensive coach. Cal doesn’t even wear a headset on the sidelines as the Saint Louis HC…..’cuz not involved in the offensive playing calling. His brother Ron is the Saint Louis OC.

    If Stutz bails to Wazzu, then Timmy would have to be hired by the new HC as the new OC….in order to keep the RnS offense…..due to the lack of available college coaches who have coached it.

  14. Dekimbrius January 17, 2020 7:25 am

    Missed the part where he mentioned he was “standing in front of a room of the best athletes I’ve ever had the ability to coach.”

  15. letgowarriors January 17, 2020 8:05 am

    Biggest problem with RnS vs. Air Raid. The RnS coaching tree is very small.

  16. Kaimukian January 17, 2020 2:08 pm

    I was a student at UH who grew up on UH football. The experience of having to catch a shuttle to the stadium wasn’t fun at all, not to mention how far it was away and the bus getting stuck in traffic as well. It really sucked in comparison to going with family and friends (which i ended up doing), so yeah there’s that. As long as the stadium is that far away, expect less students willing to make the trip. But lets be real, all those excuses for him leaving is BS. ALL about the $$$$

  17. Kawika January 17, 2020 4:10 pm

    No reason why UH/State couldn’t build a 35,000 seat stadium in the lower campus and attract more fans. Too many “no can” types here. Traffic would be affect 6-7 times a year and you can have creative traffic control such as only allowing busses in the lower campus. Parking at Mid Pac, Punahou, St. Lous School, shuttles from Kaimuki High. “Can do” but too many people like go home at 5:00!

  18. Andrew January 17, 2020 4:13 pm


    The distance to the stadium doesn’t help but that’s not stopping students from attending games. It’s the experience at the stadium and although it’s getting better, inconsistencies with team performance. I was a student in the mid 2000s and we even had to pay for tickets back then and the student attendance back then was pretty good. Of course the 2007 year especially the last two games the student section was completely filled.

  19. kapakahi January 17, 2020 7:14 pm

    Now Weber up at Pullman too…..with the others…..

  20. Rodney January 17, 2020 8:37 pm

    Quick hire Cal Lee and let’s get beyond this.
    We need Leader who understands the situation
    at UH( POLITICS /lack of $$$ and student support)

  21. George January 18, 2020 8:35 am

    Heard this funny thing years ago. WSU is the most boring university in the nation. It’s so boring the students go across the border to the university of Idaho – the second most boring university in the nation. Haha
    Seriously why does Rolovich keep singing the same song he sang here. Isn’t he embarrassed. Anyway he will be in the news until we get a new coach. Can’t wait for next week. Go bows

  22. George January 18, 2020 9:31 am

    Just to clarify the boring WSU UofI story is a fun loving joke. I went to college in that area and had friends at both schools. Pullman and Moscow and even Boise are college towns. Small so easy to have banners etc. Honolulu is a big city with other colleges so can’t expect the same culture. Rolovich is uh alumni. It’s not like he woke up one day and discovered this. This is just a bump in the road

  23. Whats Up January 18, 2020 1:56 pm

    I think Rich Miano will be the next head coach… however?

    Can Hawaii keep Stutz or bring in Timmy Chang?

    Can Hawaii pull Junes Jones from the XFL?

    Has Dino Babers lost favor with the Syracuse alumni and fans due to lack of wins?

    At the end of the day if none of these folks apply for the Hawaii Head Coach Job, then they cannot be hired.

    Always remember when it comes to job vacancies, the person who gets the job is the best candidate that actually applied for the job at that time.

  24. H-Man January 19, 2020 5:48 pm

    Robert Anae is in town for discussions with Matlin.

  25. Niel takeda January 19, 2020 11:36 pm

    Technology is the culprit. I remember the old days of tailgating then standing in line to run into the stadium when the gates open so that we could get a student section seat to watch the game. Nowadays the kids have iPads and laptops too amuse themselves on a saturday night in the fall. We should have listened to June and put a 35,000 seat stadium on campus. More student support as rolo was crying about. We were only worried about the community fans….which don’t even show up anymore. No matter who the coach is…….it will not drive students to aloha stadium

  26. Boolakanaka January 20, 2020 10:51 am

    Dino and Richie Rich are not coming back here- I played with both of them and for a variety of reasons-that boat has long left.

  27. Rodney January 20, 2020 1:53 pm

    I hope If Anae gets the job that he will visit
    St. Louis and learns the R n Shoot….

  28. Von Kaneshiro January 21, 2020 11:12 pm

    Washington State hiring Nick Rolovich as head football coach is significant because it is the first Power Five Conference school to ever adopt and implement the Run N’ Shoot offensive system. I haven’t seen any article on this.

    To that end, the Run N’ Shoot may either become the hot offense to adopt, else it will die on the vine should Rolo et al fail and are eventually fired. So the legacy of the R+W is on the line these next 3 years.

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