A day with the Warriors

Yesterday, this blog host received a once-in-37-year-career opportunity: an invitation to spend signing day with the Warriors. After 13 hours, this is what I learned:

Recruiting coordinator Jason Cvercko and cornerbacks coach Abraham Elimimian go over prospects

> Few surprises: The UH coaches know about that under-sized but gritty offensive lineman. They know about that running back who is transferring. They know about your cousin’s son’s best friend. If that prospect is not on the UH recruiting board, he’s probably not a fit or he might not meet all the requirements or there might not be room or he just isn’t that interested in playing for the Warriors. Not every single person wants to date you.

> Good cop: Nobody likes being the R.A. who has to tell the people partying, “Shhh. Keep it down. Some people are trying to study.” Amanda Paterson has a long, fancy title, but her main job is to make sure everyone is in compliance with NCAA rules. Yesterday, Paterson spotted a mistake in the fine print that, after being corrected, allowed a recruit’s letter of intent to be approved. Motto: Even if you don’t like tax laws, you like your CPA.

> Credit check: There was a scramble when the Warriors learned of a player who had left a program, committed to a school and now wanted to play for the Warriors. Nick Rolovich and an assistant coach discussed the player. The coach then did a background check, confirming his academic status and circumstances. Paterson calculated his eligibility projections. The player was put on hold, for now, but he was vetted in about 30 minutes. The coaches also were able to get updates on a prospect who was in a part of the world where Verizon probably doesn’t reach.

> Back story: There is logic to Rolovich’s madness. The conch shell used to announce commitments was found during a spearfishing outing 14 years ago “Kauai Mike” took the shell, buried it in his front yard as part of the creatures-of-the-Earth cleansing process, and gave it to Rolovich last year. That rider’s derby Rolovich wore yesterday? He found it in an antique store in Reno and …

> On the move: Sleep? Who needs sleep? Intern Brodie Nakama, and graduate assistants Marc Moody, Mikahael “Blood” Waters and Makana Garrigan were in near constant motion yesterday, running errands, evaluating and, even, scouring the walls. Their 12-hour shift was fueled by “cat naps,” some as short as 5 minutes.

> Spreading the aloha: Maybe it stems from his college days or when he was a newly hired assistant coach in 2008 who was sent on the road with little available room on his credit card and his first UH paycheck a couple weeks ago. But Rolovich makes sure his coaches and staff are fed — and that he picks up every check.

Marc Moody (and Brodie Nakama) delivered the breakfast burritos


  1. azwarrior22 December 21, 2017 7:48 am


  2. haka December 21, 2017 7:58 am

    Exciting time for the coaches. Lot’s of work to get it right. I think they did a great job.
    I hope the conch shell blows in some great additions in the next phase!

    Mahalo to the new Warriors!

  3. Old School Dave December 21, 2017 8:16 am

    Thank you, coaches for your hard work! Sadly, some folks think that college coaching is an 8:00 – 5:00 job with lots of down time to play golf. Gotta keep grinding!

  4. clyde December 21, 2017 8:16 am

    Nice insight, Tsai, and a long-deserved invitation to the Warrior war room. So, how many of the burritos did you have? Oh, wait, no freebies, right?

  5. tommui December 21, 2017 8:30 am


    Is there a special TV program where Rolo will comment on the new signees?
    I assume if there is a program, it will be after the three-day signing period is over or after the regular signing period (February?) is over?

  6. boolakanaka December 21, 2017 8:33 am

    ST, titillate us with a morsel of any potential transfer coming home!? It happens almost every year and has resulted from everyone from Tui (Mark Tuinei) to Fred Ulu-Perry…..so, who might be coming home?

  7. A-House December 21, 2017 8:45 am


    no LOI from Australia?

  8. clyde December 21, 2017 9:02 am

    tommui, try this link:


  9. Warrior Dave December 21, 2017 9:21 am

    I like when we get surprises like Mr. Kahahawai-Welsh. I also love is reasoning. Gives me hope for the future.

    One of your best articles Stephen.

  10. Pukalani boy December 21, 2017 9:42 am

    Any word about coaches being hired…

  11. Rainbows1992 December 21, 2017 9:49 am

    Canton Kaumatule? Chinander is no longer at UCF.

  12. turfwar December 21, 2017 9:52 am

    Great stuff to see what goes on during signing day. For recruitaholics like myself your story was very enjoyable and insightful. Am wondering if Jonah is the grandson or great grandson of long time Kailua football coach Joe Kahahawai.

  13. roygbivs December 21, 2017 10:44 am

    is that RB transferring In or Out ?

    Like the shape of this class!
    Like the ‘war room’ tidbits

  14. Lowtone123 December 21, 2017 11:02 am

    #10 Word is nothing until after this signing period is done. Maybe next week, at the earliest we may hear names.

  15. Unko December 21, 2017 11:07 am

    I believe Billy Ray Stutzmann is the new WR coach

  16. Kahuna December 21, 2017 11:14 am

    #12….I am not in the know of the RB situation BUT using my small little brain, I am going to assume someone could be transferring in. The reason I believe that is we lost two RB due to graduation and we never went after any RB in this class so far. If we lose 2 RBs and know that one will be transferring out, UH would be trying to recruit at least a couple of more to fill that position.

    That fact that we never went after any RB tells me we OK there or we have someone coming in.

  17. Maddog50 December 21, 2017 11:17 am

    So the Warriors land Gatorade POY and Defensive POY and I read about some kid going to UW in sports section-I could care less. When it’s said and done I think our local recruits will be a first and Major step to have kids strongly lean toward home. Winning, some swag ie. uniforms and bigger crowds at home will fuel this-

  18. Old School Dave December 21, 2017 12:29 pm

    Bob Wagner once commented: “UH offer more scholarships to local players than any other school. However, when a Washington or Oregon State comes in and offers maybe 2-3 local players, they’re heroes in people’s minds here.”

    Just curious as to what ever happened to all of those local players that went to Pac-10 and other Old WAC schools? More bettah stay up there after your playing days are over (finish school and get that degree), cause for folks back in Hawaii it’s a case of “out of sight and out of mind.”

  19. Boolakanaka December 21, 2017 12:48 pm

    # 16 for the guys I keep in contact with from my era, they all do fine, John Haina (CAL), HPD Sargent, just to run the Chinatown substation, Carter Kamana, (Michigan State) runs his own company and has a MBA, John Kamana (USC) grad degree works for Caltran, Gaylord Kuamoo (USC), retired sheriff in San Diego County, And Daivd Fonoit (ASU), Halawa CO…..

  20. H-Man December 21, 2017 2:36 pm

    The first big time player from Hawaii to be recruited/signed by a power- conference school that I recall is is Jim Nicholson. There was this picture in the paper with Jim Nicholson, all 6-7 of him, carrying Michigan State head coach Duffy Daugherty. What year was that? 1968? Anyway, top prep players from Hawaii were recruited from way back when. Nothing new, Just hope one or two of the best stays home. If they don’t, just wish them the best and focus on the ones that come to play for Hawaii.

  21. WarriorMojo December 21, 2017 2:52 pm

    Anybody, know whatever happened to Jeremy Perry…..?

  22. islandman December 21, 2017 3:06 pm

    15. The No. 1 prospect in the state and the Defensive POY, LB K. Mauga, is going to USC, per the paper, hidden in the UW story.

  23. Boolakanaka December 21, 2017 3:11 pm

    19–If it’s the same person I’m thinking about, he got caught up “in the game”.

  24. turfwar December 21, 2017 3:44 pm

    Agree with H-man. For those who choose to go away wish them luck and a great career and hope they make Hawaii proud. For those who stay and battle in a Warrior uniform we are forever grateful you chose to rep the home school. Some will live in the hearts of local fans for life. For me guys like Levi Stanley, Arnold Morgado, Cliff Laboy, Harris Matsushima, Pat Richardson, Tom and Mark Tuinei, Blaine Gaison, Nelson Maeda, Jessie Sapolu, Kesi Afalava, Rich Miano, Noga Brothers, Vince Manuwai, David Maeva, Amosa Amosa, Mike Akiu, Laanui Correa, Heikoti Fakava, Tala Esera, and my favorite safety – Keoni Jardine (if you never got to see this guy – no video archives- it’s really too bad cause he was a bad ass head hunter) and countless others including many who came a long way to play and sacrifice at UH. These and many others will be life long memories for me and make up the fabric of my life and I am always grateful they stayed.

  25. Old School Dave December 21, 2017 3:47 pm

    Makules like me may remember when Channel 4 (KHVH) used to show college football games on a one-day delay basis on Sunday afternoons in the islands. I particularly recall seeing Kale Ane and Arnold Morgado (before he transferred to UH) being introduced on ABC TV when they played for Michigan State.

    I think that Lippy Espinda was doing his “Hele On Bradah” car commercials on local TV at that time.

  26. turfwar December 21, 2017 3:48 pm

    The Staradvertiser front page of the sports section is pathetic. Cut and paste stories about MLB and the NFL leading the sports section of the only local paper is weak. Thank goodness for ST.

  27. Old School Dave December 21, 2017 3:52 pm

    #19 Warrior Mojo: Sadly, Jeremy Perry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fd9jIYiDJU
    Too bad, as he was a talented lineman for OSU.

  28. Turfwar December 21, 2017 5:48 pm

    Wow. Thanks OSD. Sad. Some say he could have played in the keague. Might have been a blessing he went away. Sounds like another victim of the ice epidemic.

  29. Not Sean December 21, 2017 8:25 pm

    #23 & #24, turfwar and Dave
    I remember them, too. I”ve held season tickets since the Dave Holmes years. UH has a long and honorabe history people are not aware of. The situation today would be better if the history was actually tradition in their eyes.

  30. Not Sean December 21, 2017 8:27 pm

    #22 and #23 turfwar and OSD…wrong reference last post

  31. winning December 21, 2017 8:58 pm

    No RB maybe cause not going with too much running. “Back to the Future”. Run and Gun QB with 4 wides! Yeah Baby!!

  32. amela December 21, 2017 9:35 pm

    No running backs recruited, think we got a good bunch of young ones waiting to get in.

  33. H-Man December 21, 2017 10:39 pm

    Agree. RB is not a high priority. There’s five coming back. But no JC offensive tackles (yet) is a concern in my eyes. The one they got, Ilm Mannning, looks too small to contribute right away. Maybe in a couple of years. But overall a real good class so far. Good job by Cvercko and coaching staff.

  34. A-House December 22, 2017 7:23 am

    sure hope the “big fella” from Australia turns in his LOI soon

  35. H LLC December 22, 2017 7:24 am

    The young guys didn’t grow up in the years that we loved when you joined the army and we went to Fort Ord as ALL HAWAII. We were proud of Hawaii. If someone picked on someone from Hawaii we all stood with him. We were one Ohana.

  36. kama krab December 22, 2017 8:05 am

    Any updates on additional signings or potential coaching hires?

  37. al December 22, 2017 8:29 am

    We’ll need to recruit at least one running back.
    Of the 5 returning RB’s ONLY Freddie Holly carried the ball (9-30).
    We should be recruiting at the minimum one RB annually.

    Must have the numbers for each position in each class. Especially for skilled positions. Lack there of will create problems down the road.

  38. al December 22, 2017 8:32 am

    33. Maybe one more but it doesn’t seem like it.

    Budget constraints might handcuff coaching employments.
    What we need is a John A. Burns.

  39. H-Man December 22, 2017 8:50 am

    John A. Burns was a one-of-a-kind. He had vision and commitment. And it’s not just UH Athletics and football. We need a leader. Wish another leader like him comes along.

  40. boolakanaka December 22, 2017 9:01 am

    Class looks promising but what is conspicuously absent is quality corners. Outside of a QB, I think it’s the most premium position to recruit for, as you need legitimately 3-4, to play any appreciable nickel or dime package. As much as you can scheme your defensive package, if you don’t have folks that can play meaningful man and run with the receivers, you allow several big play a game on the backend. Hope this is addressed….

  41. WAC_FAN December 22, 2017 9:43 am

    Steven, given that the internet is blowing up about Florida State should be ineligible for a Bowl Game because Delaware State doesn’t have 90% scholarships–is the administration aware that Duquesne (on the schedule for next year), being from the NEC–doesn’t fit the 90% funded scholarship rule either? I realize we play 13 games again and the odds are against us going to a bowl game at 6-7 again would be slim anyway…but it would be suck to be in that position….

  42. al December 22, 2017 9:51 am

    Boola…I agree on that. They did redshirt a number of db’s from the 2017 class.
    Not saying that’s a good sign in itself.
    I understand they are targeting cb’s and oline for the second group.
    We have close to ten slots available.
    We should see a few more JC players as well.

    I believe we’ll be fine with this class.

    Let’s hope the upper campus releases at least $500k for new OC and DC.

  43. Da Punchbowl Kid December 22, 2017 10:27 am

    Mahalo to every member on the UH Football staff for their commitment and hard work! Mahalo to the blog writer who gives us a look at all thing regarding UH football.

    As for running backs, what about this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhYo_N7MrPs
    Hekili Li’i liki – that’s a great name for a power back. Is he still with us? I would love to see him get some touches.

    Need more depth at O-line I think!

  44. Da Punchbowl Kid December 22, 2017 10:29 am

    Li’iliki* sorry for the typo.

  45. kama krab December 22, 2017 10:47 am

    Thanks for the update braddah Al. Still hoping we can get Derek Thomas, Baraka Beckett, and the Panoke kid in.

  46. kama krab December 22, 2017 10:50 am

    Still see some need on the O-line, maybe one big body Nose Guard type, couple db’s, and off course a game breaker at either WR or RB. I just don’t see any of the kids we signed so far as being that go to game changer that we need on offense.

  47. kama krab December 22, 2017 10:53 am

    And also need some experience on the coaching staff. I think we got a good group of coaches that can grind it on the recruiting front now need some experience to stabilize game time scheming and locker room/meeting room discipline.

  48. Duster December 22, 2017 11:43 am

    Derek Thomas? Was his LOI received by UH?

    Good to see Mojo posting.

  49. al December 22, 2017 12:24 pm

    DPK my brother.
    Happy Holidays bull.

    Hekili, I believe redshirted this year.

    Kama, long time no see.
    Thomas is on the wing and still a hard commit.

  50. clyde December 22, 2017 12:35 pm

    Any word on Baraka Beckett?

  51. kama krab December 22, 2017 1:01 pm

    Yep long time no see Al. Happy Holidays.

  52. kama krab December 22, 2017 1:06 pm

    From what I saw, Derek Thomas would be a very solid pick.
    I’m actually pretty happy with the D-linemen that we signed so far. Looks like a lot of speed off the edge which we sorely lacked last year. But like I said in my prior post, we still need that big bull in the middle of the D to hold that point. We get that from the JC ranks, and I think our Defensive side of the ball will be much improved.

  53. AllG December 22, 2017 1:57 pm

    Yes biggest need area is CB for sure. Our corners got burned regularly last season and we are definitely lacking speed at the position. If we good land a JC similar to Ryan Mouton that would be huge!

  54. Stephen Tsai December 22, 2017 2:42 pm

    New post: http://www.hawaiiwarriorworld.com/?p=45208

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