Hawaii football: Nick Rolovich is Mountain West Coach of Year; Cedric Byrd named to first team

Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich grasped hands with wide receiver JoJo Ward on senior night Saturday at Aloha Stadium. Rolovich was named Mountain West Coach of the Year on Wednesday while Ward was named to the All-MWC second team. / Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell, Star-Advertiser

Hawaii’s Nick Rolovich today was named the Mountain West Conference’s Coach of the Year.

The Rainbow Warriors, who were picked to finish fourth in the West Division, are 9-4 and will play Boise State in Saturday’s Mountain West championship game in Boise.

“I’m grateful for the coaching staff and the support staff and the effort these players put in this year,” Rolovich told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Rolovich said he does not seek individual awards. “I try to win games,” he said. “It’s a nice honor. I appreciate it. A lot of guys deserve it. … The conference is full of great coaches. I enjoy being part of it.”

Right slotback Cedric Byrd was named to the All-Mountain West first team.

Quarterback Cole McDonald, right wideout JoJo Ward and left tackle Ilm Manning were named to the second team.

Cornerbacks Cortez Davis and Rojesterman Farris II, linebacker Solomon Matautia, rush end Kaimana Padello, nose tackle Blessman Ta‘ala, and offensive linemen Gene Pryor and Taaga Tuulima received honorable mention.

Slotback Cedric Byrd II caught a touchdown pass against Army. He was named a MWC first-teamer. / Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell, Star-Advertiser
Quarterback Cole McDonald went back to pass against San Diego State. He was named the MWC second-team quarterback. / Photo by Jamm Aquino, Star-Advertiser
Lineman Ilm Manning tried to clear a path for quarterback Chevan Cordeiro at New Mexico on Oct. 26. Manning was named a MWC second-teamer. / Photo by Anthony Jackson, Special to the Star-Advertiser


  1. ai-eee-soos December 4, 2019 10:25 am




  2. ai-eee-soos December 4, 2019 10:26 am



  3. Da Punchbowl Kid December 4, 2019 11:51 am

    Great news! Happy for those recognized.

    Time to put the icing on the cake.


  4. Music Man December 4, 2019 12:08 pm

    Hawaii 31 Boise state 24

    If defense is up to the task? It will be an emotional game for Hawaii

  5. Aloha73G December 4, 2019 12:10 pm

    All three fall sports coaches at UH have won conference Coach of the Year. First Michele Nagamine for Soccer, then Robyn Ah Mow for Women’s Volleyball and now Nick Rolovich for Football. Well done Hawai’i!!

  6. H-Man December 4, 2019 12:21 pm

    Congratulations to coach Rolo and the players for their recognition. Winning the conference championship would be the icing and the cherry on top. Play a smart game penalty and turnover free. Go Warriors !!!

  7. PONO December 4, 2019 12:22 pm

    Rolo for Governor. Get rid of Ige.

  8. THE burro sabio December 4, 2019 12:28 pm

    Good Job everyone!

  9. Al Price December 4, 2019 2:00 pm

    Congratulations Coach Rolovich!!

    Go Hawaii beat Boise State.

    All Hawaii should be tuning into ESPN to support the Rainbow Warriors.

  10. Inuulu December 4, 2019 2:13 pm

    Actually I think Rolo would make an excellent AD when his coaching career is done. He has a great marketing mind.

  11. NorthShoreFan December 4, 2019 3:06 pm

    #3 DPK…. I second that!

  12. NorthShoreFan December 4, 2019 3:09 pm

    Hoping we can keep the “coaching team” intact going forward. Adds continuity for the kids. Results of this is proof positive this year. Team is playing for the championship…….Really chasing championships now.

  13. Inyoface December 4, 2019 3:26 pm

    Beat the Smurf’s!

  14. CUQ December 4, 2019 4:00 pm

    I believe AD, Dave Matlin, deserves a lot of credit for these coaches winning coach of the year honors. Now, waiting for a change in baseball… Sad situation there.

  15. 19Champions December 4, 2019 4:04 pm

    Yes Hawaii needs to play penalty and turnover free and play a very tight and aggressive defense like the Army game but even better!.. and that was some good defense!!! Let’s go Warriors and beat Boise this Saturday!!!

  16. Whitey December 4, 2019 5:23 pm

    Congratulations to the Warriors for having the Coach of the YeR and a first team WR plus a bunch of other players who received recognition.

  17. tom-warriornation December 4, 2019 6:13 pm

    Well deserved and HUGE CONGRATS to Coach Rolo and his staff! Also to all our Warriors who made the Mountain West first, second & honorable mention teams–think they missed a lot of our players like Chevan, Miles Reed, Jason-Matthew Sharsh, Jared Smart, Derek Thomas, Jeremiah Pritchard, Kalen Hicks, Khoury Bethley, Eugene Ford, etc. Of course, I am biased; lol.

  18. cappie the $2000 dog December 4, 2019 6:51 pm

    It’s destiny from my point-of-view that Hawaii will win. I once loaned money to a co-worker, and he went to Vegas with it, and never paid me back. If Hawaii wins, I am absolutely going to see this game in person. If there is a God, Hawaii will win.

  19. Kev-1 December 4, 2019 8:31 pm

    Just read in an ESPN article about the Colorado St. coach being let go that Rolo could be a candidate for that job. Where do they get this stuff from?

  20. WarriorNY December 4, 2019 9:45 pm

    I read on a SI article that he has interest in the job. I hope UH gets the message and pays the man what he deserves.

    It’ll kill the fan base even more if we have to go back to a new coach.

  21. WarriorNY December 4, 2019 9:55 pm

    Also looking back at the Mack era… mcmackin wasn’t the most articulate speaker but it took balls and an eye for talent for him to make changes from local heroes (the Lees) to hand the reigns to Aranda and Rolo.

  22. Willie December 4, 2019 10:22 pm

    WarriorNY, perhaps this is fake SI news. Can’t imagine Rolo thinking about another coaching stint with a MWC Championship game & a bowl game coming up. Based on what Coach has been saying and his passion about UH football, the school and the state this is totally out of character.

    The last time something like this came up, it was June Jones leaving for SMU in his mind, even before the Sugar Bowl. There were those in the know that said a major contributor to that blowout was due to June not even being in the game mentally.

  23. Whitey December 5, 2019 5:13 am

    Nothing is guaranteed in coaching, Who would have thought Coach Petersen would leave UW? I still find it hard to believe, but that is coaching life.. i think everyone knows that a successful coach will always be pursued by school who need a coach. The key factor is usually. money, facilities, and booster support. No school likes to lose a successful coach, but that is life as a coach. Be nice to see what Coach Rolovich has to say and what he plans to do.

  24. Maddog50 December 5, 2019 6:03 am

    Emotion will rule the day come Saturday. Respect from the boys in blue and it’s fans. This is gonna be a game! More than a decent shot to win. Not surprised if the elusive Cordero starts the game. Eletise and Pritchard will be factors. Scott has grown and improved and the defensive front will be more suited to defend. Interesting that Mose is now on the depth chart. GoWarriors!!!!

  25. boolakanaka December 5, 2019 7:58 am

    You get what you pay for: Rolo has more than upheld his side of the bargain.

    If you have a good coach, then he will always be in demand. UH needs to be on the offense, and provide a bit of sweetener and incentive to the package. My idea would be a one-time 300k to Rolo and staff. 100k for Rolo himself and the other 200k divided among the principal coaches, e.g. coordinators get 40k, positions 20-25, other assistants 10-15. Then immediately follow through with upgrades to the facility.

    I can guarantee that this would cost less than starting over with a different staff.

  26. tom-warriornation December 5, 2019 9:51 am

    I second that motion Boolakanaka!

  27. THE burro sabio December 5, 2019 9:51 am

    Boola, sorry but I disagree with immediate bonuses as UH can’t compete in the arms race. Bigger incentives should be added to the coach’s contracts so it’s tied to performance. Go straight to improvements to facilities, hiring more QC assistants, or something simple like chartering flights to those awful-to-get-to places like Fresno, Boise, Reno, and Cheyenne. And MARKETING.

  28. clyde December 5, 2019 10:00 am

    If UH wants to keep Rolo long term, it should commit to building the football complex he’s brought up numerous times. It also wouldn’t hurt defending Rolo a little more stridently in the unfortunate incident with a certain photographer.

  29. sackkabooya December 5, 2019 10:04 am

    I hope there is a succession plan in place somewhere on Matlin’s “to do” agenda list. Just in case. Lots of unfinished business for Rolovich (kind of backed into West Division Championship this year) but the plan on track and seems far ahead of schedule. For Batoon too. On track.

    The right pieces coming for Batoon. Guarantee. The defense will be unreal. Going to match up with the offense. Soon. You can see it on video. Just the individual pieces need to be synched up a little more efficiently. Kind of random right now. I think that’s by design. Getting everybody accustomed to the system.

    Rolovich is so perfect for Hawaii. He has an affinity for the People and Culture here. It touched him in some way as a student athlete. Hard to find that kind of person. We so lucky. As for Batoon he has unfinished business as well here. When he finishes it he will be gone. He has things to prove elsewhere. Aranda “Jr”….. Let’s beat Boise first….. Go Warriors. Awesome

  30. Boolakanaka December 5, 2019 10:19 am

    Sorry but it’s not a per se arms race, as Rolo is well aware of both limitations and institutional capacity of UH. That said, it doesn’t mean you should not try to make an effort to both reward and recognize his past and immediate achievements.

    The history but moreover this pithy mentality that because we are an island state and we should only stay with folks that recognize our limitations is quite erroneous. My suggestion would allow the current staff to stay in place for another year and simultaneously the administration can make a more long term plan to secure the current coaching staff.

  31. BigWave96744 December 5, 2019 10:41 am

    UH 38 – Boise St 35 2OT

  32. NorthShoreFan December 5, 2019 10:44 am

    Coach Rolo has worked very hard to develop a program that was essentially in shambles. He’s managed to keep his staff intact. Today, some of these coaches will be offered or in demand at other institutions. Family concerns will play an important part in their decisions.
    Coaches are at will employees. We’ve lost a number of good ones who have gone on to bigger, better funded programs. Can’t begrudge them financial opportunities. Most of us would take the opportunities and go.
    Hope we can keep our coaches and build a “Rolo Dynasty”.

  33. Kawika December 5, 2019 12:30 pm

    Local media needs to take a tour of Boise State’s Football Complex and show Hawaii an example of providing support for a university’s football program. Still remember when they were known as Boise Junior College back in the day. Not sure that the UH Administration knows what to do with or how to handle a successful football program as they sure don’t show it. There are elements in Upper Campus who would like to see football go away.


  34. WarriorNY December 5, 2019 12:34 pm

    I agree with boola…

  35. NotNasti December 5, 2019 12:44 pm

    Well, there’s always this, https://www.staradvertiser.com/2019/12/05/sports/coaches-shoving-of-star-advertiser-photographer-wrong-uh-says/

    Rolo may decide to leave regardless of the money. How about UHAD’s failure to back him up with the photographer incident? Quite a spineless move by Matlin and Meisenzahl. Meisenzahl said, “He’s just a really nice guy, and it really does break my heart to see him go through this.” Broken heart? Over this? Your heart breaks when a relationship ends, or a pet or family member dies. But broken heart over a cut lip and “tonkobu” from being pushed off the field he had no business being on? And refusing a face-to-face apology? I’m swearing uncontrollably now.

  36. Boolakanaka December 5, 2019 3:07 pm

    Not Nasti—counselor it appears that this faux huhu is going to meander down the road of a certain someone filing a lawsuit – don’t you think?

    As to the fair weather administration is creating some flimsy rationale for a parting of the ways—I hope not!

  37. NotNasti December 5, 2019 3:22 pm

    Boola, That’s the script, unfortunately. I hope not as well. Methinks M&M (Matlin & Meisenzahl) were forced to “bend over” for the Star Advertiser. But when you start talking about disciplinary action, Jeezus H. _____! Don’t get me started again.

  38. THE burro sabio December 5, 2019 4:17 pm

    Boola I am not disagreeing with recognizing past and immediate achievements, but doing so does not help Rolo win tomorrow. Put priority on things that help him win in the future, not for what happened yesterday. It sends a message to the coaches that Matlin is willing to spend on upgrades. Then, set a bit aside to reward for current achievements. That’s just how I would prioritize it.

  39. kulawarrior December 5, 2019 4:39 pm

    Flying out to Boise soon. Any tailgates setup that we could participate in?

  40. NorthShoreFan December 5, 2019 4:43 pm

    Unfortunately, we will be faced with coaching salaries every year. Even player stipends. No mo money, hard to play the game. Other institutions see the benefits of having a good programs. This one doesn’t.

  41. Kev-1 December 5, 2019 4:44 pm

    Boola and Not Nasti … reading your posts has me nervous about this whole thing (I’m probably overreacting). Not a good sign when your bosses are taking the other side in an incident alleging misconduct (the fake assault story) at a time when another team is showing interest in your coaching services. It must feel pretty crummy to know that instead of celebrating a good season with you to be capped by a championship shot, your bosses are part of the public scrutinization of your character. Seems like enough to make one listen to other job opportunities.

  42. Gobows December 5, 2019 6:05 pm

    The so called victim should not have been on the field at all. I back Rolo 100%, I think the UH should make just ban all photographers from the sidelines and not be allowed on the field if the Advertiser is going make such huge issue of this such a manini incident.

  43. THE burro sabio December 5, 2019 6:25 pm

    NSF, good point. I forgot about the student stipends, we should take care of them first if can.

  44. MattyBoy December 5, 2019 6:58 pm

    I’m hearing Rolovich is NOT very happy with what is taking place. Has mentioned to coaches at one point that he may leave and not be back next year. Can anyone in the know confirm this? I’m actually hearing this from someone who is somewhat knowledgeable of the happenings at UH.

  45. Entertainment December 5, 2019 7:48 pm

    I wouldn’t blame Rolo for leaving if he does leave. He just might say, “see ya” at the end of the season.

    It seems the higher ups at UH are not backing Rolo. All it would take is for another school to show interest and offer him money he cannot refuse and he’s gone.

    It was a nice 4 year run for Rolo at UH as head coach.

  46. turfwar December 5, 2019 10:03 pm

    Fresno coach stepping down for health reasons. Coaching is definitely a high stress position. Lots a turnover this off season in MW.

  47. Dekimbrius December 6, 2019 4:47 am

    The decision by the Advertiser to continue to run with this non-story is absolutely abhorrent. Where’s the discipline for the photographer being on the field when he is not supposed to be? Is there any accountability these days? Let’s go ahead and chase off the best coach we had in the last twelve years just like we did with the one we had twelve years ago. Biggest game of the decade is tomorrow and we’re stuck with this.

  48. Kaleo63 December 6, 2019 5:50 am

    Why didn’t we accept the Hawaii bowl yet? Still have a Good shot to LV bowl win or lose tomorrow? Ahh St. Louis game at BG is around the same time.

  49. Maddog50 December 6, 2019 6:03 am

    This weekend in fact tomorrow the Warriors will play a game of major significance as far as the program goes and all interested parties. There is no time for distractions that would impact this event. Regarding all the recent noise of some things that have occurred, there really is no time for it. I for one as a fan alum and former player choose to key in on the game. Using a big picture lense regarding many things it would be wise to focus clearly on the game and as far as what happens after we win it would be in my opinion to take a long hard look into the future and all of those plans that are in the works and guarantee the best possible outcomes are properly foundationed. GoWarriors

  50. Andrew December 6, 2019 9:43 am


    I don’t believe that and I think it’s being made a bigger situation than it actually is, but if that were true and he does leave because of this situation, I would say Matlin has to go. That would be all this improvement over the last four years right down the drain over a stupid situation that some photographer is being a diva about for being where he wasn’t supposed to be. If Rolo goes, you know he’s taking the staff with him.

  51. sackkabooya December 6, 2019 10:03 am

    100% agree with Maddog. Focus on the game first. Upper campus too. Let Rolovich focus on the game. Scold him later.

    I hope UH can win, not just for the Program but also for his leverage vs Matlin, Meisenzhal, and the Star Advertiser. Pilau.

    From what I understand Rolovich tried to issue a public apology to this photographer and was turned down, And still was getting chided from Upper Campus people. Bad. F****** bad. Maybe he should go to UNLV. He could get a lot of Hawaii players to flow there. Could build the “Ohana” brand there I think. The infrastructure is there. Bring the whole staff. I will still think of all of them (whole staff) as part of us, Hawaii People. But they deserve better than this. Maybe UNLV is better.

  52. sackkabooya December 6, 2019 10:14 am

    This is what Rolovich feels about Hawaii, its culture and its people here and a photographer is put above that in the opinion of Upper Campus…..UNLV should get aggressive now. I would go to one UH game a year at least (well every other year).


  53. sackkabooya December 6, 2019 10:24 am

    Maybe Von Appen and Norm Chow can co Head Coach. I really miss the Pro Set Offense.

  54. sackkabooya December 6, 2019 10:52 am

    Need to find a Cemetery to lay the Headstone of the UH Football Program once Rolovich leaves. Somewhere Beautiful. Had such a long, rich, spectacular, and unifying life with a vibrant list of contributing individuals to its History……Natural Causes, Upper Campus, and one Photographer. Too bad.

  55. Andrew December 6, 2019 11:23 am

    Listening to a podcast for the MWC Championship game on MWWire.com and they have a Hawaii contributor from the mainland and it’s infuriating listening to him talk about the team. I’m sure he’s doing his best but man his analysis of the team and the season is quite off.

  56. ai-eee-soos December 6, 2019 11:46 am

    If Rolo wants to move, lots of opportunities in MWC.

    Boise … Colo State … lots of moola & great facilities.

    Fresno – lots of moola and support.

    UNLV – new facilities, new stadium, BUT no moolah.

    STAY AWAY from New Mex. worse financial condition than us.

  57. clyde December 6, 2019 12:21 pm

    With distractions swirling around both teams, Rolo and Harsin will earn their keep trying to maintain their players’ focus. Unfortunate timing.

  58. boolakanaka December 6, 2019 12:33 pm

    Rolo could go many places, but UNLV would be a step down.UNLV is actually poorer than UH and from a total sports program perspective, is definitely a notch below UH.

    I’m not sure why he would even consider it, as Sanchez was basically making the same salary as Rolo, plus the school has almost a non-existent successful history and folks like John Robinson, who won a National Championship at SC have tried and failed.

  59. Boolakanaka December 6, 2019 12:36 pm

    56, the really perplexing thing about New Mexico, is that while it’s one of the poorer states in the nation, it’s one of the few that hold a sovereign wealth fund. This fund is a state mandated contribution from proceeds of the oil and gas industry, and exceeds over 25 billion dollars, seems a bit of an overboard for a rainy day fund.

  60. Matt Nakamura December 6, 2019 12:41 pm

    Kind of a slight that Cole was SECOND TEAM?
    With his numbers?

  61. sackkabooya December 6, 2019 1:13 pm

    Video shows Rolovich grabbing Aquino from the back of his shirt and pulling him aside trying to get to another photographer who was further on the field of play. He manages to get to that photographer and pushes him with some force. That photographer (much bigger guy) regains his balance and scampers at a 45 degree angle off the field. Aquino (after being pulled back by Rolovich) is then shoved by an assistant (with force at what looks like his back near the shoulders) straight back toward the sideline. He takes one step (right foot) then looks like he “turf trips” with his left foot (happens a lot if you not used to turf; happened to the SDSU FS in that same area earlier in that game resulting in Ward’s touchdown). He then gets right back up and “side straddles” toward the sideline (about 8 yards or so) knowing that if he trots off “standard” he may turf trip again. Looks like everybody or nobody at fault here.


  62. sackkabooya December 6, 2019 1:28 pm

    For the record I would prefer Coach Rolovich. Coach Batoon and the whole staff to remain at The University of Hawaii. So lucky to have them. All of them. All the Players too. LUCKY. Up to them though. Not worth it for them maybe. They deserve better….. Meisenzhal can go.

  63. Kawika December 6, 2019 1:31 pm

    I think UH higher ups are Huhu cause they gotta pay Rolo his bonuses now. They (UH) gave him minimal resources (on purpose), paying him less than Chow, but he still produced a conference championship team. The State of Hawaii/UH has been in a maintenance mode for too long and don’t like it when one of its employees produces results as it makes other look bad. That’s the reason for the lack of any support for the football program, focusing on and obsession with the Rolo pushing back a photographer who wandered onto the field, UH not backing up Rolo, and the athletic department’s deficit (today’s main news in the SA).

  64. sackkabooya December 6, 2019 1:44 pm

    Sorry that “turf trip” by the FS resulting in Ward’s touchdown in that similar area of the field was against Fresno St not SDSU. I think the guy who “turf tripped” was the cousin of one of our running backs. The point was that if you not used to the Aloha Stadium turf its easy to trip. Got to go “sideways”. More safe.

  65. Ipu Man December 6, 2019 4:47 pm

    Maybe coach Jun Jones could come back…

  66. ai-eee-soos December 6, 2019 5:15 pm

    # 65. Agree.

    In fact, Artie Wilson, who keeps in touch with JJ ,

    said several times on his radio show,

    that JJ would work for “practically nothing”.

    If that’s the case, AD Matlin would not have to

    scramble around that much for coaches’ salary pool.

  67. Buffoman December 6, 2019 5:22 pm

    The one big problem that UH has that is unique to the school is that they start each year $625k in the hole to “pay to play” by paying for conference teams travel here to play. If they did not have this, coaches compensation may be addressed more aggressively.

  68. Buffoman December 6, 2019 5:29 pm

    My number for travel is probably off as I more than likely misread a report. Can’t remember where I saw a figure. My bad. But I believe it was quite substantial and covered track for just about all or all conference opponents travel to Hawaii.

  69. Inyoface December 6, 2019 9:15 pm

    I am pumped right now! Hopefully they meditate and slice Boise State up like a samurai. I think we got this one.

  70. cappie the $2000 dog December 7, 2019 6:20 am


    i think what you’re saying is that you’re worried that hawaii will be left out of the bowl picture. everybody who qualified for post-season has somewhere to play except for toledo. 79 teams, 78 slots,i think.

    thanks a lot, utah. baylor is a potential, now. from what i can tell, nick rolovich wins with integrity. and integrity is all that i care about. it’s not fun to have good players kicked off the team, but it communicates to me that he is not the sort of guy who wants to win at all costs. it is extraordinary to me that hawaii is playing fifteen games. hawaii is a backwater; we are lucky to have him. baylor in the playoffs would be horrible. they are but one example of what is wrong with college athletics. instead of being punished, title IX was rolled back because school officials were the real victims.

  71. Kev-1 December 7, 2019 9:51 am

    Game day. Again no hype. Something’s up.

  72. seewhy December 7, 2019 10:22 am

    GAME DAY!! GO BOWS!! 🌈

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