Let’s make a deal

The Warriors are six days removed from the end of a 3-9 season, their seventh non-winning year in a row.

And that means David Matlin should do one thing.

Matlin needs to take Nick Rolovich’s contract, which runs through 2020 and pays $425,000 next season, and rip it to shreds.

Then Matlin needs to give Rolovich a new five-year deal at, say, $500,000 per year.



A new deal will:

> Help recruiting: If a recruit commits now, he knows his head coach will be there to hand out a plaque on his senior night.

> Help hirings: There are two coaching slots to fill — the one vacated with Chris Naeole’s resignation and the 10th position added by the NCAA, effective in January. Contrary to common message-board beliefs, there is not a finite number of qualified assistant coaches. Proof is in the registration figures for the coaches convention (also known as the football job fair). And money is not the No. 1 priority for an assistant coach. It’s high on the list, but it’s not No. 1. What coaches want is security, and if the head guy has a long-term deal, then that’s an attraction. Check UH’s coaching history, and there is a correlation between remaining time on a contract and pool of candidates.

So how would this plan work, genius?

First, I’d take out the bonuses for the head guy (but leave them for the assistants). UH isn’t a very good saver, and like most of us, it has a difficult time stashing aside money for bonuses. So a new contract would mean a set salary for the head coach for five years. And $500,000 is still less than Norm Chow’s base and below Rolo’s comparative value among his Mountain West peers.

And if the bonus goes, the buy-out penalty should be dropped. If you work at McDonald’s and you get a more lucrative offer from Burger King, you don’t have to pay to leave the Golden Arches. The whole buyout thing is ridiculous, anyway. If a company doesn’t want employees to leave, give them reasons not to leave.

People might argue against rewarding someone who took a job without previous head coaching job. But those arguments should be made before the hiring. Besides, every head coach, at one time in his career, was hired without previous head-coaching experience. And Rolo now has two years as head coach on his resume.

I’ve always believed in buy low, sell high. Now’s the time time to invest in Rolo.


  1. ai-eee-soos December 1, 2017 9:56 am


  2. A-House December 1, 2017 9:57 am


    don’t know if Matlin will buy your logic into keeping Rolo!

  3. ai-eee-soos December 1, 2017 9:58 am

    ST: Any word on Coach Cav’s availability ?

  4. al December 1, 2017 10:01 am

    Brilliant ST.
    you should apply for the newly created special assistant to the Director of Athletics. This way you could keep your day job and your casual hire positions.

  5. Captain Ron December 1, 2017 10:09 am

    ST: I agree with you — give Rollo a new, improved contract. My point of view about this last season … if we had the victories many expected and all wanted, Rollo would be highly sought after in this year of coaching changes. I believe him when he says this is where he wants to be and that the money is fine. But double or triple the salary would be hard for anyone to turn down. And I still believe that he is the right man for the job. GO WARRIORS!!!!!

  6. Maddog50 December 1, 2017 10:15 am

    Stephen you make peregrct sense/

  7. Maddog50 December 1, 2017 10:16 am

    Perfect sense-

  8. BigWave96744 December 1, 2017 10:18 am

    Rewarding Failure is a bad thing.
    This will set you up for other under performing coaches to also expect a raise and use the same excuse.

    So if Rolo wins 4 games next year he would, in essence, over performed and would be in line for a bigger raise?

    But then of course we come from a state that rewarded bucks to failed Rail Officials, so anything ludicrous is possible.

  9. Ron December 1, 2017 10:36 am


  10. al December 1, 2017 10:38 am

    Dave is that really you?

  11. Makule December 1, 2017 10:50 am

    Getting a raise! Going1- 7 in the MWC & getting paid $400K. I don’t think so. Remember, anybody who was making $160K should be happy with the current pay.

  12. Tank December 1, 2017 11:10 am

    I agree the contract should be ripped into shreds. However, I don’t agree with the increase in pay. His pay should be decreased and the term of the contract should be terminated after the 2018 season. We should not be rewarding a coach who had a miserable year, it sends a bad message. Things need to change, the defense was awful and the offense needs to get better.

  13. turfwar December 1, 2017 11:26 am

    Forget paying the coaches more. Find the money to increase the COA to get players. Better players will make better coaches. Here’s another thought. If UCF doesn’t see any chance of getting to compete with the big boys in the playoffs and is still ranked around 14 or so where they are this week should they win tomorrow then really what’s the point in investing heavily in football anymore? Years ago I read on the Boise fan board fans who wondered the wisdom of continuing to invest heavily to chase the big boys of college football. Mind you this is a state that basically depends on simple things like agriculture for state monies and doesn’t have the population base of a California, Washington, etc. Today it seems to make even more sense with Boise already losing to Fresno and potentially ending up in another mid level bowl with a mid level payout.

  14. Stephen Tsai December 1, 2017 11:38 am

    I always thought Charlie Wade was a good coach. But he had to adjust to the recruiting and the scholarship differences between the women’s and men’s game. Once he mastered the scholarship capology he became a very good coach. I’ve known Rolo for 17 years. He’ll get this turned around.

  15. Trunks420 December 1, 2017 11:40 am

    I Say Give him a new contract go all in with this coach and if at end of contract Hawaii still in Losing Trend.

    I will demand Hawaii go back to FCS league for while keep Rolo and staff that way he and players experience winning and can train the players to their playbook.

  16. Stephen Tsai December 1, 2017 11:44 am

    The Indians used the strategy several years ago. Pay high early but lock up players years before they get to arbitration. The Yankees should do that with Aaron Judge. He’ll sacrifice a bigger deal in six years for more money than he’s due now

  17. jeezy33 December 1, 2017 11:57 am

    Contract talk right now isn’t urgent in my opinion. Rolo needs to get it right in this recruiting class. No more fringe players that are borderline FBS material. Team needs to get faster and more physical. I am very aware that this will be a heavy JC class. The contract talk shouldn’t affect recruiting at all. The biggest set back with our recruiting is our poor performance this past season. I expect about 4 new coaches in 2017. Biggest problem with recruiting to me has been incompetent coaches that don’t know how to evaluate properly. Truth hurts but it’s true.

  18. Na Alii Pride December 1, 2017 12:25 pm

    I’m on board. Lock up Rolo. He’ll get this ship going in the right direction.

  19. GrLan21 December 1, 2017 12:36 pm

    Disagree. Rolo needs to go-lo!

  20. SteveM December 1, 2017 12:50 pm

    Darn, ST — you make sense again. Yes, give Rolo a 5-year contract (amount up to Matlin) with no buy-out penalty for termination…but throw in a bonus for making MWC division and overall MWC championship.

    As a signing bonus, maybe throw in a DVD set of all the New Year’s day Rose Bowl games from 1970-1990.

  21. islandman December 1, 2017 1:02 pm

    Rolovich is due $425,004 in 2018 and 2019, per his current contract, or a 6.249% raise over $400,008.

  22. H-Man December 1, 2017 1:15 pm

    A new 5-year contract to support recruiting makes sense, but there has to be an escape clause or clauses to protect the university “if” Rolo under performs. And no buy-out clauses. It cannot be a one-way street. Now, will Rolo turn things around next season? The jury is out. This year’s performance is inexplicable in my eyes. I say let’s see what turns up next season.

  23. ai-eee-soos December 1, 2017 1:37 pm

    15. jeezy33 December 1, 2017 11:57 am

    I agree that this recruiting class HAS to be heavy JC –

    JC guys who can step in to be #1 or #2.

    Coaching wise, we desperately need an OL coach AND

    a DC. These two positions alone, will make a hellava difference.

  24. jeezy33 December 1, 2017 1:55 pm

    20. Quality OL coach who knows how to recruit is key. Naeole must be the happiest person now that he doesn’t have to log onto Twitter anymore to look at recruits. He did no embrace recruiting and that hurts when building a college program.

    DC- A new DC is definitely coming in. Heard a couple solid names rumbling but I’ll be praying for good news on that end.

    New ST coach- Mayur just isn’t cutting it. He offers nothing to the recruiting game and his ST unit screwed up more times than enough for me. When he did not realize UNLV was onside kicking at their own 50 following a penalty was final straw that he was lost.

    We need coaches who can recruit, evaluate, and close the deal.

  25. jr December 1, 2017 2:25 pm

    is Blessman Taala ,still on scholarship

  26. Whats up December 1, 2017 2:27 pm

    We need coaches that can recruit like Tony Tuioti… I don’t know about his availability.

    Mens Sports: Hawaii Warriors
    Womens Sports: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

  27. Ipu Man December 1, 2017 2:38 pm

    Hmmmm…no. Maybe a box of tootsie rolls for trying so hard.
    Prove to your bosses you area worth a pay raise the saying goes.

  28. Ipu Man December 1, 2017 2:38 pm


  29. Ipu Man December 1, 2017 2:42 pm

    However, Matlin ought to seriously consider lobbying for
    Burger King, Jack In The Box, MacDonalds, & KFC as well
    as L&L to sell at the Stadium and still keep the small Mom
    & Pop shops. If BK can sell at their regular prices at the
    Airport, why not?

  30. Ipu Man December 1, 2017 2:44 pm

    And Matlin could make lots of extra money this way:
    Charge $100 per star for a Hollywood-like Walk of Fame
    to anyone who wants a star for their favorite player since
    the beginning of UH football—star or benchwarmer.
    That’s a lot of stars.
    That’s a lot of cash.

  31. Coach DB December 1, 2017 3:00 pm


    The best thing Rolo can do is split it up, stack 4/5yr players and develop them as best as possible then raid every JC you can for DEFENSIVE LINEMEN! Those that don’t pan out as defensive linemen send them to the offensive line, we NEED MEAN and NASTY on both sides of the line. Now talk some brothers into coming to Hawaii to increase your speed, then improve your strength and conditioning programs including your training table.

    I hear it’s horrible (SUCKS is the actual phrase), kids from the mainland don’t want SPAM, they want Fried Chicken, Catfish, Corn Bread Mac and Cheese. Look at winning programs training tables they feed those kids well and that doesn’t cost much more but can make a BIG difference!!!

    If they can’t get better players out of high school then start developing the ones you have is crucial to the overall success of your program, and if they know they can get some home cooking that might make the difference. Sometimes it’s THE LITTLE THINGS!!!


  32. ai-eee-soos December 1, 2017 3:48 pm

    # 23. We need coaches that can recruit like Tony Tuioti… I don’t know about his availability.

    Tony was/is with Cal Bears, coaching ————– OLB’s !!!

    I remember him having a hard time coaching LB’s, here.

    He and Kaumeyer were canned on same day by NC.

  33. Stephen Tsai December 1, 2017 3:58 pm

    The best recruiters are the players. Face it, If a player doesn’t have a great experience or feel the fan support, that won’t translate to positive recruiting.

  34. Jeezy33 December 1, 2017 5:00 pm

    30. Coaches evaluate talent, offer players, pitch the program and scheme. It’s Omni the coaches.

  35. burro sabio December 1, 2017 6:28 pm

    Mr. A-House, you raised this issue yesterday. Last year 11 true freshmen played, . This year, just 6, but 9 redshirts from last year played, and about 11 redshirted and were salted away for next year. If they are getting on the field in their first 2 years, they’re doing ok.

  36. Ipu Man December 1, 2017 8:07 pm

    Offer to play a game in North Korea for a million bucks.
    Perhaps against Boise State…
    No fear.
    Just don’t shoplift…

  37. boolakanaka December 1, 2017 8:17 pm

    It’s ironic that some keep on mentioning recruiting “brothers” for DB positions, and the longest tenured NFL defensive back from Hawai’i was my teammate Rich Miano, who last I looked was pretty fair. Eleven seasons playing on Sundays is no fluke.

  38. Kamaunu December 1, 2017 8:26 pm

    Love Rolo as much as the next person, but come on now, he has not proven that he is the answer. We went backwards this season, and nothing that I have seen tells me that he has what it takes. Let him earn it.

  39. DaveLetterMan December 1, 2017 9:11 pm

    Howzit Tsaikos!
    Will he come home?

  40. H-Man December 1, 2017 9:25 pm

    Speaking of salaries, Johnathan Smith, Oregon State’s new head coach will earn $1.9 mil each year for 5 years (total $9.5 mil). Key point of the article is that Gary Anderson’s (now former head coach) remaining salary is voided. UH, take note. see: http://www.oregonlive.com/beavers/index.ssf/2017/12/oregon_state_football_coach_jo.html

  41. al December 1, 2017 9:42 pm

    And Kafentzis, Gaison, Stringert.

  42. Julian December 2, 2017 12:20 am

    From what I see on the field, homeboy has not earned a raise, or a raise. Proof is in the pudding. So far the pudding is bland.

  43. seewhy December 2, 2017 1:11 am

    RE: #37

    And he was a walk on!

  44. seewhy December 2, 2017 1:14 am

    RE: #38

    Bring him home!!

  45. suckkabooya December 2, 2017 2:42 am

    I think we have to give Rolovich the benefit of the doubt in “our” precarious situation. This is a guy that has an affinity for our people and our culture here, I think that needs to be appreciated. Even Norm Chow struggled with that (the hair issue especially) and he is from here. I think it’s hard to find someone who is willing to give all that he has just to not fail the people here. I feel like we are lucky to have someone like that. His best is not that good right now, but he is still in his infancy. June Jones had that same affinity for Hawaii and that entire dynamic was so special in the end. Remember, June came in with some experience as a head coach so the parallel with Rolo’s start here is at least two years askew. Hopefully he can do it. I think he can.

  46. Whats up December 2, 2017 2:59 am

    I could be wrong, but I remember Rich Miano, Tony Tuioti and Rolo bring in some good talent and great walk-ons as assistants.

    Norm Chow had it in for Tony Tuioti (Holdover coach), Lets not forget 2013 Chow hired Aaron Price as OC then fired him right away. Hawaii still had to pay Aaron Price contract, Chow decision making was wonky, bring back the “Rainbow” to Football and had GA’s as QB and WR coaches? Chow wanted to bring in his own staff and letting go of Tony also hurt recruiting, just like letting go of Dave Aranda hurt the defense.

    Rolo is not a coach with the name or star power like June Jones or Norm Chow to pull in talent like Kennedy Tulimaseali straight out of high school. And as long as the “Rainbow” is still in effect for Football or until June Jones come back to change the Nickname back to Hawaii Warriors. Rolo is going to need creative minded recruiters like a Miano and Tuioti to get better talent on the depth chart from the high school, JC or walk-ons (Mainland or Poly/Local).

  47. Sangamon Keith December 2, 2017 3:21 am

    I like your idea, Stephen. I would just adjust it to the following:

    12-year contract
    Starting at $540,000 with $60,000 raise each year
    Final salary reaches $1,200,000 (but 12 years from now)
    Include $120,000 buyout for either side.

  48. Fasteddie December 2, 2017 5:19 am

    Khoury Bethley is one Hawaii recruit I have kept my eye on from Don Lugo. Hurt and all, he’s still leading his team in rushing and will be playing in a CIF div 7 championship today. Shpuld they win, it will be the first championship in 30+ years for Dom Lugo.

    Addition of Jordan Taamu would be welcomed, but will he transfer is the question.

  49. Maddog50 December 2, 2017 6:46 am

    Mac made a mil, Chow around 600k. To pay our HFC at the bottom of the MW is absurd. I agree with ST completely. This season has been the cause of a lot of angst for the fans of the program. Everything else aside I think it’s universal that recruiting is key and I like a lot of what is waiting in the wings. A strong class of 25 will further this. Talent is one thing but all else must be examined down to the smallest point and remedies put in place. Example-why in the last two years do we start out slow or don’t start out at all on either side of the ball in the first quarter-there is a reason that has nothing to do with talent. The coverage by special teams in the last game was noticeably improved-how come? That’s just a few observations. The best coaches I ever had I feared-I loved a lot of em and respected them but I did not even want to be in the same room with them! Tough love is a good thing when portioned out the right way-GoWarriors!!!!

  50. What? December 2, 2017 7:19 am

    Rolo should see it through the end of his contract with the possibility to extend if benchmarks are met. But, to give a coach a long term contract is just insane and makes no financial sense.

    Let’s say Rolo gets a 10 year contract guaranteed and in year 6 for whatever reason fan interest dwindles to 13.5K per game. Everyone is calling to buyout his contract but it’s too costly. What then?

    It’s great to show confidence in a coach. But, to throw all financial sense out the window and bet on the fact that knowing the HC is secure for years to come is a reason that a player will choose Hawaii over another school is just as crazy.

    Rolo was the right choice at the right time. Fan support is so up and down. One minute everyone thinks the HC is the greatest and then it goes south and everyone says fire him. If Rolo does well and other schools starts recruiting him to be their HC, then that’s what will happen. UH is not a money machine like other power 5 schools. If Rolo does well in year 3, 4 and 5 and other schools come knocking on his door to be the HC of their school, I say that’s great because that means UH football did great on the field.

    In anycase, there will always be a program willing to pay big money for a HC that UH cannot afford. If Rolo does well in year 3, 4 and 5, he will be in the prime of his coaching earning potential. Would he Rolo turn down a 7 year guaranteed $10.5 million contact to coach at another school? Well, only he knows the answer to that question.

  51. Old School Dave December 2, 2017 7:36 am

    Mac earned over $1 million during his time at UH. What happened to the boosters and money?
    The new 10th assistant means that the $1 million dollar assistant coaches salary pool will be stretched even more? Boise State’s assistant salary pool is double that of UH. What’s the major industry in Idaho, again?

    Cheap or free is moa bettah!

    In the meantime, the Mental Hospital in Kaneohe will need more money to add to the $20 million spent there over the last 10 years to beef up security.

    Randall Saito: Coming to a half-way house in your neighborhood.

  52. Honu888 December 2, 2017 7:48 am

    I haven’t been able to watch any of the UCF games this year. Watching right now and wow! MM is very impressive at QB.

  53. Coach DB December 2, 2017 7:54 am

    #37 & 42 The best college and almost every Pro team “looks they way it looks” for a reason!!!

    It is what it is! Not here to argue, just point out the obvious!!!

    You wanna WIN go get them!!!

  54. boolakanaka December 2, 2017 8:39 am

    49, big difference too, is that the state of Idaho contributes 5 million to their athletic program.

  55. burro sabio December 2, 2017 8:41 am

    #51 – agreed, gotta recruit. Now cut out the racist crap.

  56. Stephen Tsai December 2, 2017 9:17 am

    I do agree there shouldn’t be a reward for a 3-9 year.
    But I also think that UH needs to look ahead. Do officials think Rolo will be able to turn it around? If so, invest in him now.
    Some guys you know are good coaches. Take Brad Stevens. Should the Celtics have given up early? Some guys you just know it’s not going to work out. Then you have to look at the alternative plan. Who else out there do you think has the affinity for Hawaii and would take the job as the league’s lowest-paid coach? It goes back to Rolo.

  57. Stephen Tsai December 2, 2017 9:26 am

    New post: http://www.hawaiiwarriorworld.com/?p=45125

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