More UH football alumni weigh in

I believe players have the best perspective on coaches … especially after they’ve finished their careers and have been out in the world a bit. So I asked former UH football players for their opinions on who should be the next head coach at their alma mater. Also, see today’s column for the opinions of Colt Brennan, David Maeva, Jesse Sapolu and others:

Nick (Rolovich) was such a great player and I haven’t seen how he is as a coach but he played under June Jones in the system and I think new blood who knows an offense and can recruit players is good. When (Dick) Tomey came to UH he was only in his mid-30s at the most. Let’s go with the guy that used to play for us and knows football like Nick, he could be the perfect choice. And that’s thinking for the future too. He could be there 10 to 15 years and create continuity and a dynasty.

If Nick isn’t quite ready, they could bring June Jones back and make Nick the assistant head coach to work with June Jones for say two years, rebuild the program together and then take it over completely after the two years. That would be the best of both worlds but if Nick is ready on his own I say go for it.
–Greg Cummins

I would love to see Coach June Jones in there, Rich Miano. Whoever takes the job has gotta be really, really smart. Know what he’s doing, know the situation. I don’t think Norm (Chow) knew what he was getting into.

I would like to see Coach Jones and Miano. I think Rich has a lot of years. He knows a lot about the program, the state of Hawaii. Has a lot of energy, good attitude. Love to see him and Jones on the same staff. Jones as head honcho and Rich on defense and then Rolo come back.

Bring everybody back, Jeff Reinebold too.

If the university of Hawaii can do that, they’ll pack the stands. Got to hire someone who knows how to get the job done here with the kids we’ve got here. I don’t think Norm was bad, he just wasn’t a good fit and it was bad timing. Blame the guys who hired him, not him.

If Chris Naeole wins, gotta look at him. If he wins the next three or four, with the same team that went 2-7?
–Mike Lafaele

Longshot Buzz Preston, followed by JJ. Best two guys to bring in ballers.
–Nicky Clark

June Jones, because he keeps the best talent on the islands. Also treats his players justly.
–Pisa Tinoisamoa

I believe for all the years he has invested in Hawaii football I believe he deserves a shot more then any other coach at the top job in the state. Not as an assistant but as the head coach. Cal Lee is my pick.
–Name withheld by request

I said this months ago, June Jones takes the helm and builds the new structure with his protege (Rolo) ready. Then he leaves and the program rolls from there with his lineage in place. That would be best in my eyes.
I love Rich … the guy taught me everything about football and being a winner. Also helped me after college. But I agree, he can destroy things as well. If wasn’t for Nate being my brother at arms, rich would have torn us apart at times. It’s Rich’s competitive juices that get in the way. A head coach has to stay calm in time of crisis and I’m not sure he has that yet. Love the guy though.

If it were up to me, it’s a no brainer. Rich Miano without a doubt. The guy is ridiculously football smart. We know that. He really does care about the university. He was a walk-on and once he got his shot never looked back. Played more than 10 years in the league and returned right back to UH to coach. It shoulda been his job instead of macks from the start. Also Miano isn’t one of these guys looking for the next coaching job.

He’s here, this is where he wants to be and right now he has a chip on his shoulder because of this know it all “hiring committee” 4 years ago who didn’t even give him an interview. That’s a slap in the face. I mean look what the guy did with Kaiser in just two years.

Miano aside from football has all the business relationships you could have in Hawaii. Which means money for the program. He got 20K donated to Kaiser for new equipment. He re-did their weight room, and was working on getting them a new turf field. UH with Chow could barely get 150K donated but that’s another story. Miano can get people excited about the program, you’ve heard the guy talk. He’s awesome to listen to. UH could also hire Miano cheap, give him $200K and let him prove himself and then pay him. The guy is still young enough that he’s a long-term answer. He’ll get guys back here like Rolo (Nick Rolovich), and Ikaika Malloe that have went on and been very successful. Fans would be excited about the staff he’d put together because they’d already have an emotional tie to them from previous years. Not hire some guy who brings in guys we’ve never heard of. Hawaii needs its guys back and Miano can do that. You know what he can do. Also I forgot to mention the guy gets some pretty badass walkons. His track record proves it. The guy was a walk on, he takes pride in that program. I know I’m kinda jumping all over the place but I’m writing this on my phone haha. Thinkin about Miano as the head coach gets me fired up. Another thing about him is his nfl connections. Scouts listen to the guy. It’s time to get some warriors moving on to the next level and I think he’d be a huge part in that. I know people are saying June (Jones), and don’t get me wrong he’s a great coach but I think his ship has sailed. He’s kinda on his way out. Let’s get Miano in there who’s fired up and would want nothing more in life then to be the head coach of the University of Hawaii.

The guy deserves it and there’s no doubt in my mind he’d turn things around quick and keep this team as a contender year in and year out. I could go on and on but you get the picture haha. Thanks for reaching out man. I’m pushing for this guy all the way. Let’s make it happen.
–Jake Ingram

June Jones is a proven winner. If not, I’d like to see my former teammates Rich Miano or Dino Babers get a shot. I don’t think Ken Niumatalolo would leave a great situation in Annapolis.
–Joe Onosai

June Jones. He is familiar with UH system. And if it’s about the money, pay the guy.
–Pesefea Fiaseu

I believe that June Jones should be the coach again. The reason is because he had done so much for us in the past. He was the best thing that ever happened to UH Football in my opinion.
–Chad Mock

I would pick June Jones. Bring back run-and-shoot excitement. If he turns it down, Nick Rolovich. We need a coach with local ties. Got to keep the best players from Hawaii home.
–Norris Birdsong

I’m not really sure of all the possible candidates and what might be realistic money-wise, but my first choice is Rolo for a few reasons.

First is that he’s a good man and would be a terrific role model for our players. From a football standpoint, he would bring a spread offense that will bring some excitement back. Obviously he has a run and shoot background, but he can mold that with the pistol attack to give us balance. In terms of recruiting, we’d be targeting the same recruits as Nevada throughout the west coast, so he has those relationships established. I like the fact that he is young and probably ready to take the next step in his career. I supported the Chow hire, but in the back of my mind I worried a bit. If this guy is such a great head coach candidate, why was he not given an opportunity sooner? Anyway the rest is brutal history.
–Name withheld by request

In my simple view of what it will take to turn this program around, I think three maybe four things needs to be organized and on the same page; administration, boosters (business sponsors) and offense. Recruiting being the fourth.

The next coach needs to score a lot of points, keep the admin and boosters working together to improve facilities and recruiting. Although I would love Ken Niumatalolo to come back home, he seems content on where he’s at. And I don’t think the next coach needs to have a Hawaiian/Polynesian connection. He needs to score a lot of points. Hawaii fans don’t want to lose, but they can stomach losing 47-45 most of the time. People talk about the June Jones return. I think he’s a great coach, but that ship sailed a long time ago.

We need a young, hungry and offensive minded guy with great business acumen. With supporting staff that can recruit. Irony is I’m a defensive guy but the game has changed a lot in the last 15 years. More offensively and the culture of fans expecting touchdowns.
–Marvis Tauala

I like June Jones. He’s been here before and he’s had the best results in the shortest amount of time out of all the previous coaches that have come before him. June is June, but he won while he was here. I like June. I thought about Rolo, but he has no experience as a head coach.
–Junior Tufono

No question it would be Coach Jones. He’s one of the best I’ve ever played for. He has an excellent track record of not only winning but also turning programs around. One of the things that I think makes him a great coach and leader is his unshakable demeanor. I’ve never seen him over excited or over stressed and I think that’s what made him so successful. Always “cool, calm and collected”.
–Francis Maka

Rich (Miano). Hungry to make it work and capable. Both June and Rich would be the best situation.
–Name withheld by request

I’ve talked to a bunch of people, and they’ve mentioned so many names like Niumatalolo, Johnson, Monken, and various other coaches. I’ve agreed with every suggested former Hawaii names that popped up because of their ties to the program, but I only can base my decision with coaches that I’ve personally been around. I like Rolovich, Jones, but most of all, I gotta go with Rich Miano.

I’ve had the privilege of being a part of his coaching staff at Kaiser High School; winning the 2013 HHSAA Division 2 State Championship. The amount of time and effort he put into revamping the program was something in itself (Long hours in preparation, community service hours, not to mention his Maximum Exposure Camp, and the list goes on and on).

You know he’s a precision type of guy that knows the “X’s and O’s” of the game, but, I really think the greatest influence he had on me, is that he stayed home. He could have left and continued coaching at another university elsewhere, but he stayed home because he wanted to raise his kids in Hawaii. That’s what I love about the guy. He stayed home, raised his kids, coached his former high school football team, turned it around, won a championship, and brought back a sense of pride to his community (or tried to, but that’s another story). So, for myself, if you’re looking for an all in Hawaii guy to lead this team, that’s “the guy”, Rich Miano. I really hope he applies.
–Rustin Saole


  1. Bobby C November 4, 2015 9:16 am

    People also need to know that it was Chad Ikei that got the donation for the weight room at Kaiser, and when the DOE kicked IKei off campus for suing it was training ground for athletes, Ikei took the donated equipment that was supposed to be donated to the SCHOOL and said it was his. Miano did do a lot in 2 years, a lot of shady stuff. I won’t even get into the HK carnival money. I think there are others that would be better. He can be an assistant, cause he did do well as a recruiter and does have ties to the high schools here because of his awesome story of walk on to pro.

  2. H-Man November 4, 2015 9:20 am

    Hmmmm…. Lot’s of food for thought.

  3. lopati15 November 4, 2015 9:20 am

    Timmy Chang should be brought back in some capacity.

  4. Manoa Mist November 4, 2015 9:57 am

    I don’t know how you pick anybody but June. UH should be falling on the ground thanking its lucky stars that June wants to coach again. After SMU, he’ll have something to prove. I would ask June to train someone under him so when he’s ready to give it up at 67 or so, we’d have a succession plan.
    The thing about Jones is the games are always exciting. And excitement is what this program needs.

  5. Down with... November 4, 2015 10:03 am

    …the main thing is we, the fans, need to show up to the next 3 home games in masses. Even if we lose, if we show up it will show the state that Hawaii Football is not dead, we just didn’t like the last Coach and his game…

    Thanks Coach Chow but we got to move on. Good luck to Naeole let’s hope you can win some for the people of Hawaii, Hang in there student athletes and just play- as football should be fun especially if you’re not getting paid for it.

    Go Bows!!! Come on Hawaii Fans lets’ rock dis bi—atch

  6. Hoosier November 4, 2015 10:04 am

    Kind of off the wall because I don’t know if he would bite but Rod Carey of Norther Illinois. Taken NIU to Orange bowl and looks like they will play in MAC championship again. Beat Toledo (#24) on the road last night and gave Ohio State a run for their money

  7. H-Man November 4, 2015 11:02 am

    Lopati15, if June Jones is selected, I am hoping he brings Timmy back as offensive coordinator

  8. H-Man November 4, 2015 11:04 am

    Also, just read ST breaking news, Naeole named Woolsey as starting quarterback for Saturday’s game.

  9. Na Alii Pride November 4, 2015 11:18 am

    #3 and #7 – Why? What’s so good about Timmy Chang?

  10. tangomike November 4, 2015 11:23 am

    the next coach HAS to be June Jones imo. For whatever reason, June is a polarizing person. you either love him or you hate him (see joe moore). Lots of rumors floating out there as to why, but the one thing you can’t deny is that he has been and is winner.
    I was alarmed at the size of the crowd for the Air Force game. the University of Hawaii football program needs a guarantee for the next hire. UH must be hemorrhaging money with the lack of fans in the seats.
    June is the only person that can deliver wins NOW and will bring an exciting brand of football. from his track record, he doesn’t need 4 years or even 2 years.
    If my job was on the line and I felt the life of the program is on the line, I go with the guarantee.

  11. name withheld November 4, 2015 12:02 pm

    It’s a “No Brainer,” JUNE JONES should be the coach! Like Manoa Mist puts it “The thing about Jones is the games are always exciting. And excitement is what this program needs.” Whether you win or lose, there is always hope and most of all – EXCITEMENT! And he is a genius in marketing UH football. As for assistants, he can groom a Miano for a successor. I think T. Chang would be a great quarterback coach. Hawaii needs a exciting coach. JJ is the man. Mahalo!

  12. obachan November 4, 2015 1:20 pm

    While alumni choices/recommendations can be insightful, they are also of course limited in scope to those coaches whom they’ve played with or played for; thus a built-in bias. I’m glad that the AD will apparently have a wide pool of applicants to select from. May the best man win.

  13. 808 November 4, 2015 1:29 pm

    Matlin has a big decision ahead of him. If he chooses someone other than June Jones and it doesn’t work out, he will be out the door right after UH admin gets rid of the next HC.

    If he chooses JJ, and it doesn’t work out, then you some say, “I told you so.” However, I still think his decision is better than a committee made of CEO’s from banks and insurance companies.

    With the short list presented in the media, I am leaning more towards JJ. At first I said, no way would I want him as UH’s next coach. He quit at SMU and under similar conditions again, he would quit at UH again. But, with his style of football and his ability to build a program, there is no denying, he is a winner. I wonder when will the final list of prospective candidates be chosen.

  14. kimo browner November 4, 2015 7:47 pm

    I am a former UH player. My choice is JJ.
    Proven winning record at UH. No learning curve, this includes the politics! No wasted energy. JJ has his staff in mind and knows who he is recruiting. He has had a huge head start being in Hawaii this fall and will hit the ground sprinting.
    If Rolo does not apply that should provide a subtle signal he has committed to JJ. Rolo is the future.
    Ditto with Rich Miano. The fact that MIANO will apply should illustrate he will NOT be a part of the JJ staff.
    JJ is the coach that will reconstruct the bedrock for a solid football program at UH and pass it on to his former players. Coach Jones wants to establish a continuum.
    Both Les Murakami and Dave Shoji did not or have not signaled the same.
    When Murakami left Manoa his dynasty crashed and burned.
    Shoji is mum.
    I am hearing tradewind talk about a long term financial plan for the football program. Who else can bring that to the table? That means JJ has solid financial backing. That also means June Jones is dead serious. This is his final move. The reason he kept his Hawaii properties.
    I would also like to say there are several names with Hawaii ties that have been mentioned on this blog whom currently are head coaches that would make wonderful selections. In the case of NAVY, KN is set for life. Their retirement plan is richly embedded and reserved for Fleet Admirals. No way. I believe others are in positions on the ladder-rung to move up. The coaches with Hawaii ties remaining are prospects without a head coaching resume. Our last two selections, MAC and CHOW, were two experienced and decorated assistant coaches without the head coach moniker. In fact if you go all the way back to Larry Price–no selection was a HC. Only JJ– served as interim HC for NFL-SD Chargers when he was grabbed by Hugh Yoshida.
    JJ has the most wins and accolades than anyone else. He is a solid candidate. A candidate on a mission.

  15. nomu November 4, 2015 10:05 pm

    Short term hindsight never leads to long term gains.

  16. spaartan01 November 4, 2015 10:35 pm

    love the feedback, especially from names that gave so much to uh fb culture. imua matlin, as the choice will be yours to make.

  17. Not an Expert November 5, 2015 12:05 am

    Following a script of nostalgia. Bringing back JJ with his elderly band of coaches making one last hoorah. Throw in 2 younger coaches to take over the succession plan. What a story if done and they win. ESPN will run with this story cause of JJ.
    Will give UH free publicity and help the recruiting efforts.

  18. Amosilatus November 5, 2015 4:21 am

    The thing about June Jones is that his whole being says “Head Coach.” He has the qualities. He’s smart, competitive, tough, can’t be bullied, focused–a born leader. Yes, he can be polarizing, but strangely, every time he is, I find myself on his side!

  19. Clayton Mahuka November 5, 2015 7:12 am

    I like the idea of Jone Junes for a few years then Rich take over. This would be a good time for Rich to learn under June then take over from there. To me if UH can hold on to most of our local recruits from Hawaii that is when you will see more people support our program and trust me I have proof of our walk on players that did great things for our UH program and all home grown.

  20. hwnstyll November 5, 2015 8:59 am

    Not JJ.
    Yesterdays news but just wont go away.
    Yes he was great for wins at UH and the Players but,
    JJ pushed local people aside, pushed UH tradition aside, let his star players flop in Sugar bowl because he allowed them to make bad decisions while he was being wined and dined by SMU. 5000 Hawaii fans traveled to the game while JJ was more worried about his next job than the game itself. He QUIT at SMU.
    Miano is the guy who brought the team back by convincing local boys to walk on like mighty mouse. JJ does not recruit people, he does not meet parents or even call them, he is above that. He loves Hawaii so much? how many Hawaii boys did he recruit at SMU in 5 years? ZERO. Miano and the Lee’s got the players not JJ,
    Colt walked on, JJ didn’t see a future all american otherwise he would have offered him. JJ brought Pisa, Colt, and Bess to Hawaii because nobody else offered them, what big time recruit did JJ ever get that other colleges wanted?
    Laboy, francis, Purcell were all recruited from other guys.
    My vote is Miano, with Rolo as OC. We dont need any JJ baggage.
    What happened at Kaiser was pathetic, a bunch of AD’s from losing schools crying because there talented players wanted to play for Miano,DUH he was the best high school coach that parents who couldn’t afford private school could have.

  21. rdk95993 November 5, 2015 5:44 pm

    Regardless of who you want, the bottom line is that the safest choice for Matlin is Jones because Jones has twice turned around 2 really bad programs (UH and SMU). When you are the CEO and have a division that is failing, you hire the applicant that has fixed these types of divisions as opposed to applicants that are simply well qualified. You can always get well qualified coaches, but if you hire them and they fail, you will be criticized for not hiring the experienced “fixer”. If you hire the “fixer’ and he fails, no one can fault you because you made a well reasoned business decision.

  22. Paul Yamashita November 6, 2015 6:51 pm

    I agree with hwynstyll…. It HAS TO BE MIANO. He’s the best recruiter and he’s young and can be a long term solution for Hawaii. We need a defensive minded coach for once. Look how the last offensive minded coach turned out. ITS TIMW FOR CHANGE. ITS TIME FOR MIANO

  23. Paul Yamashita November 6, 2015 6:54 pm


  24. Warrior Fan November 7, 2015 3:58 am

    JJ is not the direction we need to go. I would have to go with Joe Salavea as our new head coach. JJ did not recruit well locally. Salavea is coaching with WSU in the PAC 12.. He’s recruits are all having great season. JJ got us 1 WAC Championship. JJ was too concerned about passing stats then trying to build a dominant program. Boise St handled UH for JJ entire tenure as head coach with the exception of 1 season.. We were playing teams like Portland St & Idaho when JJ was in town. JJ quit on UH and now he wants back? I don’t think so. Joe Salavea would be the best choice.. Great recruiting ties with the Polynesian players.. Just look at who he recruited from the islands of Hawaii, Samoa, the players he recruited are excelling in the PAC 12 but UH never offered any of those boys… JJ/Rolo/Miano are all in the past where it needs to be. It’s time to get someone else, we can’t go back to the old regime.. Just look at what happen with USC.. Go warriors!

  25. cappie the dog November 10, 2015 8:56 am

    I felt like jumping up and down when you wrote about Ivin Jasper.

    I have so many good memories of the Bob Wagner years.

    People forget.

    They had that badass year when they beat Oregon, Iowa, and Air Force on the road.

    That team was better than the one who went to the Sugar Bowl.

    Bob Wagner would never had been fired if Carton Oswalt made that 19-yd. field goal in Provo.

    Paul Johnson would have succeeded him.

    I look at Navy, and I think, “that could be Hawaii”.

  26. Bleachercoach November 11, 2015 7:11 pm

    Former player and I personally would go with Rich Miano…He would never leave Hawaii for any reason. June Jones brought excitement and a BCS Bowl (something that might not ever be a accomplished again). Those 2 are my choices!!
    Rolovich come back as O.C!!!!

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