It was in December 1999, shortly after making a verbal commitment to play for UH, that Nick Rolovich learned the Warriors had secured a pledge from quarterback Jared Flint. There was a window for Rolovich to change his mind. Instead, he welcomed the challenge to compete for the starter’s job.
Rolovich started the first two games of the 2000 season, but admittedly struggled. After ceding the job to true freshman Tim Chang, Rolovich refused to pout. He kept working and, the next year, after Chang was injured, Rolovich finished the season with the best eight-game stretch of any UH quarterback.
That relentlessness and defiance will serve well as Rolovich prepares to become UMass’ offensive coordinator.
To be sure, it was difficult to see Rolovich depart after four years as a UH coach, the final two as offensive coordinator. He was Norm Chow’s final “cut.”
In the long run, starting anew will be helpful to Rolovich’s career. Rolovich works hard and is creative. At UH, he was well-liked — and respected — by players and coaches. But Rolovich was handed the keys to the UH offense in a clunky exchange when Ron Lee was relieved of primary play-calling duties early in the 2009 season. After Rolovich was promoted to offensive coordinator, UH hired Mouse Davis, the architect of this version of the run-and-shoot offense.
At UMass, which begins competition in the MAC, Rolovich gets to build an offense without being under the shadow of mentors or advisers. A fresh start will be a good thing for Rolovich. It was for Chow, who had left BYU after years as offensive coordinator.
Best wishes to Rolo and his family. And dress warmly.
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The aloha-shirt stamps are a nice touch. But imagine if it could have been worked out to have an H-logo stamp?