UH football: Making of a “Massacre”


It started as another thought scribbled in coach Nick Rolovich’s book of ideas.

April Fool’s Day prank? How about a wet-and-wild one?

Rolovich concocted an elaborate water-balloon fight between the coaching staff and players. The key was the element of surprise.

“It took a lot of planning,” said Rolovich, who summoned the coaches, graduate assistants, interns, video staff and facility managers to a 10 a.m. meeting on April 1. Defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa was absent β€” he was being interviewed for the “Leahey and Leahey” television show β€” thus making him an involuntary diversion in the scheme.

At 4 p.m., Lempa was summoned to human resource specialist Paula Nishimoto’s office to fill out what Rolovich termed “fake papers.”

At the start of the 4:30 p.m. team meeting in the athletic complex auditorium, Rolovich handed a note to right tackle RJ Hollis to be read aloud to the rest of the players. It was a notification of the water-balloon battle on the grass practice field.

“At 4:35,” Rolovich recalled, “the coaches declared war on the players.”

As the players raced toward the gate of the field, they saw trash containers filled with water, water balloons and Super Soakers.

The event was captured on video. The five-member football video crew had cameras set up on platforms, including the so-called crow’s nest, and on the field. They also used Go Pros to shoot video from golf carts. Equipment worker Patricia Welton and Briana Stutzmann (assistant coach Craig Stutzmann’s wife) shot video with their cell phones.

A memorable shot was Lempa, who was notified shortly before the event, looking in awe as he was being driven toward the battleground.

“This was a team effort,” video coordinator Dory Kong said of her staff. Kong edited the video, Olivia Vea coordinated the logistics, and each of the video crew was involved in the process.

Rolovich paid for the 900 balloons, but it was the graduate assistants who had to fill them with water.

“It’s in their job description,” Rolovich said.

Here’s the video: April Fool’s Day Massacre


  1. Da Punchbowl Kid April 3, 2016 9:24 am

    First! Good coaches in any sport find a way to keep the fun in the game.

    Go Warriors!!!

  2. leron April 3, 2016 9:32 am

    Kennedy’s initial burst of speed toward the water balloons was mind boggling. Great morale builder. Things were som much more dour under the previous regime.

  3. Ron April 3, 2016 9:49 am

    How can you not love Rolo and what he is doing for Hawaii football!

  4. Da Punchbowl Kid April 3, 2016 9:49 am

    The video was priceless! My sides ache from laughing! Mahalo to everybody!
    The last time I saw the Warriors that happy, we played in the Sugar Bowl.

    Watched the “Pally and Leahey Show” (Pal Eldridge was in for Kanoa) last night and the showed a clip. Lempa is fired up about coaching.


  5. Da Punchbowl Kid April 3, 2016 9:50 am


    Amen, Ron! πŸ˜‰

  6. A-joe April 3, 2016 9:54 am

    Back in our dorm room days it was customary to go to the roof top at night and catapult water balloons at each other’s tower using a giant sling shot made from surgical rubber and a funnel. Its painted over now but for years you could these water stain splotches littered all over each tower from these epic mid- night wars and stupid antics. Those were the days. Good fun. Rolo- give us a heads up next year. We’ll make you a legion of sling shots to launch from the hill tops and make that field Reign!!

  7. NorthShoreFan April 3, 2016 9:57 am

    Guud Morning Tsaikos…Bootiful Day!

    The video was really cool!…hehehe
    Good blow off some steam after banging…great idea


  8. WarriorNY April 3, 2016 10:01 am

    Bringing the fun back in… I love that these guys are enjoying themselves… Represent Hawaii…

    Live Aloha, Play Warrior but also enjoy the best times in your life…


  9. Stephen Tsai April 3, 2016 10:17 am

    I was impressed they picked up every balloon in time for yesterday’s practice. It’s interesting to walk around with Rolo while he picks up trash on campus.

  10. A-House April 3, 2016 10:29 am


    picking up trash on campus!!!

    what a great example – if you see it, pick it up — don’t think oh the next person can pick it up.

    do it often and others will follow and, hopefully, those who dump the trash will see Rolo and say, ” I can put the trash in a can” — why should Coach Rolo pick up trash.!!

  11. A-House April 3, 2016 10:31 am

    one down – what will Coach think of next year? as one senior said, I will miss this next year!

    making memories to last a life time and create every lasting “bonds” between players, coaches, players and coaches.

  12. A-House April 3, 2016 10:36 am

    as the momentum builds – will some enterprising person start to print “t-shirts” with some of Coach Rolo’s words?

    like, “live aloha” “play warrior” or “Pride Rock” – I believe the Chow disaster is keeping the t-shirt makers weary.

    A-Joe: want to? got some “start up” cash — not much, but enough to start

  13. Derek April 3, 2016 10:54 am

    You think Chow would come up with this to have some esprit de Corp and fun. No way. He’s too old for this!!!! Rolo is energetic, vibrant, full of pep, and he’s undefeated. Hopefully, he’ll make things happen, instead of wondering what happened. Good job Rolo! I like it.

  14. H-Man April 3, 2016 11:12 am

    Great video. Great team building. Go Rolo !!! Go Warriors !!!

  15. kev-1 April 3, 2016 11:56 am

    #3 Ron … How can you not is right!

    What Rolo is building with the team right now is not only about football. He is helping rebuild the culture. We will see the benefits of this when the team experiences is first real period of adversity.

  16. SailorBlue April 3, 2016 12:31 pm

    Great just job Rolo and crew! Glad to see the guys are back to having fun while working hard.

    Speaking of fun, I just made reservations for Cabana A for the home opener vs Tennessee Chattanooga. So mark your calendars and get ready for lots of food and fun.

  17. A-House April 3, 2016 12:38 pm

    Sailor Blue:

    How U? much mahalo for reserving the cabana for the Tsaikos!!!

  18. A-House April 3, 2016 12:41 pm

    A-House family agrees with all posters who claim that team/spirit/culture building is to important after the past 4 years.

    don’t know how long it will last, but it’s a DAMM good start — wonder where Rolo got all these ideas from?

    keep all the good and bad stuff, but only use the bad stuff as a reminder of what not to do now you are the chosen leader!

  19. Bryson April 3, 2016 2:23 pm

    When the coaching search was beginning the one thing I asked for is a coach who relates to his players the X’s and O’s are what they are…but you one thing you can’t teach is the ability to lead…at practice yesterday one huge difference I noticed is the way these players are being coached not just by Rolo but the entire staff sure they got jumped on when they messed up on a play but there was an immediate interaction between the coach and player where the coach taught the player exactly what he wanted to see,in past years there was just a ton of swearing and yelling but very little coaching and building going on…Glad to see this change

  20. Warrior Dave April 3, 2016 3:41 pm

    #12 A House,

    I think Buti Groove has Pride Rock shirts for awhile now. Are you and the Ohana going to Sydney? I hope so.

  21. H-Man April 3, 2016 3:46 pm

    I don’t know where Rolo got his ideas from, but he has a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from UH (2004) and a Master’s in human performance and sport from New Mexico Highlands (2007). Smart dude with practical sense and a ton of inner spirit in caring for people. This is also the dude that picks up rubbish around campus. Stays humble. Unreal.

  22. Arcumfortis April 3, 2016 4:38 pm

    I like what Rolo is doing. But then I liked what coach Mac was doing at the start and also what coach Chow was saying at the start…..chase championships (I didn’t know he meant he was going to chase them away).

    So we will see how this turns out. But I have a feeling of optimism. Hawaii is unique. Some can come from elsewhere and thrive but for most it takes commitment. Rolo seems to understand something. Something about respect for “place,” something about humility and something about allowing your self to opening express your love and affection for our “place.” June Jones had this quality also (humility not so much……but hey it was a fun ride).

    I don’t know how we will all be feeling after we run the gauntlet at the start of the 2017 season. But right now I appreciate what is happening.

  23. Arcumfortis April 3, 2016 4:40 pm

    22….2016 season

  24. Ipu Man April 3, 2016 4:48 pm

    Now if the presidential candidates would do this…HILLARious πŸ™‚

  25. A-House April 3, 2016 4:49 pm

    Warrior Dave:

    We will see you in Sydney!!! or, earlier at the airport — depending which tour group you are in – we #2

  26. Maddog50 April 3, 2016 5:16 pm

    H Man thanks for the info.Was doing yard work just got in. Now any word on Clement. What’s the deal?

  27. SteveM April 3, 2016 6:53 pm

    Attending the UH opener on Sydney?

    If so, please email me or post here on the blog for inclusion in the road game listing and get-together planner. In this case, please include your Panda or Non-Stop tour group number… hey, you might be in the same group.


    Also accepting listing for the other away games this year.

  28. Stephen Tsai April 4, 2016 8:11 am

    New post: http://hawaiiwarriorworld.com/?p=36658

Comments are closed.