Todd Graham resigns as head coach of Hawaii football team

1/15/2022 8:32:00 AM

BREAKING NEWS

Todd Graham, Dae Dae Hunter

BREAKING NEWS

' Graham has killed our love and passion for football,' a Hawaii player told SFGATE .

Todd Graham resigned as the head coach of the University of Hawaii football team on Friday evening, according toGraham issued a statementOur staff poured our hearts and souls into our players and truly made a difference in their lives. I could not have asked more of their commitment, work ethic and love for our players and football program. But it is clear to me that I must step away and do what is best for me and my family and my health. I honor, value and love all of my players and coaches and I wish you the very best. The University has not asked me to step down. I am leaving solely for my family and my health. We have laid a strong foundation for future success, and I will always be cheering you on!

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USATODAY I just got another payout of R6Ok. can't just believe this, because I have lost so much in Bitcoin investment with several people, took a lot of loan until I was introduced to this great account manager who helped me recovered all my lost. thank you so much 🥰 MichaelWeldon_ Well, shit, didn’t half the players transfer out? Hard to field a competitive team without the “team” part. Rainbow Warriors? Uh, no. More like the Rainbows. Their next HC must be kinder and gentler or else he'll hurt the players' feewings. Aloha.

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In this photo illustration, University of Hawaii head coach Todd Graham motions toward the field during the first half of an NCAA college football game against UNLV, Saturday, Nov.infamous Pipeline, a deadly wave that’s claimed seven lives since it was first surfed in the 1960s.By..

13, 2021, in Las Vegas. David Becker/AP UPDATE Jan. The two men had allegedly paddled out to the deadly surf despite the lifeguard’s repeated orders not to. 14, 9:18 p.m. “You guys are ready for Pipeline? Get out of here. Todd Graham resigned as the head coach of the University of Hawaii football team on Friday evening, according to .

His resignation comes after several former players accused Graham of fostering a toxic culture throughout the program. “Lifeguard tells you ‘f—king not to go out,’ you don’t f—king question it,” he says. Graham issued a statement on his resignation: I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as the Head Football Coach at the University of Hawai'i for the past two seasons. After much prayer and reflection with my family, I have come to the conclusion that I will step away as head coach of the Rainbow Warriors, with a very heavy heart.” The Banzai Pipeline, located just off the shore of Oahu, is arguably home to some of the world’s most iconic waves. I want to give my thanks and appreciation to the players, staff and coaches who persevered through all the challenges of 2020 and 2021. It wasn't easy, but they all fought the good fight and we did things the right way.” The area is unique because the waves break directly over a reef, which is extremely jagged and sharp.

Our staff poured our hearts and souls into our players and truly made a difference in their lives. I could not have asked more of their commitment, work ethic and love for our players and football program. Most Popular. But it is clear to me that I must step away and do what is best for me and my family and my health. I honor, value and love all of my players and coaches and I wish you the very best. The University has not asked me to step down.

I am leaving solely for my family and my health. We have laid a strong foundation for future success, and I will always be cheering you on! May God Bless You, Coach Todd Graham ----- From a distance, the University of Hawaii at Manoa football team is, if nothing else, maintaining a perfectly acceptable status quo. While the mid-tier Mountain West program failed to take a step forward during Todd Graham’s second year as head coach, the Rainbow Warriors did finish the regular season on Nov. 27 with a dominant 38-14 victory in Wyoming, which brought their record to 6-7. That was decent enough for Hawaii to earn a spot in the Hawaii Bowl after the NCAA announced the addition of a 42nd bowl game, per a report by The Action Network’s Brett McMurphy.

But a not-insignificant contingent of players on the team is anything but enthused at the prospect of playing another game for Graham, who they say has fostered an unsustainable, troublesome environment during his brief tenure that overshadows any tenuous on-the-field achievements. As one current player told SFGATE, “A lot of players want him fired, especially the starters.” Another told SFGATE: “Me and a lot of others can truthfully say Graham has killed our love and passion for football.” (The players SFGATE spoke to for this story were granted anonymity per Hearst’s ethics policy . Graham did not respond to phone and email inquiries from SFGATE.

) The boiling point among players appears to have been a series of transfers last week. On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Hawaii’s leading rusher Dae Dae Hunter announced he was entering the transfer portal. In a statement, Hunter thanked his teammates and the people of Hawaii and said, “It’s best for my future and my mental health that I enter the transfer portal and see where my journey continues.” The next day, starting quarterback and local Saint Louis School product Chevan Cordeiro announced that he would be entering the NCAA transfer portal, too.

Shortly after Cordeiro’s announcement, Hawaii alum Darryl McBride Jr., who played for the Rainbow Warriors from 2010 to 2012, started a public Twitter Spaces titled “University of Hawaii Football.” Dozens of current and former players joined in short order, prompting a highly unusual public exchange. University of Hawaii head coach Todd Graham motions toward the field during the first half of an NCAA college football game against UNLV, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in Las Vegas.

David Becker/AP For more than three hours, McBride moderated a discussion primarily driven by players on the 2021 Hawaii football team, some of whom described an unhealthy team culture under Graham. Players complained of rampant favoritism, incompetent coaching and a locker room environment that failed to build camaraderie between teammates. As one player shared on the forum, “I’ve played on a 1-11 team and have never felt like this.” In the world of college football, where players are rarely comfortable speaking out about mistreatment, it was a stunning indictment of team morale and suggested a wave of even more transfers could be imminent. According to 247Sports , Hawaii already had nine players enter the transfer portal this season; most other teams in the Mountain West have had three players or fewer enter the portal, and no other program in the conference has had more than six (New Mexico).

The Twitter Spaces discussion was just the tip of the iceberg. SFGATE reached out to dozens in the program and spoke to eight players, most current, all of whom have played for Graham at Hawaii, about his tenure. A common theme emerged from these conversations: overwhelming frustration. Nearly all the players’ complaints centered on Graham. In his introductory press conference last year, Graham said he prioritized a “family-centric” environment while continuing the team’s recent success.

“We just won 10 football games,” he said. “So why would you come and completely change what you’re doing?” But players who spoke with SFGATE insisted that Graham has instead emphasized a culture shift, one that hasn’t been appreciated. Graham is a known disciplinarian, including at his previous head coaching stints with Rice, Tulsa, Pittsburgh and Arizona State. Several Hawaii players said they believe Graham’s approach has consistently crossed the line in terms of decency and respect. One player told SFGATE, “I would go as far to say it’s verbal abuse the way he talks to guys.

… It’s personal. It’s not like, ‘Oh, you need to be faster.’ He’s calling guys useless, jackass and a sack of s—t.” Another player reiterated to SFGATE that Graham insults his players constantly, reportedly calling players “dogs—t,” among other demeaning terms. Multiple players also said Graham constantly threatens to take away playing time from anyone who questions him.

One player recalled Graham telling a teammate to “stop talking back or I’m going to take away your senior year.” Graham’s behavior has reportedly had a negative impact on the rest of his coaching staff as well. Multiple players mentioned that they believed staff promotions were given to coaches who challenged Graham the least. One player recalled an instance in practice when an assistant coach apologized to his position group for not wanting to ask Graham a clarifying question, saying something to the effect of, “Sorry, I’m just trying not to get yelled at.” Several additional players declined formal interview requests from SFGATE but shared statements attempting to clarify the status of the program.

Many of those statements defended specific assistant and positional coaches for their caring, respectful nature. Not one player defended Graham. Players who spoke to SFGATE said Graham does not care about their well-being unless they are regular contributors. Some of his slights are reportedly subtle: only having scholarship and first-team players over to his house, several players allege, as well as only acknowledging first-team players in the locker room. Other alleged slights are more overt.

One player, who quit football after a season under Graham, said he remembered an instance with less than a month to go in the season where he happened to be walking beside Graham back to the locker room. According to the player, “[Graham] tried to start up a conversation with me and barely even remembered my name. … I was like, why am I waking up at 5:00 a.m.?” Top Picks In Shopping .