Brennan fires away at UH facilities
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stephen Tsai
University of Hawai'i quarterback Colt Brennan returned for his senior football season largely to help spur improvements in the athletic department.
But in the four months since making the decision, there have been few to no changes implemented to improve the environment for the student-athletes and support staff.
Most notably, there still is no soap in the football locker room's showers — a situation that has become a metaphor for the state of the athletic department. The absence of soap was first reported last September.
"We spent all spring with no soap in our showers," Brennan said. "Half of the soap dispensers are broken. How hard is it for us to have soap in our lockers? Isn't that something that should be a health issue?"
A janitor, on his own time, has tried to recycle the empty shampoo bottles to use as soap dispensers. But the maintenance crew remains understaffed, and there are only two janitors to clean up after more than 100 players.
Brennan also had empathy for the staff at the Nagatani Academic Center.
"These people work so hard," Brennan said. "They work way more than they're getting paid for. Their resources, like ours, are cut off."
Brennan was hesitant to make waves, but felt compelled to voice the widely held concerns to The Advertiser as a means to sparking change.
With the team's recent success — 11-3 last season — he wondered if there are any discussions to improve the facilities.
"There's a good chance we could be a preseason top-25, but we're still envious of other WAC teams' facilities," Brennan said.
The locker rooms are old and musty.
The players continue to work out on Cooke Field's infield, which has been condemned for more than a year.
The Verizon Room, filled with plush chairs and computers, is locked and unavailable to the football players.
There is a problem with theft because the locker room doors are left open daily.
When Brennan and quarterback coach Dan Morrison attended the Sammy Baugh Award banquet in Columbus, Ohio, they toured the neighboring Ohio State football facilities. There was a parking lot reserved only for football players. Players and coaches were given key cards to access the facilities. There also was state-of-the-art equipment.
Brennan also attended the University of Colorado for a year, where he said its facilities and resources were "galaxies away" in comparison to UH's.
For instance, football players pay $3 to $6 for parking each day to participate in workouts, practices and study sessions at UH. Brennan said football players are targeted by parking-enforcement guards for parking in the dirt areas near the football practice field and locker room — areas, Brennan insisted, no regular student or faculty member uses.
He estimated about 20 percent of the team has amassed between $200 and $1,000 in parking fines. Brennan's car has been towed twice and he has accumulated an estimated $800 in parking fines and towing fees during his two years at UH.
"I would love for somebody to show how much we've made for the school last year and then show how much kids owe for parking going to practice every morning," Brennan said.
As Brennan continues to sign pricey "H" logo helmets and jerseys, he wonders where the money is going. At last week's 'Ohana Festival, Brennan and several teammates signed autographs for nearly two hours.
"We were signing helmets, T-shirts, all of the memorabilia with that UH logo," Brennan said, "and the athletic department doesn't get hardly any of that money. This program has been able to have success with a lack of resources ever since coach (June) Jones got here (in 1999). Imagine if we did have the resources. Imagine where this school would be 10 years from now."
Brennan acknowledged he might receive some backlash for his views, but "I want to see change. I want to see this school way better off when I leave. That's a big reason why I came back. When the seniors leave, we want to know our younger teammates will be taken care of. And I'm not just talking about football. I want to see the entire sports program become better."
Brennan said he knows some feel his comments will hurt recruiting.
"When we're winning, we get compared to big programs like Ohio State and USC," Brennan said. "I wonder how analysts would look at our achievements if they realize what we have to overcome through facilities, resources and traveling.
"We're not asking for multi-million-dollar facilities," Brennan added. "We want some upgrades. I know people will say this is going to scare away recruits. What would recruits rather hear: That we're making changes for the better or we're going to keep having some of the worst facilities in the WAC? Hawai'i has been able to make the best with limited resources. I feel we're the Kahuku (High) of college football. People don't come to Hawai'i for our facilities. They come for the experience and, in our case, the coaching staff. Imagine the possibilities if our facilities and resources were dramatically improved."
PETERS AT SPEED CLINIC
Former UH safety Leonard Peters will be the featured instructor at tomorrow's Hawai'i Speed and Quickness clinic at the UH athletic complex.
"I learned a lot of from coach Mel (deLaura) and coach (Rich) Miano," Peters said of the clinic's co-directors. "I wanted to share what I learned with the kids."
Peters signed a three-year, free-agent contract with the New York Jets. He leaves for mini camp next week.
The clinic will be held tomorrow and Sunday. It is open to all ages.
The sessions are from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
For a $10 fee, students receive instruction in plyometrics, resistance training and first-step quickness. Each student also receives restaurant coupons.
For details, call 739-5444 or log on to: www.hawaiispeedandquickness.com.
Reach Stephen Tsai at firstname.lastname@example.org.