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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 16, 2008

McMackin accepts UH head coaching job

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By Stephen Tsai
HawaiiWarriorBeat.com Editor

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Greg McMackin
Jones' successor is expected to receive $1.1 million annually.

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Former Hawai'i defensive coordinator Greg McMackin had the endorsement of many, including the players.

RICHARD AMBO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Greg McMackin last night accepted an offer to become the University of Hawai'i head football coach, The Advertiser learned.

McMackin will be introduced as June Jones' successor during a news conference at 8 this morning in the Ed Wong Hospitality Room in the Stan Sheriff Center. Jones resigned last week to become Southern Methodist University's head coach.

McMackin is set to receive an annual financial package of about $1.1 million, according to people familiar with the situation. UH is expected to fully fund the salary, which would make him the highest-paid state employee.

McMackin earned $110,000 last season, his second stint as the Warriors' defensive coordinator. He was on Jones' first UH coaching staff in 1999.

Jones had received an annual base salary of $800,016, half of which was raised through private donations. He will earn $2 million annually from SMU. He rejected UH's three counter offers of $1.1 million annually, $1.3 million per year and a minimum of $1.5 million per season.

McMackin yesterday said he will wait until this morning to comment.

McMackin and George Lumpkin, the associate head coach during Jones' nine-year tenure at UH, were the only confirmed candidates to interview with the nine-member search committee last night. Manoa chancellor Virginia Hinshaw and acting athletic director Carl Clapp were co-chairs.

To ensure privacy, the interviews were held at an undisclosed hotel between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. McMackin and Lumpkin were told they had 40 minutes to report to the interview after receiving directions and instructions by telephone.

McMackin entered as the overwhelming favorite, receiving public endorsements from Jones; Na Koa, the football program's booster club; and assistant coaches Jeff Reinebold and Rich Miano. Even Lumpkin said he supported McMackin's candidacy.

More than two hours after the meeting, McMackin was offered the job.

McMackin has an impressive portfolio. He was the defensive coordinator when the University of Miami had the nation's top-ranked defense, and when the Seattle Seahawks set the National Football League record with 14 defensive touchdowns.

He also was the defensive coordinator at Texas Tech, and an assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers.

In his two seasons at UH, the Warriors were a combined 21-5.

Miano, who coached the defensive backs last season; receivers coach Ron Lee; linebackers coach Cal Lee; and Lumpkin will remain on staff.

According to people familiar with the situation:

  • Ron Lee will be promoted to offensive coordinator.

    Lee, who was McMackin's offensive coordinator at Oregon Tech, will run an offense that is similar to Jones' four-wide attack. Lee's offense has fewer routes, but more reads, and thus more plays. It also features more of the running game.

  • Cal Lee will be named as the defensive coordinator.

    Lee is the most successful high school football coach in Hawai'i history, winning 15 O'ahu Prep Bowls or state championships. In 21 seasons as Saint Louis' head coach, Lee amassed a record of 241-32-5.

  • Miano will receive an expanded role.

    Miano, who joined UH as a walk-on, went on to become an All-Western Athletic Conference safety and 11-year NFL veteran. Under Jones, Miano was in charge of the walk-on program and served as the pro-football and all-star-game liaison. He recruited Heisman Trophy finalist Colt Brennan; linebacker Adam Leonard; safety Leonard Peters; tackles Tala Esera and Keith AhSoon; defensive ends Melila Purcell III, David Veikune and Amani Purcell; running back Leon Wright-Jackson; defensive tackle Isa'ako Sopoaga, and guard Larry Sauafea.

  • Former Warriors Nick Rolovich and Brian Smith are expected to be invited to join the staff as assistant coaches.

    Rolovich, a record-setting quarterback for the Warriors in 2001, played several years in the Arena Football League. He has been the quarterback coach at City College of San Francisco the past two seasons. CCSF won the California championship in 2007. The California winner also is considered to be the national champion.

    Rolovich coached quarterbacks Zach Lee, who is competing for the starting job at Nebraska, and former Saint Louis School player Jeremiah Masoli, who was named to a junior college All-America team.

    Rolovich has a master's degree.

    Smith, a former center, was Rolovich's UH roommate in 2000 and 2001. He served as a graduate assistant at Oregon State under former UH line coach Mike Cavanaugh. Smith is the offensive line coach at Portland State.

    "He's going to be a great offensive line coach for Hawai'i," Cavanaugh said. "He knows the system. He knows all of the calls. He's a real sharp guy. I tell you what, he'll be a great addition."

    Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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