Warriors assistant Ron Lee steps down
By Stephen Tsai
Ron Lee, one of the most innovative offensive coaches in Isle football history, yesterday announced his resignation as a University of Hawai'i assistant coach.
"It's time to get out, relax," said Lee, whose resignation goes into effect June 15.
Lee said his decision was not based on his reassignment from offensive coordinator to assistant offensive coordinator earlier this year, nor because he ceded the play-calling duties to Nick Rolovich after the first game of the 2009 season.
"Nothing to do with that," Lee said, adding the adjustment was what "I went through last year, kind of."
He added: "It's time for me to move on."
Lee was a UH assistant coach in charge of receivers for nine seasons under June Jones, and the offensive coordinator the past two seasons under Greg McMackin.
Lee said he will explore some "options," but declined to discuss specific opportunities .
"I'm going to coach again," Lee said. "I'm definitely going to coach."
McMackin said the school soon will post the job vacancy. According to state hiring rules, a successor may be named 10 working days after the posting.
Mouse Davis, the architect of the modern run-and-shoot offense, said he will apply.
"Absolutely, no question," said Davis, who was a UH assistant coach for three seasons beginning in 2004.
Davis' teams at Portland State set several passing records in the 1970s. Davis and his top pupil, Jones, coached together in the pros.
When Davis and Jones were in the U.S. Football League, they were contacted by Lee, who wanted to learn about the intricacies of the run-and-shoot offense — a four-wide passing attack that runs plays based on the particular defensive coverage.
Lee successfully implemented the run-and-shoot to win titles at Kaiser High and Saint Louis School.
After accepting the UH head coaching job in December 1998, Jones contacted Lee.
"We've had a connection for a long time," Jones said. "Ron has always been a success wherever he's been. I wanted him on my staff. Ron did a great job with the receivers."
Of the receivers Lee has coached, 17 broke school records. Ashley Lelie was a first-round draft pick in 2002, and Davone Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullins are on the Miami Dolphins' roster.
When McMackin was hired as Jones' successor in 2008, he promoted Lee to offensive coordinator.
But early last season, McMackin turned over the play-calling to Rolovich, who was the quarterbacks coach at the time. Rolovich is now the offensive coordinator .
"We've known each other for a long time," McMackin said of Lee. "He's a very good friend. He's a legend in Hawai'i, and he's done a great job here. We wish him well."
Lee actually had planned to announce his retirement in February. The assistant coaches are on one-year contracts that expire each March.
But McMackin asked Lee to remain on staff through at least spring training, which ended April 30.
Lee, who is credited with 22 years of employment in the state system, decided to change his exit from "retirement" to "resignation."
"It's not an easy decision," Lee said. "I'll miss the players, the relationships. That's definitely something I'll miss."
He added: "I've coached every year since 1968. This is the first year I wouldn't coach."
In the meantime, Lee will continue to serve as manager for the Outrigger Hotels' Main Showroom. He also owns several restaurants.