Nick Rolovich was introduced on Monday as the next head coach of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.
The highlights of the transcript of Rolovich’s press conference . . .
- Rolovich thank yous . . .
“I’d like to thank, obviously, Coach (Brian) Polian from Nevada who was very encouraging through this whole process. It happened fast at an awkward time for some of the student-athletes and he handled it great. I learned a ton from him about recruiting and it really helped me become a better coach. Coach (Chris) Ault from Nevada when I was there, we were fairly different, but he also coached at his alma mater. The pride he showed day in and day out about the pride and the passion he showed everyday and every step he took around campus. I looked at him and said, ‘If I ever get the chance that’s how I’m gonna do it.’
“I’d like to thank Coach (Norm) Chow. When I left here Coach Chow told me I’d become a better coach and he was right. All the incredible facility upgrades, this room we are all in, this room looks a lot different now, as well as the locker room. Most importantly the APR he left us and the graduation rate is something we will continue and something we will be proud of. Coach (Greg) McMakin who brought me here as a recruit, trusted me as a player, and gave me my first shot as a Division I football coach, I owe a lot to him. Coach (June) Jones he has been an incredible influence on my life for 15 years with continuous guidance throughout this game, throughout life in general, throughout coaching. I have been very blessed to be around some very special people.
“I left here after my senior year and walked out of Aloha Stadium, up the ramp, I still remember it. It is the greatest experience of my life as a football player before husband and father. All I want is for our student-athletes to walk out with a similar or better experience. I want them to see the newspaper falling. I want them to feel it shaking. What is that sound? That is Aloha Stadium moving. Why is it moving? It is moving because people are so excited to be there. It is a special place when it is rocking and I believe that these kids that we have in our program right now make this community better by living aloha and playing Warrior. I think they can impact this community in such a positive way and we can get back to the winning tradition that we all want around here.
“I’d like to finish with this before we take questions. I have four kids as I mentioned. A lot of Disney movies. We were watching the Lion King a few years back and I liken us a lot to ‘Pride Rock.’ We were great once. We can be great again. We can all be Simba and it’s going to take all of us. We all are Simba. Do one thing better today to help this program, this community, and this university. This place can be great again. ‘Pride Rock’ has a chance and we are going to get going. I appreciate it and thank you.”
- On if there is a timeline for hiring staff…
“Not as much a timeline as it is better to get the right guys, than the quick guys. What I’ll call them is men of aloha, guys that will guide these young men off the field, be counselors, and be role models. But no, I’m not in any hurry to do so. I’d like to talk to a few coordinators before we hire them. Obviously there will be a crazy coaching carousel that we will have to be aware of, I want to make sure the people that commit to us are ready to work for this program. We have a lot of candidates and I’ll tell you what, I have about 700 friends I’ve gotten so many text messages. There is no lack of interest in working here and I appreciate that.”
- On how he is different since leaving UH in 2011 and how time went quickly…
“They did go by quick, but I never left, in my heart I never left. I learned a lot about recruiting, I learned a lot about a different type of offensive scheme, but the lessons I learned here through my parents and the University of Hawaii I was able to thrive on the mainland. Aloha works here I understand that, aloha works everywhere, they may not call it aloha but it helps you everywhere you go if you treat people right. Hawaii helped me on the mainland as much as the mainland helped me become a better coach. Obviously I became a father of two more children, but it’s the maturing process, it’s the growing process, there are lessons all the time. My care for the players and their well-being never strayed and that’s why I believe they like playing for me and they trust me. I don’t know how to lie and I care about them as people.”
- On why he was selected as coach and how he will make this a winning team…
“I hope I was selected because I fit the criteria that the Chancellor laid out for us. I do care about Hawaii, I care about the people of Hawaii, and I owe it to the people of Hawaii. Hawaii changed my life in a way where when I was at a moldable time and I could have gone either way. There are some people on this island and in this state that took me and said, ‘hey, this is the way it works here, if you don’t like it you can always go home, but here this is how it works.’ It just clicked for me and that’s how I want to live.”
“I don’t believe it’s scheme or what offense we are going to run or what defense we are going to run. I told the kids this morning it’s about the love between each one of them. If they will go into battle with each other, for each other, this team will be great. I don’t care if you run Air Force’s offense or San Diego State’s offense, it doesn’t matter. It is the bond between the players in the room, and in the locker room. I think that makes a great team and that is where I am going to start and that’s probably why coaches are not as urgent a decision making point for me right now. It is about getting this team in a place where they understand each other and are open-minded to each other. We find one goal and from there we will keep moving forward one step at a time. All I’ve asked them to do today is to do one thing to make this campus better. Whether it is picking up rubbish, whether it is saying hello to someone they’ve never spoken with, or maybe it’s a local boy talking to some guy from the mainland helping him through the process of the local culture. Just one thing and tomorrow do another thing, and we will keep building from there.”
- On how difficult it was leaving four years ago and if he believed he would be back so soon…
“I always believed I would be back and I always believed I belonged here. I did not know how quick it was, it was hard to leave, it was hard to leave because it is a hard profession for coaches because you try your best and sometimes it doesn’t work out. You just got to pick up and keep working and obviously I’m excited, it kind of sunk in seeing all these faces in the crowd. There is a “want” I can see it in the eyes of this room and the players I met with this morning. There is a want to be great again and it is my job to get that out of them and get that done.”
- On the past few years of program struggling to find identity and plans for this programs’ identity…
“I think it goes back to these kids and if they play for each other. I told them again it’s about you and playing with the guy next to you. Like I mentioned to the guys earlier, we were a 3-9 football team in 2000 and it wasn’t because the scheme was any different. After the 2000 season in 2001 we were not going to let it be the same, we were going to play for each other, we were going to play smarter, and we were going to be better people off of the field. That’s what is going to change between the lines. I hope the boys realize that I am going to love them and I am not scared to use the word love. I hope the boys realize that I’ll be there for them on and off the field, that they can trust me and that they feel that for each other. When they start to feel that for each other it can go wherever we want it to go, then it is their choice. But they have to make the decision to come together.”
- On challenges and growing process of now becoming a head coach…
“I don’t plan on calling the plays. I plan on becoming the best head football coach I can be. I know the time it takes to be an offensive coordinator and the film study. I don’t want to compromise this program and try to do both at this point. At some point down the road and we’re successful and that is an option, then maybe, but right now I would like to hire an offensive coordinator to run the offense. As a head coach, just make my decisions in the best interest of these student-athletes and this team, I think I’ll be fine. I just hope they know that.”