Down goes Frazier; hire Coach McMackin

Bobby Curran
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Friday - January 11, 2008
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June Jones should be replaced from within the current staff
June Jones should be replaced from within the current staff

What a difference a week makes. Last week, Hawaii was celebrating a trip to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Now UH officials are searching for a football coach and an athletic director.

At a Monday press conference, UH president David McClain and Manoa chancellor Virginia Hinshaw addressed the media about the negotiations preceding June Jones’ departure for Southern Methodist University. McClain took ultimate responsibility for the situation involving the late offer to Jones. Hinshaw laid out her top priorities for UH-Manoa.

Both were right on target. Without saying so directly, their comments left little doubt that Herman Frazier was out; that announcement would wait another day.

While thanking Coach Jones for his outsize contribution to UH,both administrators made it clear it was time to move on, and that they would be intimately involved with the future of UH athletics.

The first decision was to appoint Carl Clapp as interim AD and to have him work closely with Associate AD John McNamara. Some people will be shocked at how superior these men are at their jobs. They’ve been severely hamstrung by their boss. Neither one is prone to the lack of communication or procrastination that were hallmarks of Frazier. They are doers rather than talkers. That was a terrific first step.

Next, McClain proposed getting the 10-day holding period reduced to five, allowable in emergency situations. Great second step. If not having a football coach 28 days before signing day doesn’t qualify as an emergency, I don’t know what does.

Here are the problems with hiring a new coach. If he’s an outsider, there’s the “understanding Hawaii” problem. Then there’s the break in continuity difficulty. A new system throws off the present players and makes potential recruits skittish.

Then there’s the staff chemistry issue.Finding a coach who can integrate a staff into an efficient team is always tough, more so in Hawaii.

Finally there’s the national credibility concern - finding someone who has the credentials to be taken seriously when he steps into a recruit’s home.

Guess what? He’s already here. There’s been an assumption that defensive coordinator Greg McMackin would be off with June Jones, but friends say he’d be interested in taking over the program.

McMackin is the answer.

Here’s why:

1) He knows and loves Hawaii, as does his wife, Heather.

2) His resume is impressive. He was a college head coach at Oregon Tech. He’s been the defensive coordinator for a national championship Miami team. He has worked as the defensive coordinator at Utah, Navy and Texas Tech. He held the same positions with the Seattle Seahawks,and was an assistant with the 49ers. It is no coincidence that he was running the defense for both Hawaii teams that won WAC championships under June Jones.

3) He is right on top of Hawaii’s recruiting situation.

4) He could keep much of the offense intact with Ron Lee in charge, preserving continuity.

5) Coaches and players love him. As far as I can tell, there are two categories of people. Those who really like McMackin,and those who haven’t met him yet.

If David McClain and Virginia Hinshaw can persuade Coach Mac to take this job, they’ll give Hawaii its biggest win of 2008.


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