Todd Graham’s tenure as Hawaii football coach is over after two seasons. Graham resigned Friday night.
“After much prayer and reflection with my family, I have come to the conclusion that I will step down as head coach of the Rainbow Warriors with a very heavy heart,” he said in a statement released by the. ‘university.
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The decision to leave came a week after two state Senate committees heard harsh testimony from former players who accused Graham of abusive behavior and creating a toxic culture within the program. Graham denied the allegations and UH athletic director David Matlin, who also testified at the hearing, expressed support for the coach.
Hawaii was 11-11 under Graham. He qualified for bowl games both seasons but opted out of the 2021 Hawaii Bowl, citing COVID-19 and roster issues.
Why did Todd Graham resign as Hawaii coach?
Graham had been under pressure to quit or be fired since the end of the Rainbow Warriors season. Players accused him of being a verbally abusive “bully” who created a toxic culture within the program. Seventeen UH players, including quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, have entered the transfer portal since late November.
A group of former players made damning statements in testimony at a Jan. 7 hearing on the program under Graham conducted by the Hawaii Senate Ways and Means and Higher Education Committees.
“I try to see the good in everyone and give people chances, but he’s by far the worst guy I’ve ever met in my life,” former linebacker Henry Lee said of Graham, according to KITV.com. Lee was let go from the team after initial criticism from Graham, mwwire.com reported.
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Graham testified that there was no verbal abuse.
“I tried to clean some things off the tongue. We’re not perfect and don’t pretend to be. All I can tell you is my experience in that dressing room and with our team, and those things didn’t happen. We were demanding and worked with our kids and trained them hard, but we also loved them a lot,” he said, according to KITV.
Graham expressed a similar sentiment when announcing his resignation.
“Our staff put their heart and soul into our players and really made a difference in their lives. I couldn’t have asked for more of their commitment, work ethic and love for our players and our football program. But it’s clear to me that I have to step away and do what’s best for me, my family and my health. I honour, appreciate and love all my players and coaches and I wish you the best,” he said.
What is the status of Todd Graham’s contract?
Graham resigned with three years remaining on a five-year, $3.96 million contract. UH stressed in its statement that it does not owe Graham any additional money because he quit. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that Hawaii should have paid Graham $1.275 million to buy out his contract, although Matlin said last week that he would stay with Graham even if the money for the buyout had been survey.
Graham was expected to earn $800,000 a year from 2022 to 2024. His contract also included incentives.
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Who will replace Todd Graham as Hawaii coach?
Linebackers coach Jacob Yoro was named interim head coach. Yoro has coached the Rainbow Warriors since 2017. UH said in its statement that the search for a full-time coach would begin immediately.
There was a push on Twitter in the early moments after Graham resigned for Hawaii to bring back former head coach June Jones, who led the program to a 75-41 record from 1999 to 2007 and a place in the Sugar Bowl during the 2007 season.