Archive for February, 2009

UH gets a commitment from a punter from Australia!

February 28, 2009

HSB Note: “Alex Dunnachie, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound punter from Australia, has orally committed to join the Warriors next season, and figures to help fill the void left by the departure of senior Tim Grasso. Dunnachie’s background is in Australian Rules Football, and he is still learning the American style of kicking. Dunnachie was on his way to California to attend the Ray Guy/ Academy’s camp in Walnut Creek yesterday.”

About Dunnachie, Ray Guy/ Academy camp director Rick Sang said:
“He looks like a major college tight end. He’s very talented. He’s got natural power, he’s got a really strong leg. … He’s a raw talent, and he’s getting better.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Sang said Dunnachie worked under Nathan Chapman, who runs a kicking program in Australia, and his distance figures to improve as he refines his technique. Hawaii had success with an Australian punter in the past. Mat McBriar finished his UH career second in school history with an average of 42.22 yards per kick before going on to an NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys. Sang said Dunnachie’s leg strength compares favorably with McBriar and Shane Lechler of the Oakland Raiders.”

JD and Mac will be in Japan for a week to market UH

February 28, 2009

About going to Japan, Mac said:
“Jim and I have a dream of going east. When I was with the 49ers we had a Japanese player (Masafumi Kawaguchi) in camp. They (the Japanese media) were crazy about it. And look what’s happening in Seattle and Boston with baseball.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “McMackin and Donovan have speaking engagements on coaching and sports administration scheduled over four days in a series arranged by the Pacific Rim Sports Initiative, headed by former UH football player Ross Yamasaki.”

About expanding their market beyond Hawaii, JD said:
“If we’re going to be more than we are, we have to look beyond Hawaii.” (HSB)

JD Noted in the HSB: “no state funds were being used for the trip. McMackin said the trip was sponsored by JAL, the Oahu Visitors Bureau, Marriott and Panda Travel.”

Central Arkansas is happy to open their season at Aloha Stadium

February 27, 2009

About how they will make money by playing at Aloha Stadium, University of Central Arkansas Athletic Director Brad Teague said:
“Not only is Hawaii paying all expenses of travel, ground transportation, lodging, and meals, but they will send us home with $125,000 guarantee. Additionally, the NCAA allows any program to play an extra game who plays Hawaii in the same year as incentive to get schools to travel to the islands. We are using this opportunity to play an additional home game so we are able to garner further revenues through ticket sales. This extra revenue will help our institution and program greatly.” (

Note: “The Bears are not eligible for postseason play until 2010 while transitioning from NCAA Division II to Division I.”

UH will have their Maui Scrimmage on April 11, Warrior Bowl on April 25

February 26, 2009

UH = University of Hawaii Press Release

UH Note: “On Saturday, April 11, the Warriors will fly to Maui to hold an intrasquad scrimmage at the War Memorial Stadium beginning at 11:00 a.m. (tentative), followed by an autograph session on the field. No state funds will be used to pay for the trip and donations from McDonald’s and Oceanic Time Warner Cable, as well as support from Hawaiian Airlines and Panda Travel, and in-kind support from the County of Maui will cover the expenses.

The “Warrior Bowl” intrasquad scrimmage will be held at Aloha Stadium on Saturday, April 25, at 3:00 p.m. Prior to the game, McMackin and several UH football players will be available for autographs and photos from 1:00-2:30 p.m. on the South Endzone concourse. Fans are encouraged to bring their cameras and items to sign. Parking is $1 and fans can enter through Gate 4 beginning at 1:00 p.m. Admission is free. Beginning at 3:00 p.m., the Warriors will play the four-quarter “Warrior Bowl.” Fans are invited to sit in the stands on the Makai side of the stadium.”

Happy that their sponsors will allow them to have a scrimmage and autograph session on Maui, JD said:
“We’re Hawai‘i`s Team, so we are thrilled that we’ve been able to partner with McDonald’s, Oceanic, Hawaiian Airlines, Panda Travel, and the County of Maui in making this outreach initiative a reality. Without their support, we would never have been able to take our football team to Maui and have the opportunity to interact with UH fans on a neighbor island.” (UH)

Happy that the Warriors are going to Maui, Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares said:
“There is a very loyal UH football fan base on Maui — there were a lot of home-based ‘tailgate’ parties going on in my neighborhood on game day! This will be an exciting opportunity for our youth, as well as our entire community, to experience Warrior football action here on Maui and I’m gratified that the County is able to help make this happen.” (UH)

Happy to be a sponsor of UH’s Maui trip, Oceanic Time Warner Cable VP Norman Santos said:
“We’re pleased to provide funding for the UH football team’s trip to Maui for this scrimmage. The citizens of Maui will be able to meet Coach McMackin and the players in person and that will certainly get them excited about the 2009 season. Aside from O‘ahu, Maui has the most pay-per-view subscribers, so UH definitely has a big following there and I’m sure the fans will really appreciate the opportunity to spend some time with the Warriors.” (UH)

Happy to be a sponsor of UH’s Maui trip, McDonald’s of Hawaii Region President Veronica Kaneko said:
”McDonald’s of Hawaii is a proud Corporate Partner of UH Athletics and we are happy to help support the team’s neighbor-island visit to Maui. In addition to assisting with the travel costs, we will also donate 300 Big Macs and bottles of water for the players and staff.” (UH)

Happy that their neighbor island fans will be able to see the Warriors in person, Mac said:
“As I repeatedly tell our players, we represent the state of Hawai‘i. We’re very excited about scrimmaging on a neighbor island and allowing our fans on Maui to see us in person. We have many great fans there and this is our chance to thank them personally for their support.” (UH)

Ka Leo article on the ASUH opposition to an athletics fee at UH

February 26, 2009

KL = Ka Leo O Hawaii

About how they will oppose a athletics fee until they see a formal proposal and take a student poll, ASUH President Jaime Sohn said:
“On February 10, we announced our stance in opposition to the proposal until a formal proposal and student poll is presented. We don’t want to support the implementation of a fee unless the proper steps are taken, so that we can get the students’ input.” (KL)

KL Note: “A press release sent out by ASUH this week stated that Donovan “requested that ASUH not poll students and instead make an informed decision on their behalf.””

About how their might have been some miscommunication with ASUH about taking a student poll, JD said:
“I specifically told the subcommittee that it could be more powerful if the students were polled, but we just don’t have that much time to get a referendum. … We can’t wait 12 to 18 months to get the results of a poll back.” (KL)

KL Note: “In late January, the athletics department and student Senate met in an open meeting to discuss the proposed athletics fee for each full-time undergraduate student. With the athletics fee, Donovan stated that a percentage of seats to sporting events would be made available to students for free.”

About how he feels that the athletic department has tried hard to communicate with ASUH regarding the proposed athletics fee, JD said:
“We did exactly what (ASUH) told us to do. (They) canceled two subcommittee meetings and we tried calling and rescheduling, because we told them that it was very time sensitive for us and we wanted to try to get something to the regents by May or June so that it can be approved for September 2009.” (KL)

KL Note: “In a third meeting, the student Senate passed a resolution stating opposition to the implementation of the athletics fee.”

About how he wants to avoid cutting a sport, JD said:
“I absolutely don’t want to cut any sports. I think we have the right size programs for the University of Hawai’i and the state of Hawai’i. But at some point we may have to cut expenses, and we’re going to have to look at possibly cutting a sport.” (KL)

About the men’s sports that might get cut, JD said:
“We can’t cut football or men’s basketball. So, that leaves baseball, men’s volleyball, tennis, swimming (and diving), and golf.” (KL)

KL Note: “Despite the possibility, Donovan said that the regents’ meeting last Thursday and Friday gave him the sense that they won’t be cutting a sport anytime in the near future.”

About how UH is the only school in the WAC without a student athletics fee, JD said:
“The thing I kept telling the Senate was ask yourselves why we are one of the few schools in the country, and the only one in the Western Athletic Conference, that doesn’t have a student athletics fee. What is the compelling argument or reason why we don’t have it?” (KL)

Mike Smith (Baltimore Ravens, Texas Tech) joins UH as a graduate assistant

February 26, 2009

Praising Mike Smith, Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach said:
“He was one of the toughest linebackers I’ve ever coached. He did it the hard way. He became a player through great determination, which, I think, says a lot about him. He’ll be a good teacher. I can’t say enough good things about him.” (HA)

HA Note: “He was a four-year starter — two as team captain — at Texas Tech. He played four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, serving as All-Pro Ray Lewis’ backup, before negotiating a medical buyout last summer. He officially retired two months ago. He then called UH head coach Greg McMackin, who said there might be an opening on the staff this semester. David Gilmore decided not to return.”

About how Mac recruited him, Smith said:
“I was his first recruit. I’ve always been close to coach Mack. He believed in me since the very beginning.” (HA)

About his playing style at LB, Smith said:
“I consider myself to be old school. Football should be played as a man’s sport. I don’t hold anything back. Football isn’t a game for women or children or the faint of heart. It’s a tough sport.” (HA)

About joining the Ravens as a 7th round pick in 2005, joining a defense with 6 current or future All-Pros, Smith said:
“My first practice, I was already running late. They made all of the rookies tape last. I was nervous. When I got out there, (All-Pro defensive end) Terrell Suggs was just staring at me. They gave me the hardest time. But we all became good friends. I was blessed to play those years.” (HA)

About how he learned from Ray Lewis, Smith said:
“He’s a very intense guy. Off the field, he’s the nicest person. I was lucky to play with a guy like him.” (HA)

About how he and Ray Lewis (who played under Mac at Miami) would discussed Mac, Smith said:
“We always talked about the keys coach Mack told us to look for. He really helped us out a lot. Coach Mack has had such a successful career. All of the players respect him. He has so much respect in college football and the NFL. Everybody knows coach Mack. I told him: ‘When I’m your age, I hope I’ll have half the resume you had.’ ” (HA)

HA Note: “Smith said he plans to join the staff in about three weeks. He said he will assist defensive coordinator Cal Lee with the linebackers and also work with special teams coordinator Chris Tormey.”

Looking forward to joining the Warriors, Smith said:
“I can’t wait to meet the players, learn the system and start my coaching. I’m glad to be a Warrior. It’s a great program. I’m lucky to be part of a great staff.” (HA)

About how Smith’s toughness will transfer to the players he coached, Leach said:
“He has that gritty tough streak that will transfer to the players he works with. He understands football is a tough game for tough people. When he left our program, that was the hardest thing to replace about him. Not just his leadership, but his toughness on the field. He’s not your garden-variety guy. He’s at a different level. The people in Hawai’i will enjoy that.” (HA)

Associated Students of UH opposes a student fee for the athletic department

February 26, 2009

HA Note: “The Associated Students of the University of Hawai’i yesterday announced a resolution opposing the implementation of a student fee to aid the school’s athletic department. The resolution, passed by a 20-1 vote Feb. 10, opposes a fee without student feedback and, in any case, the resolution says ASUH “feels that no money from this fee should be used towards salaries, administrative fees or capitol improvement projects.” Release of the resolution follows by six days athletic director Jim Donovan’s announced intention to a Board of Regents committee to seek help from students in retiring the department’s $5.4 million accumulated debt.”

About the student association’s opposition of the athletics fee, JD said:
“I can appreciate where the ASUH is coming from if that’s what they feel they have to do.” (HA)

JD said that his job is to reduce the Athletics Department’s growing deficit and he:
“will continue to look at ways, including student fees, that may be accomplished.” (HA)

HA Note: “To the regents, Donovan cited student fees as a common source of revenue within the Western Athletic Conference, in particular, and college athletics, in general, that remains untapped by UH. Schools traditionally give students free or greatly reduced admission prices in exchange for fees. For example, Fresno State had a $10 fee, but recently increased it by $52 under order of president John D. Welty despite student opposition. Three years ago, San Diego State President Steven Webber imposed a $160 increase in the previous fee after a campuswide referendum voted one down. At UH, there had been talk of a $50 annual fee in 2006. Donovan said UH received approximately $50,000 per year from ASUH in the 1980s.”

HA Note: “The ASUH’s current resolution is a reversal from 2006 when a different ASUH senate adopted a resolution supporting the “implementation of an athletic fee.” But that resolution never got to the regents, who must approve any request to impose fees.”

Declining to say how much of a fee, if any, he might support, ASUH President Jaime Sohn said:
“As an elected representative of the students it would be hard for me to support any fee without seeing the proposal, hearing student input, and seeing where the money would be going. So, until a proposal is received and the proper steps have been taken I cannot accurately state a specific amount.” (HA)

HA Note: “Donovan said he understood the ASUH’s wish to take the issue to the student body but said he hoped it could be done in time to implement a fee for the fall semester. Donovan, who said he and administrators have twice met with student leaders since the start of the year, said he was told it could take “12 to 18 months” to get a vote and approval.”

Don Weir named new Executive Director for Na Koa

February 25, 2009

UH = UH Foundation Press Release

UH Note: “The University of Hawai‘i Foundation in partnership with ‘Ahahui Koa Anuenue and the University of Hawai‘i Athletics Department, have created the new position of Executive Director for the school’s football booster club, Na Koa. Dr. Don Weir will assume the position beginning on Monday, March 2. Weir, a two-year letterwinner in football in the 1970s, is the current volunteer booster president for the UH Letterwinners Club. As executive director of Na Koa, Weir will coordinate the booster club’s fundraising campaign that supports the annual operational needs of the Warrior football program.”

Happy that Weir has agreed to take this position, Na Koa President Rick Blangiardi said:
“We are very pleased and excited that Don Weir has agreed to take on this critical responsibility for Na Koa and the University of Hawai‘i football program. We are confident that Don’s passion and commitment to Warrior football will create unprecedented success for our coaches and team.” (UH)

Praising Weir, UH coach Greg McMackin said:
“Don will do a great job as our new Na Koa Executive Director. He has an excellent work ethic, is a great person, cares about the University of Hawai‘i, the state of Hawai‘i and our program. He is the final piece of the puzzle to take Na Koa to a higher level.” (UH)

Sure that Weir will do a great job with Na Koa, JD said:
“Having seen firsthand Don’s work as president of UH Letterwinners Club, I am confident of his abilities and leadership. In addition, from a personal level, I am excited that Don, as a former UH football player, has made a commitment to come home and give back to his team and university.” (UH)

Feature Interview with UH Coach Greg McMackin

February 25, 2009

About how he and Ron Lee drew plays on napkins recently, Mac said:
“I’m sitting down to lunch with my offensive coordinator. We went through a bunch of cut-ups today. We see a lot of fun things we can do.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “As last season wore on, Lee took more and more heat for play calling. Some suggested McMackin was vetoing many of his calls, but there was never evidence of it, and the two remain loyal old friends.”

About how they need to improve, Mac said:
“Things happened. How do you say it? There were phases that broke down. We’re working to improve that. There are a lot of things we need to get better at.” (HSB)

Asked last year when he would get to take a breather, Mac said:
“I don’t have time. This is what I’ve been working toward my whole career.” (HSB)

About how it is important to keep learning and work through adversity, Mac said:
“I’ve coached for a lot of years, but I know you have to keep learning every year. I learned it’s important to really work for completion and perfection. Last year’s team, they were great the way they worked through adversity, and the way they had trust in each other. They were 1-3 at one time and because everyone believed in each other, the team went to a bowl game.” (HSB)

Combine Report for Ryan Mouton and David Veikune

February 25, 2009

About how his hamstring is not seriously injured and he’ll run the 40 at UH’s Pro Day on April 2, Mouton said:
“I’ll be OK.” (HA)

HA Note: “Mouton said he “popped” his left hamstring at about the 30-yard mark, and hobbled the rest of the way. Mouton was credited with an “unofficial” time of 4.48 seconds, said his agent Kenny Zuckerman.”

HA Note: “Mouton said he had suffered a tight hamstring during last month’s East-West Shrine Game in Houston. Mouton, who is listed at 5 feet 9 and 187 pounds, was impressive in field drills yesterday. He had a vertical jump of 39 1/2 inches, and a broad jump of 10 feet, 9 inches.”

About how he bench-pressed 225 pounds 35 times, 4th highest at the combine, Veikune said that NFL officials had strict lifting guidelines:
“Anything that was a little off, they’d take off (the total).” (HA)

About how he set a goal of 35 reps, Veikune said:
“I reached it. Anything after that would have been great.” (HA)

HA Note: “In the 40-yard dash, Veikune’s announced official time was 4.87 seconds, ninth best among the linemen. But he said that was the slowest of the recordings by the three timers. One official clocked Veikune at 4.79 seconds. Veikune also completed the L-drill, which is not shown on the NFL Web site, in 4.20 seconds. Because of his success in field drills, Veikune will not compete in lifting or running drills at Pro Day. Instead, he will participate in position drills. He said he will spend the next few weeks working on his back-pedal moves.”

About how he interviewed with every NFL team at the combine, Veikune said:
“(USC quarterback) Mark Sanchez said it was like speed dating.” (HA)

HA Note: “Veikune said he also had one-on-one interviews with the head coaches of the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals.”