The Warriors players pledge they will not be distracted from their preparation for the season

HSB Note: “They filed in through the doorway behind Greg McMackin, one by one, until they packed half the room.

Their message was clear.

About 50 of McMackin’s players appeared to support their head coach as he apologized again for the remarks that cost him dearly — more than 10 percent of his annual salary of $1.1 million as a result of punishment announced yesterday by Hawaii athletic director Jim Donovan and chancellor Virginia Hinshaw.

And their presence both strengthened and weakened their coach, who was emotional from the time he stepped into the Walter Wong Hospitality room yesterday afternoon until he exited, without taking questions, out a back door.”

HSB Note: “Senior running back Leon Wright-Jackson said linebacker Brashton Satele and center John Estes made the effort to round up the players, some of whom applauded their coach as he walked off the podium.”

About the players attending the press conference to support their coach, Leon Wright-Jackson said:
“They told us we were going to come down here and support our coach, and that’s what we came here to do. The emotion, you can tell he knows it was a big mistake and just hurt and everything. You can tell by his emotion that it’s sincere that he apologizes. We’re just here to back him up.” (HSB)

About Mac volunteering to coach the team during his suspension, LWJ said:
“I think that’s a great thing. It’s showing, you know, when people make mistakes, just overcome (like) he just did. You know, we’re going to move forward from it. Him volunteering, he’s still part of this family, this UH Warrior football team.” (HSB)

About how they will not let this distract from their preparation for the season, Aaron Kia said:
“We can’t let it distract us. What happened, happened. We’re not going to let it affect our camp. We have enough things on our mind. We want to do better than we did last year.” (HA)

About how the itinerary for training camp was finalized more than a month ago, with Mac approving every drill and water break, an assistant coach said:
“Nothing is going to change.” (HA)

About how the controversy will not distract from their preparation for the season, Ray Hisatake said:
“It shouldn’t be a distraction. We’re going to be focused, so there shouldn’t be any worries. A team has to build from inside. This won’t have any bearing on how the boys play.” (HA)

About how the controversy will not affect his verbal commitment to UH, Corey Lau said:
“My opinion is the same about the program and coach Mack. He’s a good coach. I don’t think one thing should change that. My opinion of him as a person has not changed at all.” (HA)

About the relationship he built with Mac during the recruiting process, Lau said:
“He’s always been real nice to m. He’s a good person.” (HA)

About how he will honor his 2010 verbal commitment to UH, WR Christian “Bubba” Poueu-Luna said:
”I like Coach Mack. He’s the man. He cares about his players so much. That’s a cool thing. I’ve had coaches like that. He’s pretty cool. He’s personable. I like that.” (HA)

Ray Hisatake said that Mac’s comments were:
“out of character. The whole thing’s crazy. I know coach Mack. He doesn’t try to offend anybody. He goes out of his way to be nice to everybody. I’m surprised it went this far. But when you deal with the media, you’ve got to watch what you say. I’ve known coach Mack for a little more than two years. One incident won’t change what he’s shown me in two years.” (HA)

Understanding about Mac’s mistake, Kia said:
“Everybody messes up once in a while. Coach Mack is a good guy. This is a mess up. That’s all.” (HA)

About how the suspension will not change anything with the team, an assistant coach said:
“This is Mack’s team. He’s in charge, whether he gets paid or not. Nothing is going to change the way we prepare.” (HA)

After the new conference, Kia said:
“It’s unfortunate that this happened. It’s something that he’s definitely got to deal with.” (HA)

Jayson Rego said that Mac is:
“really sorry. Coach is a great guy.” (HA)

About how he doesn’t think that Mac had slept at all since his unfortunate choice of words at the WAC Football Preview, JD said:
“I think what Coach McMackin is coming from is that he’s really hurt inside because he hurt other people. I know he’s going to work hard to work with and reach out to the gay and lesbian community here on campus. But I also believe — he saw Brashton Satele this morning — and Brashton said, ‘I have your back.’ And that meant an awful lot to him and he doesn’t want to do anything to harm the team and the players. I think that will allow him to refocus on football.” (HSB)


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