Todd Graham is stepping down as head coach at the University of Hawaii

Todd Graham has resigned as head coach of the University of Hawaii football team.

Graham has been embroiled in controversy since December when several players spoke out about the difficult environment fostered under his two-year helm.

By stepping down, Graham loses the $1.275 million it would have cost to buy out the three years remaining on his five-year contract.

Tonight, UH will post the job posting on its website. Assistant Jaocb Yoro has been appointed interim head coach.

In a statement released through UH, Graham wrote: “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as head football coach at the University of Hawaii for the past two seasons. After much prayer and reflection with my family, I have come to the conclusion that it is with a heavy heart that I am stepping down as head coach of the Rainbow Warriors. I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to the players, staff and coaches who have met all the challenges of 2020 and 2021. It wasn’t easy but they all put up a good fight and we did things right.

“Our staff put our hearts and souls into our players and really made a difference in their lives. I couldn’t have asked for more from her dedication, work ethic and love for our players and our football program. But I realize I have to step back and do what’s best for myself and my family and my health. I honor, appreciate and love all my players and coaches and wish you the very best. The university did not ask me to resign. I’m only going because of my family and my health. We have laid a strong foundation for future success and I will always cheer you on.”

Graham, who was hired to replace Nick Rolovich in January 2020, was 11-11 in two seasons as UH head coach.

But at the end of the regular season, quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, running back Dae Dae Hunter and cornerback Cameron Lockridge entered the transfer portal. Afterwards, several players expressed their dissatisfaction during a Twitter Space forum, which raised allegations against Graham’s leadership, causing some players to experience mental health issues.

After UH withdrew from the Hawaii Bowl following a team vote — with several citing a lack of available players due to injuries, COVID-19 exposure and competitive disadvantage — linebacker Darius Muasau and defensive ends Jonah Laulu and Justus Tavai also entered the portal . The departures led some lawmakers to call for an investigative hearing into the situation. The government council should also deal with the matter at its meeting next Thursday.

“Todd informed me of his decision to retire,” said UH athletics director David Matlin. “We have had many accomplishments under his leadership even as he faced pandemic conditions, the withdrawal of Aloha Stadium and the banning of fans for most of his time with us. Todd’s tireless dedication as a coach has had a positive impact on many student athletes. We have spoken at length and it is clear that he has taken these actions to allow the football program to move forward.”

It is not known whether his employees will also be laid off. Their one-year contracts run through June.

Graham had three years left on a five-year contract that paid an estimated $800,000 annually.

For more information on Hawaiian soccer, visit the Warrior Beat blog.

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