Several former and current players testified against Hawaii coach Todd Graham during a Hawaii Senate meeting on Friday, accusing him of not only verbally abusing players but also destroying the show’s culture.
According to Honolulu Television Station KITV, the two-hour meeting, which consisted of questions from the Ways and Means and Higher Education committees directed at Graham, University President David Lassner, Athletic Director David Matlin, and Board of Regents member Randolph Moore, arrived to an emotional quid when he asked for the testimony of former players
“I try to see the good in everyone and give people opportunities, but he’s hands down the worst guy I’ve ever met in my life,” former Hawaii linebacker Leonard Lee said (via KITV).
Justin Uahinui, a former Hawaii quarterback, shared similar sentiments: “This program was created with a special culture that cannot be found anywhere else,” he said. “Graham killed that culture, passion and drive in a lot of players like me.”
Some of the most damning testimony came from the parents of former Hawaii lineman Michael Eletise, who had to be medically retired in June due to concussions he suffered while playing soccer. They claimed that the university has not offered any medical help to their son, who they claim is dealing with depression and mental illness as a result of his stay in Hawaii.
Graham is 107-62 all-time in Hawaii and his previous four stops as a coach (Rice, Tulsa, Pitt and Arizona State). Hired in 2020, he has led the team to an 11-11 record for two seasons. According to various reports, 19 Hawaii players entered the team’s transfer portal this year. Graham denied the abuse allegations against him, but took responsibility for the show’s future success.
“I can’t speak for someone else,” Graham said, according to Warrior Sports Network. “I can only speak from my knowledge and my experience of what our program has been. I cannot speak for the people who have spoken today and the comments that have been made. All I know is that on our show, no one has been verbally abused.
“I’ve tried to clean up some of the language stuff. We’re not perfect and we don’t pretend to be. All I can tell you is my experience in that locker room and with our team, and those things haven’t changed.” it happened. We have been demanding and we work with our children and train them hard, but we also love them very much. “
Despite testimony from former players, Matlin said he would not buy Graham’s contract, even if the show had the money to do so. He and Lassner both said that the testimony of the players had been “chosen” to further a case against the second-year coach.
Fox college football reporter Bruce Feldman reported Friday that the testimonies against Graham matched the opinions of others about him in college football circles:
I heard from several coaches tonight reacting to the Todd Graham situation in Hawaii. This was from one of them: “He’s a bad human being. The truth is finally coming out about him. ” https://t.co/EaBsxtMrpi
—Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 8, 2022
The Hawaii Senate assigned the responsibility for what to do with Graham, if at all, to the university’s board of regents. The first indication is that no action will be taken, according to KITV, but that the board will consider the status of the program during its regularly scheduled meeting in late January.
“I don’t see any urgency in the next two weeks for the board to do something,” Moore said.