Todd Graham’s tenure as Hawaii soccer coach has ended after two seasons. Graham resigned Friday night.
“After much prayer and reflection with my family, I have come to the conclusion that I will be retiring as head coach of the Rainbow Warriors, with a heavy heart,” he said. a statement issued by the university.
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 claims, and UH athletic director David Matlin, who also testified at the meeting, expressed his support for the coach.
Hawaii was 11-11 under Graham. He qualified for bowl games both seasons but chose not to play in 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 “tyrant” who created a toxic culture within the show. Seventeen UH players, including quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, have entered the transfer portal since late November.
A group of former players made damning statements during testimony at a Jan. 7 meeting about Graham held 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 hands down the worst guy I’ve ever met in my life,” former linebacker Henry Lee said of Graham, by KITV.com. Lee was fired from the team after initial criticism from Graham, mwwire.com reported.
Graham testified that no verbal abuse occurred.
“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 inside that locker room and with our team, and those things haven’t happened.” We have been demanding and we have worked with our children and we have trained them hard, but we have also loved them very much,” he said, according to KITV.
Graham expressed a similar sentiment when announcing his resignation.
“Our staff poured our hearts and souls into our players and truly made a difference in their lives. I couldn’t have asked for more of their commitment, work ethic and love for our players and soccer program. But it’s clear to me that I must walk away and do whatever is best for me, my family and my health. I honor, value and love all my players and coaches and wish them 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 noted in its statement that it does not owe Graham additional money because he resigned. The The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Hawaii would have had to pay Graham $1.275 million to opt out of his contract, though Matlin said last week he would keep Graham even if the buyout money was raised.
Graham was scheduled to earn $800,000 a year from 2022 to 2024. His contract also included incentives.
Who will replace Todd Graham as Hawaii coach?
Linebackers coach Jacob Yoro was named interim head coach. Yoro has been a coach with the Rainbow Warriors since 2017. UH said in his statement that the search for a full-time coach would begin immediately.
There was a push on Twitter in the early moments after Graham’s resignation from Hawaii to bring back former head coach June Jones, who led the program to a 75-41 record from 1999 to 2007 and a spot on the Sugar Bowl in the 2007 season.