In the end, there’ll be no June Jones reunion on the islands.
A short time after reports surfaced that the former head coach was one of five finalists for the job, Hawaii announced that one of the other former players up for the job, Nick Rolovich, has instead landed the job. Rolovich, who played quarterback for Jones during his time with the Rainbow Warriors, spent the past four seasons as the offensive coordinator at Nevada.
This will be Rolovich’s first job as head coach.
“I’m pleased to welcome back Nick Rolovich to the UH ‘ohana,” athletic director David Matlin said in a statement. “Nick is a Warrior at heart and someone I know our fans will support. He understands what it means to be a Warrior having played and coached here and what affect a winning program has with this community. I have no doubt we picked the right man for this job. The future is bright for Hawai‘i football.”
“Being raised a Warrior, there is a great sense of excitement and responsibility about bringing back a winning tradition to Hawai‘i football,” Rolovich said. “I can’t wait to get started. I’m honored to be selected to run this program which has made me into the man I am today.”
Not only was Rolovich a player at UH, but he was also an assistant there from 2008-11, serving as the team’s primary play-caller before moving on to Nevada. Rolovich’s final game as Nevada’s coordinator will be tomorrow night against San Diego State as he will not be with the Wolf Pack for their bowl game.
“Both Nick and UH have been transparent throughout the whole process and I appreciated that very much,” Nevada head coach Brian Polian said in his statement. “I am confident that his candidacy did not affect our preparation for SDSU. We will handle any decisions regarding the staff internally and make those decisions known when the time is appropriate.”
In addition to Rolovich and Jones, former Army head coach Rich Ellerson, current UH football analyst Rich Miano and Tulsa co-defensive coordinator Brian Norwood were reportedly finalists.
With Rolovich’s hiring, there are now a dozen openings for head coach at the FBS level. 10 of those openings are with Power Five programs.
Last year’s Baylor-TCU game was a wild 61-58 affair won by the Bears. Through two quarters of play in this year’s edition of the rivalry, and thanks in very large part to the weather, it doesn’t appear that a repeat is in order.
In a game delayed nearly 50 minutes because of lightning in the Fort Worth area and that’s currently being played in a steady downpour, the No. 7 Bears and No. 19 Horned Frogs slipped and slogged — and fumbled and intercepted and muffed — their way to a 14-all tie at halftime. BU turned the ball over three times — the trifecta of a fumble, interception and muffed punt — while TCU had one interception and one fumble. In last year’s game, which TCU was winning 31-27 at the half, the Bears had three turnovers while the Horned Frogs turned it over just once.
It actually looked as if a repeat of last year was in order as the Bears scored on their first two possessions and the Horned Frogs their first halfway through the opening quarter. However, as the rain increased, the offensive production predictably decreased as just seven points were scored on the remaining 14 possessions of the half — and those came courtesy of a defensive score.
Even the return of Trevone Boykin couldn’t help the Horned Frogs get past the weather. After missing the Week 12 loss to Oklahoma because of a sprained ankle, Boykin, playing on a heavily-taped joint, was back under center for the Frogs, completing 7-of-15 passes for 97 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Boykin’s counterpart, QB-turned-WR-turned-QB Chris Johnson, was making his first start, and in a driving rainstorm on the road no less. He was responsible for two of the turnovers, an interception and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, and passed for a meager 50 yards as the Bears attempted just 12 passes.
Devin Chafin was the offensive “star” of the game for both sides. While the Bears back had just eight yards rushing, he accounted for both BU touchdowns.
Earlier this month, former Hawaii head coach June Jones would indeed apply for the opening with the Rainbow Warriors. Three weeks later, not surprisingly, Jones is decidedly in the mix.
Citing sources familiar with the process, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser is reporting that Jones is one of five coaches who have interviewed for the job. In addition to Jones, the others who were given one-hour interviews were former Army head coach Rich Ellerson, current UH football analyst Rich Miano, Tulsa co-defensive coordinator Brian Norwood and current Nevada offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich. All four of those candidates, as well as Jones, played their college football for the Rainbow Warriors.
The Star-Advertiser writes that “[b]arring a late addition, they would be the only finalists interviewed by athletic director David Matlin and his advisory panel.”
The 62-year-old Jones, of course, was the head coach at Hawaii for nearly a decade and led the Rainbow Warriors to its winningest stretch in the program’s history.
From 1999-2007, UH went 76-41 under Jones. Prior to Jones’ arrival, the Rainbow Warriors won nine or more games four times and 10-plus once the previous 28 years; in Jones’ nine seasons, they won nine-plus six times and 10-plus in three seasons. The pinnacle of his career at the island school was his last season as he led UH to a 12-1 record and a Sugar Bowl appearance in 2007.
He left for SMU in January of the following year and went 36-43 with the Mustangs before abruptly resigning two games into his seventh season at the school in 2014.
Weather could have an impact on one key Big 12 game Saturday. It’s already having an impact on one Saturday.
The game between No. 7 Baylor and No. 19 TCU in Fort Worth had been scheduled to kick off around 7:30 ET this evening. However, lightning in the area has caused the start time to be pushed back.
As of this posting, kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 ET.
While TCU has already been eliminated from the Big 12 chase, Baylor remains very much alive. If BU beats TCU and Oklahoma State defeats Oklahoma in Bedlam tomorrow, the Bears will be the Big 12 champion for College Football Playoff committee accounting purposes.
If the Sooners win this weekend, they would be the conference champs regardless of what the Bears do tonight and next weekend. The Cowboys can make its claim if it wins Bedlam and the Bears lose at least one of its last two games.