Hawaii coach Todd Graham resigns amid claims of ‘verbal abuse’ by players; cites family and health reasons

Hawaii announced Friday night that coach Todd Graham is resigning after two seasons on the job. His departure follows a mass exodus from within the team’s roster amid allegations that he fostered a poor culture within the program. Graham, 57, posted an 11-11 record after taking over for Nick Rolovich following the 2019 season.

“Todd informed me of his decision to resign,” Hawaii athletics director David Matlin said in a statement. “We enjoyed many successes under his leadership even as he faced pandemic conditions, the withdrawal of Aloha Stadium, and the prohibition of any fans for nearly all his time with us. Todd’s tireless efforts as a coach have made a positive impact on many student-athletes. We have talked at length, and it is clear he has taken this action so that the football program can thrive moving forward.”

Hawaii’s football program was the topic of a state senate meeting earlier this month as players, including key pieces such as starting quarterback Chevan Cordeiro and leading rusher Dae Dae Hunter, continued to leave the program. Graham’s son, a defensive back, was also among a total of 20 players from the program in the transfer portal as of Friday.

The wave of Hawaii players entering the portal followed a December report from SFGate that outlined cultural issues within the program. One anonymous Hawai’i player told SFGate that, “I would go as far to say it’s verbal abuse the way he talks to guys.” 

Graham released a lengthy statement on his decision. In it, the former coach at Rice, Tulsa, Pittsburgh and Arizona State cited health and family reasons for his decision. Here is Graham’s quote in full:

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as the Head Football Coach at the University of Hawai’i for the…

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