McMackin might stay
Greg McMackin is more likely to throw his hat into the ring for Hawaii head coach than to wear one of the ten-gallon variety in the near future.
The UH defensive coordinator was expected to follow his former boss, June Jones, to Southern Methodist to run the D in the Big D. But a steady stream of encouragement and support in recent days from Hawaii fans, fellow coaches and administration types has the veteran coordinator thinking long and hard about staying in Manoa.
McMackin declined comment yesterday, but several sources said he is a strong candidate to replace Jones.
McMackin was scheduled to meet with Jones last night or today. Jones has always made a practice of not standing in the way of assistants trying to further their careers. But losing McMackin would be a blow to his charter Mustangs staff.
McMackin, 58, was head coach in 1973 at Aloha High School in Oregon, after he earned a master's degree in education at Arizona. He was also a head coach at Oregon Tech from 1986 to 1990.
Since then, he's coached at 10 colleges and three pro teams. This is his second stint as the Hawaii defensive coordinator, and the Warriors are 21-5 with him on the staff.
Linebacker Adam Leonard said he would like to see McMackin get the head coaching position.
"Yeah, we would welcome that," said Leonard, who has decided to remain at UH rather than make himself available for the NFL Draft. "Especially the defensive side knows how compassionate he is for the players. He's really about his players and not about personal pride and accolades he might receive. He really wants to create an environment where player and coaches can do their best."
UH posted its required advertising for the job yesterday, and prospects have until Jan. 15 to submit their applications.
"We've already received some (applications)," associate athletic director John McNamara said. "I don't know how many."
The Warrior coaches who are in town (some are in Los Angeles at the annual coaches' convention) met yesterday. No interim head coach was named.
As for the players, Leonard said he and other team leaders will set up a meeting when school starts next week.
"We'll talk about our expectations for next year," Leonard said. "We need to step up and take charge. Nothing's going to change how hard we work."
While UH got good news with Leonard's decision to stay in school, slotback Ryan Grice-Mullins will be going pro a year early. That means UH will have all new starters at the four receiver positions as well as quarterback.
Here are some updates on other potential candidates for UH head coach:
» Duane Akina: A Texas official told the Houston Chronicle that the Longhorns' defensive backs coach would have "strong interest" in the job if contacted. The Punahou graduate was a UH assistant from 1981 to 1985.
» Norm Chow: A close friend of the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator said it would be "a long shot" for UH to secure the services of the former USC, North Carolina State and BYU offensive mastermind who is also a Punahou product.
» Kevin Gilbride: The New York Giants offensive coordinator is a friend of June Jones and his son played quarterback and baseball at UH.
» John L. Smith: According to the Associated Press, Smith is "being considered for the Hawaii job." That's hard to believe, considering the former Michigan State coach's history with Hawaii. He would be a very tough sell for the fans after his team's vehement complaints about officiating in a game Hawaii won in 2004, a botched game-week tape exchange prior to a 2005 game, and Michigan State pulling out of its game against Hawaii in 2007 that helped create the Warriors' schedule problems.
» Dick Tomey: The San Jose State coach has three years remaining on his contract with the Spartans. He is also considered a candidate for UH athletic director, a job he applied for in 2002.
Updates on other potential candidates for Hawaii athletic director to replace Herman Frazier:
» Keith Amemiya: The Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive director said he is interested in the position. He has a broad base of support.
"Being a lifelong UH supporter and an alumnus, I would love the opportunity to perhaps one day work there," Amemiya said. "However, I'm excited about what we've been able to accomplish on the high school level and continue to enjoy working with all the high schools across the state."
» Rick Blangiardi: The KGMB-TV exec is a former UH player and coach and has some strong backers.
» Jim Donovan: The former UH associate athletic director said he's happy at his post as executive director of the Hawaii Bowl. But there are those who consider the ex-UH offensive lineman a solid contender for AD.
» Rockne Freitas: The Hawaii Community College chancellor is a former NFL player. He also has experience as a former UH associate AD and knows his way around the Legislature.
» Bob Wagner: Now the Kamehameha-Hawaii AD, Wagner was the UH football coach.
"That's something I'd be interested in," Wagner said.