Now that June Jones is gone to SMU, Hawaii must select a new head football coach as quickly as possible. Expediency is important in order to try to salvage a recruiting class and bring stability to a chaotic situation.
Although 58-year-old associate head coach George Lumpkin is an unlikely choice for permanent head coach, he is a probable choice for interim head coach. The last time UH was without a head coach was 2001, when Jones nearly died in a car crash. Lumpkin, who has been a player or coach at Manoa for nearly 40 years, steadily guided the team through spring practice and the summer while Jones recuperated.
As for a permanent replacement, state law requires that UH post the position for 10 days before making a hire. Athletic director Herman Frazier may have his own ideas about who he wants, but the decision may not be his, especially since the UH Board of Regents must approve any selection.
UH defensive coordinator Greg McMackin would have been a prime candidate to replace Jones, but McMackin will be joining him in Dallas. (So will quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison and running backs coach Wes Suan.)
Linebackers coach Cal Lee and defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold are the top candidates from the UH staff.
Lee, 61, is considered the greatest high school football coach in state history, winning 15 Prep Bowl and state championships at Saint Louis School. He was the head coach of the Hawaiian Islanders arena football team before joining the Warriors staff in 2003.
Lee could not be reached today. When asked last week about his interest in the potential opening, he said he �wasn�t sure.�
Reinebold, 50, has a variety of football coaching experience, including stints in Canada and Europe, as well as in college. He is in his second year as Warriors defensive line coach.
�I plan to pursue it,� Reinebold said today.
Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow, 61, is considered a prime candidate. But the former chief of prolific offenses at BYU and USC would have to take a pay cut if he were to make UH his first head-coaching stint. He makes $2 million per year at Tennessee.
Texas assistant head coach Duane Akina, 49, like Chow a Punahou graduate, is also a high-profile potential candidate. Akina was defensive coordinator this past season for the Longhorns. He is also a former UH assistant.
Jones has also recommended former Hawaii and current San Jose State coach Dick Tomey, 69, and New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, 56, as candidates to replace him.