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Warriors get oral commitment from Aussie punter


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POSTED: Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Hawaii football team is looking Down Under to fill one of the holes in the kicking game.

Alex Dunnachie, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound punter from Australia, has orally committed to join the Warriors next season, and figures to help fill the void left by the departure of senior Tim Grasso.

Dunnachie's background is in Australian Rules Football, and he is still learning the American style of kicking. Dunnachie was on his way to California to attend the Ray Guy/Prokick.com Academy's camp in Walnut Creek yesterday.

“;He looks like a major college tight end,”; said camp director Rick Sang, who has followed Dunnachie's development. “;He's very talented. He's got natural power, he's got a really strong leg. ... He's a raw talent, and he's getting better.”;

Sang said Dunnachie worked under Nathan Chapman, who runs a kicking program in Australia, and his distance figures to improve as he refines his technique.

Hawaii had success with an Australian punter in the past. Mat McBriar finished his UH career second in school history with an average of 42.22 yards per kick before going on to an NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys. Sang said Dunnachie's leg strength compares favorably with McBriar and Shane Lechler of the Oakland Raiders.

Grasso averaged 40.4 yards per punt last season and had 11 kicks of 50 yards or longer. He placed 21 of his 68 kicks inside the opponent's 20-yard line.

 

Looking east

UH head coach Greg McMackin and athletic director Jim Donovan departed for Japan yesterday to take part in a series of clinics with an eye on expanding the program's reach.

“;Jim and I have a dream of going east,”; McMackin said.

“;When I was with the 49ers we had a Japanese player (Masafumi Kawaguchi) in camp. They (the Japanese media) were crazy about it. And look what's happening in Seattle and Boston with baseball.”;

McMackin and Donovan have speaking engagements on coaching and sports administration scheduled over four days in a series arranged by the Pacific Rim Sports Initiative, headed by former UH football player Ross Yamasaki.

“;If we're going to be more than we are, we have to look beyond Hawaii,”; said Donovan, who added that no state funds were being used for the trip. McMackin said the trip was sponsored by JAL, the Oahu Visitors Bureau, Marriott and Panda Travel.

 

The Star-Bulletin's Dave Reardon contributed to this story.