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New UH coaches Tormey, Shaw get to work


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POSTED: Tuesday, March 31, 2009

They've been around the block and the country.

Yesterday, new Hawaii assistant coaches Chris Tormey and Gordy Shaw brought their considerable experience to bear on the first day of the Warriors' spring football practice.

With combined college coaching experience of nearly 60 years, the well-traveled Tormey (special teams coordinator) and Shaw (offensive line) will be counted on to give two of the Warriors' most flawed facets during the 2008 season a fresh start.

Tormey was given the task of overhauling a special teams unit that finished last in the country in punt return yardage (2 yards average) and had six kicks blocked. He's also charged with assisting Rich Miano with the secondary by leading the safeties.

He was pleased with what he saw yesterday from the defensive backs. Special teams work comes later.

“;We have a lot of kids who are really into what we're trying to teach,”; Tormey said. “;We'll see how well we can maintain that enthusiasm over the next 14 practices.”;

Tormey was Washington's linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator prior to accepting the Hawaii job. He cut his head coaching teeth at Idaho from 1995 to '99, when the Vandals transitioned from Division I-AA to a I-A. From there he took the head gig at Nevada, where he went 16-31 over four years — but improved his win total each season.

Shaw, like Tormey, also has his hands full. Last year, the UH O-line set a Division I record for sacks allowed at 57.

But, as head coach Greg McMackin said of Shaw last week, “;You'll never hear an excuse out of him.”;

“;When you've been doing it for as long as I've been doing it, my favorite saying is, 'Never rate potential over performance,'”; said Shaw, a former center. “;So, you might have a world of ability, but it's still about what you do out here between the stripes — that ends up being whether you play or not.

“;I just live by the golden rule, which is, 'Do your best and don't let anything else affect you.' “;

For the first day, Shaw was happy about the focus and energy his players exhibited.

He's coached at eight different colleges, most notably from 1990 to 2006 at Minnesota, where he led both the offensive and defensive lines. He was also at Idaho, in 1989.

Tormey has appeared four times at Aloha Stadium — once as a player and three times as a coach — and chuckled about his 0-4 record here. He spoke to his new players about the mystique of playing at Hawaii, and told them they should be proud. Proud, but also ready to do their part when called upon.

“;Accountability is one word that we always use. In order to be accountable to your teammates, you have to be personally responsible, both on and off the field,”; Tormey said. “;That's something we're trying to stress with these guys. Understand the importance of doing your job, making your play for the Warriors when you get your opportunity.”;