Former players blast Hawaii coach Todd Graham in state Senate hearing: “Worst guy I’ve ever met in my life”

Several former and current players testified against Hawaii coach Todd Graham at a Hawaii Senate meeting on Friday, accusing him of not only verbally assaulting players, but also destroying the culture of the program.

According to Honolulu TV station KITV, the two-hour meeting – made up of questions from the Ways and Means and Higher Education Committees addressed to Graham, University President David Lassner, Athletic Director David Matlin and to board member Randolph Moore – has reached a crux. when calling for testimony from former players.

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“I try to see the good in everyone and give people a chance but he’s hands down the worst guy I’ve ever met in my life,” former Hawaii linebacker Leonard Lee said. (via KITV).

Justin Uahinui, a former Hawaii quarterback, shared similar sentiments, “This program was built with a special culture that you can’t find anywhere else,” he said. “Graham killed that culture, that passion and that drive in so many players like me.”

Some of the most damning testimonies have come from the parents of former Hawaii lineman Michael Eletise, who had to retire from medical care in June due to concussions while playing football. They said the university had offered no medical help to their son, who they said suffered from depression and mental illness as a result of his time in Hawaii.

Graham has a 107-62 record in Hawaii and his previous four coaching stops (Rice, Tulsa, Pitt and Arizona State). Hired in 2020, he led the team to a record 11-11 in two seasons. According to multiple reports, 19 players from Hawaii have entered this year’s squad transfer portal. Graham denied the abuse allegations against him, but took responsibility for the program’s future success.

“I can’t speak for someone else,” Graham said, according to Warrior Sports Network. “I can only speak from my knowledge and experience of the purpose of our program. I cannot speak for the people who have spoken today and for the comments that have been made. All I know is that in our program no one was verbally assaulted.

“I’ve tried cleaning up some linguistic things. We’re not perfect and don’t pretend to be. All I can tell you is my experience in this locker room and with our team, and those things don’t. have not We were demanding and worked with our children and trained them hard, but we also liked them very much. “

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Despite testimony from former players, Matlin said he would not buy out Graham’s contract, even if the program had the money to do so. He and Lassner both said the players’ testimony was “chosen” to promote a case against the second-year coach.

Fox college football reporter Bruce Feldman reported on Friday that the testimony against Graham aligned with others’ opinions of him in college football circles:

The Hawaii Senate placed the responsibility for what to do with Graham – if anything – on the college board of regents. The first indication is that no action will be taken, by KITV, but that the board will review the status of the program at its regular meeting scheduled for the end of January.

“I don’t see any urgency in the next two weeks for the board to do something,” Moore said.

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