Former players attacked Hawaiian coach Todd Graham at a state Senate hearing: “The worst guy I’ve ever met in my life”

Several former and current players testified against Hawaiian coach Todd Graham during Friday’s session of the Hawaiian Senate, accusing him not only of verbally assaulting the players but also of destroying the program’s culture.

According to Honolulu television station KITV, the two-hour meeting – consisting of questions from the Ways and Means and Higher Education committees focused on Graham, university president David Lassner, sports director David Matlin and regent board member Randolph Moore – has reached an emotional core. when he called the testimonies of former players.

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

Justin Uahinui, a former Hawaii quarterback, shared similar feelings: “This program was built with a special culture that you won’t find anywhere else,” he said. “Graham has killed this culture, passion and enthusiasm in many players like me.”

Some of the most incriminating testimonies come from the parents of former Hawaiian lineman Michael Eletis, who had to retire in June due to concussions he suffered while playing football. They claimed that the university had not offered any medical help to their son, whom he claims was suffering from depression and mental illness as a result of his stay in Hawaii.

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

“I can’t speak for anyone else,” Graham told the Warrior Sports Network. “I can only speak from my knowledge and experience of what our program was about. I cannot speak for the people who spoke today and for the comments that were made. All I know is that no one in our program has been verbally abused.

“I tried to clean up some language things. We are not perfect and we do not claim to be. All I can tell you is my experience with that locker room and our team, and these things are not. We have been demanding and we have worked with our children and they are hard they trained, but we also loved them hard. “

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Despite testimonies from former players, Matlin said he would not buy Graham’s contract even if the program had the money. He and Lassner said the players’ testimonies were “selected” to support the case against the second-year coach.

Fox football reporter Bruce Feldman said on Friday that the views against Graham were in line with the views of others in college football circles:

The Hawaiian Senate has placed a burden on what to do with Graham – if anything – on the University Regent’s Council. The initial indication is that, according to KITV, no action will be taken, but that the Governing Board will consider the status of the program at its regular meeting at the end of January.

“I don’t see an urgent need to do anything in the next two weeks,” Moore said.

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