Todd Graham said that he has a lot to learn as the new University of Hawai'i football team's head coach.
"I will work hard to earn your trust, to earn your respect," Graham told the public during his introductory press conference on Wednesday afternoon at the UH Athletic complex lecture hall. "We'll be a program about winning championships, and winning will be defined by not only what we do on the football field, but what we do in the classroom, what we do in the community."
Graham was named the 24th head football coach for the 'Bows and carries 12 years of head coaching experience at FBS schools. He coached at Arizona State University from 2012-2012, where he led the team to five bowl appearances in six years. He has a 95-61 career coaching record.
The 55-year-old is also a former Pac-12 and Conference USA Coach of the Year. He had gigs at Rice, Tulsa and the University of Pittsburgh as well.
UH Athletic David Matlin said that when the head coaching job became vacant, his immediate concern was the players.
"When we lost our football coach a week ago, my first concern was for our players," he said. "These guys put in the work, on the field and in the classroom. Won 18 games these past two seasons and ended seasons as champions. These guys matter to me."
Graham has a five-year contract with the university, and his base salary for 2020 is $760,000. From 2021 to 2024, his base salary is $800,000. There are also opportunities to earn bonuses and other incentives.
Graham was announced as the new head coach on Tuesday, just a week after Nick Rolovich announced his resignation.
Although Graham has not coached since 2017, he said that the "last 24 months has been probably the greatest learning experience of my life."
Matlin said there were candidates both internally and externally, but believes that Graham fits the qualities of the position.
“Todd is a players’ coach," Matlin said. "He has an incredible knack for developing players to be the very best they can be. He shares our values of ohana. … This football team is not broken. This football team is just getting started.”
Graham inherits a Warrior football team who won 10 games for the first time since 2010. He mentioned that he was impressed with how last year's squad beat two Pac-12 teams (Arizona and Oregon State). Although his offensive scheme remains a mystery, he said that they will "play an explosive, exciting brand of football."
"We're going to attack. We're going to play the game with great speed and great physically. We'll be the hardest working, we'll be the most disciplined, most physical, and best prepared team in the country," he added.
Graham also credited former UH head coach and the late Dick Tomey as a mentor and friend.
"I hope that I can impact this community in at least a little bit in the way that he did," he said. "Because he impacted me as a coach and had a big influence on me and I know he's smiling down today."