The Hawaii Warriors football program got some good news Friday when the Star Advertiser’s Stephen Tsai broke news that former Oregon State and Nebraska defensive coordinator Mark Banker will join the Hawaii football coaching staff as an assistant head coach and linebackers coach. This comes a few weeks after Corey Batoon, the new defensive coordinator, joined the staff. The pair of defensive minds give the overall staff some much-needed experience, and give hope that a defense that finished 114th nationally in total defense can make a big jump in 2018.
The hiring of Banker will surprise some. Banker has enough notoriety in the islands that he was once a candidate for the head coaching job at Hawaii. It’s a statement hire for UH to land Banker on staff as an assistant head coach and position coach. He’s an ace recruiter on the local scene and figures to help the staff with a jolt in on-field coaching experience, as well as keeping local recruits on the island, something that has always been difficult for the program. Hawaii went into the off-season with the defense needing to vastly improve to reach the program’s goals. Considering the financial restraints of the program, hiring Batoon and Banker is close to best case scenario for improving the defensive staff, if not the best case scenario. Expect the Hawaii Warriors defense to take a step in the right direction next season.
Especially since the other bit of good news comes in the form of star linebacker Jahlani Tavai alluding to a return for his senior season in an Instagram post. Tavai has been a star his entire career and figures to greatly benefit from the addition of Banker and Batoon.
The Hawaii Warriors open the 2018 football season at Aloha Stadium with Navy on September 1.