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Hawaii’s Nick Rolovich to Wazzu, who are the candidates to replace him?

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A college football playoff championship night news dump

NCAA Football: Hawaii Bowl-Brigham Young vs Hawaii Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

The rumors are now reality: The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman is reporting that Hawaii football coach Nick Rolovich will be the next head coach at Washington State, replacing Mike Leach who recently left for Mississippi State.

This is brutal for Hawaii, no way to twist it. Nick Rolovich inherited a Hawaii football program in despair. Norm Chow is a good man who tried his hardest, but the success of the June Jones and Greg McMackin regimes was completely gone by the time Rolovich returned to Oahu in 2016. From there, Rolovich immediately resurrected the program, albeit with a speedbump in 2017, and eventually won the West Division in 2019 leading Hawaii to their first ever Mountain West championship game appearance. A double-digit win season, against all odds.

Hawaii will need to move fast on its coaching search with signing day in early February. Will Hawaii promote from within to attempt to maintain continuity? Or make an outside hire? Time will tell, but tonight is a sad night for Hawaii athletics and the Mountain West.

We’ll update this post more on Tuesday.

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Tuesday

The reports were true. Rolo is Washington State’s new head coach.

Stephen Tsai of the Star Advertiser is reporting that “There is widespread belief the top candidates would be Brian Smith, UH’s offensive coordinator and associate head coach; Craig Stutzmann, quarterbacks coach and pass-game coordinator; Mark Banker, assistant head coach and linebackers coach, and Mike Cavanaugh, Syracuse’s offensive line coach.”

There is a lot of support on Twitter for former Hawaii and Saint Louis graduate Craig Stutzmann to be promoted to head coach. Mike Cavanaugh was the only candidate outside of the program suggested. Whoever Hawaii hires, Athletic Director Dave Matlin will need to move quickly with signing day rapidly approaching.