HONOLULU — New Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich said Monday he plans to focus on the bonds his players develop with one another, not on any specific offense or defense, as he tries to bring the Rainbow Warriors back from a losing record.
At his first news conference as head coach, Rolovich said he plans to coach with aloha, encouraging his athletes to play for one another and do what's right for their community.
"I didn't know what aloha was until I got here in 2000," he said. "My parents raised me in the right way ... they taught me to treat people right, they taught me to care about people and they taught me to respect the place where I'm living."
Rolovich said it doesn't matter what offense or defense he runs, what matters is how his players work together on and off the field.
"I don't believe in scheme," Rolovich said. "I told the kids this morning, it's about the love between each one of them. If they will go into battle with each other, for each other, this team will be great."
When asked about upcoming changes to his coaching staff, Rolovich said he would rather take his time and find the right people for the jobs instead of rushing only to have coaches walk away. "What I'm going to call them is men of aloha," he said. They "will guide these young men off the field, be counselors, be role models."
Athletic director David Matlin announced the hiring of the former Hawaii quarterback on Friday.
Rolovich played for the Warriors in 2000 and '01 and coached under Greg McMackin from 2008-11. He was the team's primary play-caller in his final three seasons as a Hawaii assistant. He joined the Nevada staff in 2012 and has been offensive coordinator for four seasons.
Hawaii fired Norm Chow this month after he went 10-36 in four seasons. The Rainbow Warriors never won more than four games under Chow. The program last reached a bowl game in 2010, when the Warriors went 10-4 under McMackin.
Hawaii played its final game Saturday, breaking an eight-game losing streak by defeating Louisiana-Monroe 28-26.
Rolovich said he had a message for his team on Monday morning: "Do one thing to make this campus better. Whether it's picking up rubbish, whether it's saying hello to someone they never say hello to ... just one thing, tomorrow do another thing and we will keep building from there."