UH football coach Naeole resigns, citing differences with staff

Hawaii assistant Naeole resigns, citing differences with staff
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

RENO, NEVADA (HawaiiNewsNow) - University of Hawaii offensive line Coach Chris Naeole announced his resignation from the Rainbow Warriors on Friday afternoon, citing "philosophical differences with the handling of disciplinary matters" within the team.

The former NFL offensive lineman did not travel with the team to Reno for Saturday's game against Nevada. He also did not attend the team's practices on Wednesday or Thursday.

Graduate assistant John Estes and offensive coordinator Brian Smith coached the offensive line during practices on both days.

Naeole did not elaborate on the disciplinary matters to which his statement refers.

"In my heart, I believe I served the program and student-athletes to the best of my ability, and with the same work ethic, desire and passion to excel that pushed me at all levels of my playing career," said Naeole, in a written statement.

"I have always believed in the integrity and principles of what our community and the university stands for and those same beliefs are what I have always tried to instill in my players."

The school's athletic department and Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich also issued a written statement on the situation Friday, but did not address Naeole's comments on disciplinary matters.

""I want to thank Chris for his hard work and dedication to our football program," Head Coach Nick Rolovich said, in the statement.

"He was critical in holding this program together in the transition from Coach Chow to myself. We wish him well in his future, and we will meet this challenge head on, because that is the Warrior way."

Athletics Director David Matlin said that "Chris will be missed."

Naeole, who was in the middle of his fifth year as a member of the Rainbow Warriors, was one of the two coaches from Norm Chow's staff who was retained by Rolovich when he was named head coach in 2015.

UH football fans were surprised by the news.

"I'm just shocked because he did such a tremendous job as an offensive line coach and he knows what he's doing," said Kala Chong. "He's done a lot for the team progress to the point to where they're at now."

"The most important thing is our student athletes," said Dan Meisenzahl, UH spokesperson. "I know this is going to be a tough time for them and the players, but this is what college is all about. This is life and tough things happen. I know there are coaches that are stepping up and filling the very big shoes of Chris Naeole and they'll do what they can."

This story will be updated.

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