HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - From the day Nick Rolovich took over the UH football program in 2015, he uttered words that remain ingrained in the hearts of UH football fans forever.
“I liken us a lot to pride rock,” said Rolovich during his introductory press conference in December of 2015. "We we’re great once, we can be great again, pride rock has a chance an were going to get it going.”
There was plenty of room for improvement when he inherited the program in 2016.
The team had won just 11 total games in its first four seasons in the Mountain West Conference under head coach Norm Chow.
The losses continued to pile up and running back Dayton Furuta remembers the feeling.
“The culture was different in the locker room,” said Furuta. “The Camaraderie between the boys was different, it wasn’t one family, we had different clicks in the locker room, and when Rolo came in he turned things around."
Rolovich’s style as a player’s coach transitioned into success on the field for the 'Bows.
After just 11 wins in 4 seasons under Chow, the Rolovich era began with seven wins in three of his first four years, while he also lead the Warriors to three Hawaii Bowls.
Senior place kicker Ryan Meskell says the impact Rolovich had on the players didn’t just focus on athletics.
“He really harps on the community involvement as well," said Meskell to Hawaii News Now on Tuesday. He would always make sure that we get out there and that we were good people in the community, an that was always big for him."
Rolovich saved his best season for last.
The 2019 campaign proved to be the most exciting year for UH football fans in a decade.
The team tallied 10 wins for the first time since 2007, secured it’s first ever West Division title, and appeared in the program’s first ever Mountain West Conference Championship game.
Following the record breaking season, Rolovich was named the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year.
With a win over arch rival BYU in the Hawaii Bowl, in front of a national TV audience, Rolovich accomplished what he set out to do.
Pride Rock was relevant again, the players whose lives hes been apart of say his impact will last forever.
“Rolovich is a;ll about family,” said Furuta. “Now that I am an alumni, I know that I can call on Rolo for anything, and I know he’ll be there.”