On Friday night, Hawaii head football coach Todd Graham resigned from his position amid allegations that he mistreated players.
When a coaching change occurs, many outlets are quick to identify candidates who could be the replacement, and on Saturday, The Athletic’s Chris Vannini identified four coaches with ties to the Beehive State who could be candidates.
Two — Ed Lamb and Ilaisa Tuiaki — are currently on the BYU Cougars’ coaching staff, while former Cougar offensive coordinator Robert Anae (who just recently took the same position at Syracuse after Bronco Mendenhall resigned as head coach at Virginia) and Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were also identified by Vannini.
Vannini wrote that “This list starts with BYU special teams coordinator Ed Lamb, who was a finalist for the job when Graham was hired.”
Vannini noted that Lamb won two conference championships while he was the head coach at SUU from 2008-2015 and that he recruits the state of Hawaii. Vannini also wrote that Lamb taught himself Tongan.
Tuiaki was next on Vannini’s list. Vannini wrote that Tuiaki is “a Hawaii native who has spent his entire coaching career in the West, all but one year in the state of Utah. He’s been at BYU since 2016 and his defense finished No. 4 nationally in scoring in 2020.”
Of Anae, Vannini wrote that Hawaii had asked him to apply for the job that Graham was ultimately hired for. Noting that Virginia’s passing offense finished second in the country in 2021, Vannini wrote of Anae, “He pulled out of the Hawaii search last time, choosing to stick with Bronco Mendenhall at UVa. Maybe he gives it another look.”
Vannini’s longest section was on Niumatalolo. Vannini observed that Niumatalolo, a Hawaii native who played quarterback at the school, has been at Navy since 2002 and has been the head coach since 2007. Niumatalolo has had good success but has had a few down years recently.
“Maybe this is the time to come home,” Vannini wrote of Niumatalolo. “He spends much of his offseason free time on the islands.”