Saturday, January 22

Hawaii soccer players allege abuse by Todd Graham, say he ‘killed our love and passion for soccer’

New allegations against Hawaii coach Todd Graham emerged last week surrounding the mistreatment of players and coaches by the second-year coach.

The show’s culture under Graham came under scrutiny on November 31 after former Hawaii player Darryl McBride Jr. hosted a public event on Twitter Spaces, in which several past and current players discussed the show. That event followed the news earlier in the day that starting quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, a product of the nearby Saint Louis School, was hitting the transfer portal.

The discussion on Twitter recounted what it’s like to play for Graham and the culture he’s instilled in the show. According to a SFGATE report – citing players who spoke on condition of anonymity – Graham’s first two seasons at Manoa have not been easy at all.

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Throughout his tenure as the FBS head coach, which also includes stops at Rice, Tulsa, Pitt and Arizona State, Graham has always been called “disciplinary.” But players who spoke to SFGATE described Graham’s behavior and attitude as going too far, with one player alleging “verbal abuse.”

“I would dare say that the way he talks to boys is verbal abuse. … It’s personal, “the player told SFGATE.” It’s not like, ‘Oh, you have to be faster. He’s calling useless guys, idiots and a bag of shit. “

SFGATE reports that Graham has also regularly reprimanded and insulted players, allegedly calling them names like “t-dogs,” among other terms. Several players also said that Graham threatens players who speak out or challenge him by taking away playing time.

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“I and many others can honestly say that Graham has killed our love and passion for soccer,” one player told SFGATE.

The team players also cited Graham’s unbridled power imbalance and favoritism in favor of the first team players. One player said he experienced depression and considered quitting soccer after his treatment during the 2020 season, one in which he was not a regular contributor. He stated that the most significant contributions to the team by him in 2021 directly resulted in better treatment by Graham.

“Those who (the coaching staff) don’t care, get down to business,” he said.

SFGATE noted that players routinely defended assistant coaches, whom they described as caught between a rock and a hard place for fear of retaliation if they spoke out against Graham. The post noted that no player defended Graham, who players say regularly talks about going to the NFL if he gets the chance.

“Basically he kept telling us that he was using us as a stepping stone,” said one player.

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The Rainbow Warriors are 6-7 this year and 11-11 in Graham’s first two seasons as head coach. They will play in the Hawaii Bowl on December 24 as a result of a 42nd record sanctioned by the NCAA this season.

One player said: “I see why you want bowling so badly. It is not for seniors. It is not for Hawaii. It’s because of his reputation and the extra bowling check. ”(Graham will receive a $ 20,000 bonus for participating in the Hawaii Bowl and $ 40,000 if the Warriors win the game.

Neither Graham nor Hawaii Athletic Director David Matlin responded to SFGATE’s requests for comment. Reports also indicate that Graham did not address the Twitter Spaces event and dismissed any questions on cultural issues when asked multiple times during a radio announcement and media availability.

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“I don’t read Twitter. I do not do those things. I can tell you that my treatment focuses on being positive. ” Graham said on Friday. “We know that we are doing things the right way.”

Graham currently earns $ 800,000 a year in base salary through 2024. He is owed a termination of $ 425,000 for each year remaining on his contract, which means that if he is fired this season, the school owes him $ 1.275 million. According to SFGATE, Hawaii has never spent more than $ 600,000 to buy a coach.

Graham’s future remains uncertain, but many of the team’s nine transfers (most of any team in Mountain West, by 247Sports) said they do not intend to return while Graham is employed in Hawaii.

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