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New UH defensive coordinator says he's 'fired up'

By Stephen Tsai

LAST UPDATED: 2:43 p.m. HST, Jan 17, 2014

Kevin Clune, the newly hired defensive coordinator, said he is ready to take the "next adventure" in building the University of Hawaii football team's defense.

Clune was hired on Jan. 7 to succeed Thom Kaumeyer, who will not be retained when his one-year contract expires in March.

Clune, 41, was the linebacker coach at Utah State the past five seasons. Similar to his situation at UH, Clune had helped boost three programs coming off one-victory seasons. The Rainbow Warriors were 1-11 in 2013.

Clune said there would have been security in returning to Utah State, which won the Mountain West Conference's Mountain Division title in 2013.

"But this is the time to take the next step, the next adventure," Clune said.

Reminded of UH's struggles and facility deficiencies, Clune said, "That's part of the challenge. That's why I'm here. This is going to be a great challenge and a great turnaround."

The Aggies were successful with an multiple-attacking defense rooted in a 3-4 scheme. Clune said he will try to mesh attacking schemes with the Warriors' personnel. He said defense begins with the basics -- "play hard, play smart" -- and expands to situational strategy.

Clune admittedly has a "loud" style. But he said he will allow his position coaches to teach the details of his defensive schemes. While Clune will oversee the entire defense, he will work closely with the inside linebackers.

Clune was selected from a pool of 39 candidates. Clune and UH coach Norm Chow have never worked together previously, but their circle of advisers interacted. Shortly after being hired, Clune said he received a congratulatory telephone message from Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

"I'm not afraid of this challenge," Clune said. "People say, 'Oh, their record. What about this? What about that?" It's part of it. I can't wait.  Let's go. I'm fired up."

Clune signed a two-year contract that pays $160,000 annually. Kaumeyer earned $250,000 a year.

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