Thursday, November 26, 2015         


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McMackin: Ring to have 'lot of bling'

By Stephen Tsai


Hawaii head coach Greg McMackin is willing to delegate all duties but one.

"I'm designing the ring," McMackin said. "That's my job."

The past weekend, the Warriors clinched a share of the Western Athletic Conference's regular-season football title.

The Warriors, who play Nevada-Las Vegas on Saturday in a nonconference game, finished with a 7-1 record in the WAC.

Nevada and Boise State are 6-1 in the league, each with one WAC game remaining. On Saturday, Nevada plays at Louisiana Tech and Boise State hosts Utah State.

During yesterday's weekly news conference, McMackin wore a large ring on his right hand.

"I told my wife this morning, 'We're WAC champions, and I'm going to wear one of my WAC champion rings,'" McMackin said. "That's exactly what I did."

Asked if the ring was from the 1999 or 2007 WAC title, McMackin said, "No, no, no. Please don't even give me credit for designing the '99 ring. I don't know who did, but I think they got it out of one of those Cracker Jack deals."

McMackin was UH's defensive coordinator in 1999, June Jones' first season as Hawaii's head coach. McMackin left the next season to coach at Texas Tech. After that, he went to the San Francisco 49ers. During talks to return to the Warriors in 2007, McMackin said he told Jones: "I'll come back and help you win a WAC championship if you let me design the ring."

The Warriors went 8-0 in the WAC that year, and Jones kept his promise to McMackin.

McMackin said the design for this year's ring is "done."

Pressed for a description, McMackin said, "It's going to be beautiful. Let me just say this: a lot of bling."

UH athletic director Jim Donovan said the rings will be paid for from the Warriors' share from the Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl. The Warriors will net $375,000, plus an additional $25,000 if it reaches ticket-sale goals. The UH assistant coaches' bowl bonuses also will be deducted from that payout.

This team born in 2009

The Warriors' success this season is rooted in conquering "adversity" during the 2009 season, McMackin said.

After a 2-0 start, the Warriors lost six in a row that year. The Warriors had opened with three consecutive road games. They also had lost linebacker Brashton Satele, quarterbacks Greg Alexander and Brent Rausch, and wideout Rodney Bradley to season-ending injuries.

But then the Warriors won four in a row to improve to 6-6 entering the regular-season finale against Wisconsin. Although they lost that game, costing them a winning regular season and the accompanying berth in the 2009 Hawaii Bowl, a unified mind-set had been crafted.

"The key was we won four in a row," McMackin said. "The players bought in, and didn't listen to the criticism. ... (They) tried to focus on the positives. That's where this (year's) team was born."

Bell finally eligible

After a monthslong battle, wideout Terence Bell was declared eligible for the New Mexico State game.

Bell, who was at Nevada a year ago but did not play in any games, transferred to UH this year. It was ruled that Bell had fulfilled the transfer obligation.

After this season, he has one year of eligibility remaining. Bell, who starred in two scrimmages three weeks ago, might be moved to slotback in the spring.

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