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New UH defensive coordinator ‘fired up’ in return to Warriors

  • STAR-ADVERTISER / NOV. 7, 2001

    This Nov. 7, 2001 photo shows University of Hawaii defensive coordinator, Kevin Lempa at the UH practice field.

Kevin Lempa is entering the new year with renewed enthusiasm.

“I’m fired up,” said Lempa, who today was named the University of Hawaii football team’s new defensive coordinator. “I really am.”

This is Lempa’s second stint with the Warriors, having served as defensive coordinator in 2000-2002. During those three seasons, Lempa coached future NFL players Pisa Tinoisaoa, Travis LaBoy, Isa‘ako Sopoaga and Wayne Hunter.

This past regular season, Lempa coached the defensive backs at Boston College, his third tenure at that school. In 2015, the Eagles led the nation in total defense (254.3 yards per game) and were seventh in passing yards (171.5 per game). They were ninth in scoring defense (15.3 points per game).

“It took three years, but we put together some good packages and we got the players to believe in it, and they all bought in, and played hard,” Lempa said. “We played hard every game. You can have different schemes, but when the players listen to what you’re saying and believe what you’re saying, they go out there and give everything they have. That’s great satisfaction as a coach. And you get results from that. And we got results.”

The Eagles opened with a four-man front, then transitioned into a three-down alignment in passing situations. Lempa said he is leaning toward the same approach at UH, although he will evaluate the personnel before finalizing a format. The Warriors ran a 3-4 base the past two seasons, although they often were in four-man formations in the final two games of the 2015 season.

“I’m excited to be a coordinator again,” Lempa said. “I thought this would be a great opportunity to come back and be a coordinator again. What better place to go to than to Hawaii?”

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  • Critical Reader….In college football, only the HC is on a long term contract (for the most part). All other coaches are generally year to year. So, usually, they wouldn’t have a buyout clause….unless, as in the case of UH, they hired someone but terminated that individual before he even coached for one day….that coach got paid out some money because the contracts were signed but for whatever reason, it wasn’t a good hire.

  • Guess the rumor about getting an experienced coordinator from a established football program turned out to be false. Little FBS experience as coordinators, guess we have to see what they can do and hope that Rolo makes changes quickly if they don’t work out.

  • I hate to be negative but if I recall, Lempa’s defense during his tenure under Jones wasn’t that impressive. If it wasn’t for Jones’ offensive racking up the points to win games, I believe Lempa’s defense would have been exposed. Also, if his contribution as DB coach was so significant at BC, why didn’t other colleges recruit him in his 10 year span? Yes, he’s coached players who have moved on to play on Sundays, but let’s not forget that Chow coached some QBs who also made it to the NFL. Hopefully, with the experience he gained during his absence, he’ll bring a stouter defense to the table than we’ve experienced in recent years.

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