Chris Naeole has resigned as the University of Hawaii football team’s offensive line coach, citing “philosophical differences with the handling of disciplinary matters in the program.”
Naeole issued the statement through his lawyer, ending speculation about his status after he missed two practices this week and did not accompany the Rainbow Warriors on their trip to Reno for Saturday’s game against Nevada.
There were multiple suspensions in recent weeks. At least four players were suspended for the Sept. 23 game against Wyoming. Three other players were suspended for last week’s game against Colorado State. One of the suspensions involved a situation beyond team rules and initially out of the program’s jurisdiction.
“When there is a situation that is more than violation of team rules, it is referred to the appropriate unit, either the Office of Judicial Affairs, responsible for upholding the student conduct code, or the Office of Title IX,” UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said. “After a full investigation, the appropriate office determines the disciplinary action, which can range from no further action to expulsion.”
No UH player was suspended for more than two games.
Athletic director David Matlin and head coach Nick Rolovich issued statements thanking Naeole for his work with the Warriors.
“He was critical in holding this program together in the transition from Coach (Norm) Chow to myself,” Rolovich said in the news release. “We wish him well in his future, and we will meet this challenge head on, because that is the Warrior way.”
Offensive coordinator Brian Smith and graduate assistant John Estes are now coaching the offensive linemen.
“In my heart, I believe I served the program and the student-athletes to the best of my ability, and with the same work ethic, desire and passion to excel that pushed me at all levels of my playing career,” Naeole said in his statement. “However, due to certain philosophical differences with the handling of disciplinary matters in the program, I’ve offered my resignation as the offensive line coach. I have always believed in the integrity and principles of what our community and the University stands for and those same beliefs are what I have tried to instill in my players.”
Naeole was in his fifth season as a UH coach. After Chow was dismissed as head coach during the 2015 season, Naeole served as interim head coach for the final four games. Naeole, a Kahuku High graduate and All-America lineman at Colorado, played 12 NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars.