University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa head football coach Nick Rolovich has informed UH officials that he has accepted the head coach position at Washington State University.
The people spoke to The Associated Press on Monday night on condition of anonymity because the hiring had not been announced by the school.
Rolovich, 40, will replace Mike Leach, who was named coach at Mississippi State on Thursday.
Rolovich is expected to sign a five-year deal worth approximately $3 million annually, a source told ESPN's Adam Rittenberg.
Nick Rolovich has left behind the beaches of Oahu for the wheat fields of the Palouse and the chance to see if his pass-happy, high-scoring style can work at Washington State. Our football team is in a better place because of Nick, and we wish him all the best. "Our search for our next head coach begins immediately".
Rolovich recently completed his fourth season at Hawai'i, where he led the program to a 28-27 record and three bowl games in his time. Rolovich led the Rainbow Warriors to an upset over previously unbeaten and No. 9 BYU in the 2001 season finale, 72-45, with 543 yards and eight touchdowns. Hawaii went 10-5 overall, losing to Boise State in the Mountain West title game but rebounding to beat BYU in the Hawaii Bowl.
Rolovich has overseen a significant turnaround with the Rainbow Warriors. He's won at least seven games in three of his four seasons. The 10 wins this season were the most for the Rainbow Warriors since 2010, when they won 10 games and were co-champs of the Western Athletic Conference with Nevada and Boise State. He also guided Hawai'i to its first bowl game since the 2010 season, a 52-35 win over Middle Tennessee State giving the Rainbow Warriors a 7-7 record.
Rolovich was a two-year letterwinner at quarterback for Hawai'i from 2000-01, starting the bulk of the 2001 season and leading the team to an 8-1 record as a starter.
Although the Run and Shoot is a pass-first offense that should make excellent use of the offensive talent on hand, fans who have been longing for a more effective and purposeful run game are going to get their wish - the Warriors passed it on 60% of their plays, compared to almost 80% for the Cougars.
Prior to taking over at Hawaii, Rolovich was the offensive coordinator for the Nevada Wolf Pack for four seasons from 2012-2015, learning Pistol offense concepts from Chris Ault for a year that he has incorporated into his version of the Run and Shoot.
Rolovich got his coaching start in 2002 as an assistant coach for San Marin (Calif.) High School, later reuniting with his college coach, June Jones, in coaching the Run-and-Shoot offense as a student assistant at Hawai'i during the 2003-04 seasons. He operates an offense that has a lot of similarities to the Air Raid scheme Leach is famous for. Hawaii ranked fifth in the country in passing this season and was ninth last season. Chun didn't give a timeline, only reiterating he understood the urgency of landing a head coach while not wanting to rush the process.
"We set a goal of bringing the best coach possible to Washington State University", said Chun. The Cougars went 55-47 with six bowl appearances in Leach's eight seasons.