HONOLULU -- Greg McMackin's first head coaching job was with Warriors of Aloha High School in Oregon. Now, 40 years later in the land of aloha, he has come full circle.
McMackin was hired as Hawaii's football coach Wednesday after serving as its defensive coordinator last season on a team that went undefeated until losing the Sugar Bowl.
He replaces June Jones, who left the Warriors to coach SMU less than a week after they were routed by Georgia. McMackin agreed to a five-year deal that will pay him $1.1 million a season, making him the highest-paid coach in school history. He will earn 10 times his 2007 salary.
The 58-year-old former assistant with the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks said the Warriors will not change their wide-open offense that flourished last season behind NFL-bound quarterback Colt Brennan.
"What we have to do is build on what we have now," he said at a news conference. "We're going to keep what June has built. There's no reason to fix something that isn't broken."
McMackin said he wants to be the "glue to hold it together."
The Warriors finished the regular season 12-0, then lost 41-10 in the Sugar Bowl. After Jones bolted for SMU, athletic director Herman Frazier was fired amid widespread criticism about failing to re-sign the coach. McMackin acknowledged losing a couple of recruits during that time, including former BYU quarterback Jacob Bower, who has committed to Tulsa. But he plans to aggressively recruit in Hawaii and American Samoa.
"I'm not really worried about this recruiting season because we're going to get who we can get," McMackin said. "We're not going to hurry. We want to bring in good kids, so we're not just going to scramble and get anybody that's out there."
McMackin's last head coaching position was at Oregon Tech from 1986-89, where he had four winning seasons. He was selected at Hawaii from nearly 30 applicants. A selection committee led by acting athletic director Carl Clapp and chancellor Virginia Hinshaw interviewed only a few finalists and unanimously chose McMackin.
"He is a quality human being who will represent our football program, the university and the state with class and dignity," Clapp said.
Linebacker Adam Leonard, who was on the nine-member committee, said McMackin was the easy choice, based on his experience, credentials and ability to lead.
The Warriors were looking forward to moving on after a chaotic two weeks.
"It tarnished the season that we had," he said. "People kind of forgot what kind of season it was. They were more concerned with coach Jones and whether he was going to leave or not."