By WES NAKAMA
Stephens Media Hawaii
HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii has announced the hiring of Kevin Clune as its new football defensive coordinator.
Clune, who was Utah State’s linebackers coac h the past five seasons, takes over for Thom Kaumeyer, whose contract will not be renewed after it expires in March.
“I am honored and excited to be a part of Coach Norm Chow’s staff and the Hawaii football program,” Clune said through a UH statement Wednesday. “I look forward to the new challenges that this opportunity will bring. I cannot wait to start spring ball and the new season.”
Utah State finished this past season at 9-5 after a 21-14 victory over then-No. 24-ranked Northern Illinois in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. The nine wins is the second-most in school history and represents the most victories by an Aggies team since 1960 and 1961.
Utah State also received two votes each in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 polls, tying for 37th in each.
The Aggies’ defense ranked seventh in the nation in scoring defense in 2013 (17.1 points per game) and 2012 (15.4), and 12th in total defense in 2013 (330.9 yards per game) and 15th in 2012 (322.1).
Utah State led the Mountain West Conference in eight defensive categories this past season, and three linebackers coached by Clune earned all-conference honors.
By comparison, UH finished 115th in the nation (out of 125 teams) in total defense (494.7 ypg) and 113th in scoring defense (38.8 ppg) this past season.
In his duties as linebackers coach, Clune was involved in all phases of the Aggies defense: game planning, scouting and play-calling. He previously served as defensive coordinator at Weber State (2005-2008), which advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinals in 2008 and led the Big Sky Conference in pass defense (208.4 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (109.4) that season.
Clune also was defensive coordinator at Southern Utah in 2003 and 2004.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL LOSES IN OT: Jonae Ervin scored 37 points, including seven in overtime, as Cal Poly came back to beat the Rainbow Wahine 78-74 at Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu in the Big West opener for both.
Trailing by four, the Broncos (7-7, 1-0) made two baskets in the final five seconds of regulation, forcing the extra session on Taryn Garza’s jumper at the buzzer.
The Rainbow Wahine (6-7, 0-1) twice led by 17 points in the first half, but Cal Poly used a 14-0 run spanning the first and second halves to get back in the game. Sydney Haydel scored 18 points for UH and Kamilah Jackson posted 17 points and 16 rebounds.
MEN’S BASKETBALL OPENS BIG WEST PLAY: The Rainbow Warrior men’s basketball team (11-3) opens its Big West Conference season today with a road game at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (4-9).
Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. (HST), and the game will be broadcast live on radio via KHLO in Hilo or KKON in Kailua-Kona.
UH has won nine of its past 10 games and is off to its best start since the 2003-04 season.
The road trip will continue with a game at Cal State Northridge on Saturday.
MEN’S VOLLEYBALL OPENS SEASON IN OUTRIGGER INVITATIONAL: The Rainbow Warrior men’s volleyball team will open its season today against Ohio State in the 20th annual Outrigger Invitational at the Stan Sheriff Center.
UH is ranked No. 14 in this week’s American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, while Ohio State is No. 12. The Rainbow Warriors will face No. 11 Penn State on Friday and No. 7 UCLA on Saturday. All three matches are scheduled for a 7 p.m. start and each will be televised live statewide on OCSports.
Hawaii split a pair of exhibition matches vs. Thompson Rivers of Canada last weekend, losing in four sets Friday and winning in five sets Saturday.
UH DIVERS SHINE ON FIRST DAY OF HAWAII INVITATIONAL: Amund Gismervik won the men’s 1-meter springboard event and Aimee Harrison took first place in the women’s 3-meter event Wednesday on Day 1 of the Hawaii Diving Invitational at the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex.
Other teams in the competition are Wisconsin, Columbia, Nebraska and Minnesota State-Mankato.
Gismervik’s score of 376.65 is a personal best. Harrison’s winning score was 322.70. Rainbow Wahine Lauren Hall (305.90) took second in the 3-meter event.
The Invitational will conclude Thursday with the women’s 1-meter, the men’s 3-meter and the platform events starting at 11 a.m.