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Mark Banker In The Hawaii Picture

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Oregon St. defensive coordinator Mark Banker is a serious candidate to become the head coach at Hawaii. <em>(Photo by Andy Wooldridge)</em>
Oregon St. defensive coordinator Mark Banker is a serious candidate to become the head coach at Hawaii. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

Oregon St. football defensive coordinator Mark Banker is one of three candidates that have emerged to replace Greg McMackin as coach of the Hawaii Rainbows.

McMackin resigned after 4 years as coach in Honolulu after the Rainbows lost their last game of the season 41-20 against BYU, which left 6-7 overall, and out of the bowl picture. Hawaii finished 3-4 in the WAC, and is bound for the Mt. West, so falling short of the postseason despite playing a WAC schedule was a considerable disappointment in the Islands.

In addition to Banker, Hawaii is also interested in City College of San Francisco head coach George Rush and current Hawaii director of personnel George Lumpkin, as reported by Stephen Tsai of the Honolulu Star-Advisor.

Banker is obviously the most high profile of the three, having had considerable experience at the FBS level, as well as prior experience at Hawaii. Banker was linebackers coach for the Rainbows (pre-rebranding as the Warriors) in 1995, before becoming assistant head coach at USC in 1996. Banker also made a stop at Stanford, and has been defensive coordinator for Oregon St. under head coach Mike Riley since 2003.

The move to Banker would signal a strategic shift at Hawaii towards a more defensive oriented approach than in recent years under McMackin, and prior to that under noted offensive enthusiast June Jones, who had McMackin as his defensive coordinator.

And unlike situations such as at UCLA, for example, where Boise St. coach Chris Peterson and Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, were "mentioned" and "pursued" by the Bruins, even though there was no chance they would actually take the job, Banker is a "serious" candidate for the Hawaii job, having said he actually is interested in it.

The move could be just the change of scenery Banker needs to re-energize his career, as well as a nice pay raise, after he has come under criticism for a system that despite his considerable efforts, has become more familiar to Pac-12 opponents, and therefore increasingly exploited.

It would also bring a much needed injection of defense to Hawaii, and provide Oregon St. with an opportunity to take a new direction with their own defensive fortunes.

Banker does have a decent track record in recruiting in both California and Hawaii, which makes sense for Hawaii.

It could be a "win all around" turn of events for all concerned. Wouldn't that make sense!

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com