For Dave Matlin, Hawai'i Football Hire Will Be His Legacy

There's something about Halloween that keeps us all on edge in Hawaii, a place notorious for its gory legends and spirits of the dead walking among the living.

But this past October 31st, the eeriest place on O'ahu wasn't Crawford Convalescent Home in Haleiwa but a 40-year-old rickety metallic structure in Halawa, emptier than usual for a Saturday night in the Fall. For the handful that remained for the fourth quarter of UH's trampling at the feet of the Air Force offense, it would have been less terrifying to stroll through Morgan's Corner alone at midnight than to have to bear firsthand witness the internment of the Rainbow Warrior Football program.

Less than a day after experiencing that real-life nightmare, the faithful learned that Norm Chow had been relieved of his duties as head coach.

Unfortunately, this horror flick refuses to end, taking more and more victims each week.

The UH game against San Jose State could have been confused with a ghost town: nearly four in five seats went unfilled. At only 11,625, attendance had never been worse at Aloha Stadium. Chow might be pau, but his legacy remains.

In the midst of the most fragile of days for UH football, athletics director Dave Matlin's choice of the next head coach looms as one of the most important hires in the history of the athletic department.

Most local people appear to be clamoring for June Jones. The former UH coach architected the best single season turnaround in NCAA history when the Rainbow Warriors went from 0-12 in '98 under Fred vonAppen to 9-4 in 1999, in only Jones' first year.

Can Jones bring back the magic to Manoa?

A lot has changed since Jones coached his last UH game one fateful night in New Orleans. He boarded a plane for Dallas, never looking back. The move rubbed many of the fans the wrong way, especially when Jones admitted to flirting with Mustangs all while the Warriors marched their way up the BCS rankings.

Similarly, Jones left SMU on not the greatest terms. While his paycheck more than doubled, he wasn't able to match what he accomplished at UH. Jones did win three bowl games but did not come close to attaining the same level of winning as he did at Hawaii (.650), even finishing below .500 in his time in Dallas (.456).

Despite SMU meeting his demands for resources while being located in the most talent-rich region of the U.S., Jones left Mustang fans disenchanted with his management style. When he resigned after only two games in 2014 -- both losses -- he was no longer the household name he once was.

But maybe June Jones needs Hawaii as much as Hawaii needs him. Jones understands the local politics, the dire straits of the program and how to get the most of what is given to him. He is the most risk-free hire for Matlin. If Jones fails, well, Matlin can play it off as a response to the outcry for the old coach. If he succeeds, Matlin is remembered as the guy who not only got rid of Chow but who helped return the program to its heyday.

But with names like Ivin Jasper, the former UH QB and current offensive coordinator at 15th ranked Navy, floating around and "about 50 applicants" according to UH, Matlin shouldn't punt.

In the ever-changing landscape of college football, if Hawaii wants to even matter on the national stage, it must improve soon. There aren't another four years to waste.

Scary.