Hawaii coach takes voluntary pay cut

HONOLULU -- Hawaii coach Greg McMackin was suspended for 30 days without pay and has volunteered to take an additional 7 percent pay cut from his $1.1 million salary for making a derogatory comment while describing Notre Dame's chant before last year's Hawaii Bowl.

In a room full of players, assistant coaches and boosters, a tearful McMackin addressed reporters late Friday after meeting with school officials for several hours.

"I just want to say I made a big mistake. I want to apologize to everyone and anyone that I offended with my remarks," he said. "I'm committed to do whatever I can to use this as a life lesson to learn from my mistake. When we make mistakes, we have to learn from it and make better people of ourselves."

In total, McMackin will lose roughly $169,000 from his salary this year. But the real damage seems to be to his reputation and to the university.

Athletic director Jim Donovan said McMackin will remain with the team on a voluntary basis during the suspension. He said the coach violated university policies. McMackin met with Donovan and Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw.

"We all recognize that Coach McMackin made a serious mistake that has hurt many people and brought negative attention to our state and university," Hinshaw said. "He is clearly remorseful -- as well as he should be."

Meanwhile, the WAC announced Monday that in addition to reprimanding McMackin, it has warned the coach that any further violations of the conference's sportsmanship code will result in an automatic one-game suspension, at the minimum.

The second-year Warriors coach has repeatedly apologized for the comments made during a media briefing Thursday at the Western Athletic Conference football preview in Salt Lake City. He used a slur usually targeted at gays to describe Notre Dame's chant performed at a banquet before last year's Hawaii Bowl.

"I'm very disappointed in myself. I hope to make up for some for the pain I caused others," he said. "I made a mistake. Now I have to show the leadership in dealing with the football program and building respect for all people in our community."

Wiping away tears from his swollen-red eyes, McMackin said he's offended the gay and lesbian community and now he wants to work with them to use the incident as a "teachable moment for me and hopefully others."

"I should've never brought Notre Dame's program up in my interview," McMackin said. "I'm sorry that I said something so hurtful and I'm very remorseful."

Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis on Friday said the Fighting Irish program was offended by the comments but has accepted his apology and will move on.

"Coach McMackin demonstrated poor judgment when, while making comments critical of our football program, he used a derogatory word," Weis said in a statement. "Speaking only for our football program, we were offended by the remarks."

Weis said it was in the best interests of the Notre Dame program to address the issue promptly, put it to rest and focus on the upcoming season.

The Fighting Irish routed the Warriors 49-21 in the Hawaii Bowl for their first postseason victory in 15 years. McMackin called it the worst loss in his 40 years of coaching.

McMackin's comments have stunned this state, where the story has created a stir online and has led the front pages of both Honolulu newspapers. The headline in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin read, "Mack Under Attack."

His comments have been sharply rebuked by everyone from Gov. Linda Lingle to gay and lesbian groups.

Before joining the Warriors, McMackin spent three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers as associate head coach and linebackers coach under Dennis Erickson. He has also served as defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks and several college programs, including Texas Tech, Miami, Navy, Utah and Idaho.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.