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College football: Sacrifices pay off for UH’s Broman

Updated: 
August 10, 2017 - 12:05am

Hawaii linebacker Max Broman was nearly the pooper at his own surprise party.

Last weekend head coach Nick Rolovich hired a hypnotist to perform at a team meeting during which Broman would be awarded a football scholarship. There was a hitch: Broman had asked to be excused from the session because he wanted to work at a catering job to help pay for his upcoming tuition.

Rolovich bluffed Broman, saying he would be booted from the team if he missed Saturday’s event. Rolovich then called Broman’s parents in Draper, Utah, “to tell them, ‘You can’t let him work. I’m giving him a scholarship.’”

Broman said it was surreal when hypnotist Greg Gabaylo handed him a paper with the scholarship offer.

“He’s a senior,” Rolovich reasoned. “He’s sacrificed a lot for this place. He’s all in on Hawaii — not just Hawaii football but this state and this culture.”

It was 10 years ago when Broman decided he wanted to be a Rainbow Warrior.

“In 2007, I watched them play (on television) and they just had the tenacity that was incomparable to anything else I’d ever seen,” Broman said. “From that day on, I was compelled by this university.”

Broman turned down opportunities to attend schools in Utah. Instead, he joined the Warriors as a walk-on running back in 2013. He redshirted that season, and then faced a red-ink future. His family helped with tuition. But to pay for other expenses, he left the football team in 2014 and worked full time for $7.25 an hour at a fitness center. Wideouts Marcus Kemp and Ammon Barker let Broman sleep on their couch. Safety Daniel Lewis also opened his apartment to Broman.

“How could you not do that for him or any of our teammates?” Lewis said. “We’re brothers.”

Broman, who continued taking classes during his football hiatus, rejoined the Warriors as a linebacker in January 2015. He was a functional scout player in 2015, and a special-teams contributor in 12 games in 2016.

Broman now shares an off-campus place with Barker, cornerback Cameron Hayes and tight end Dakota Torres. Broman and Barker work as servers for a catering company. Broman and Lewis recently were hired as part of the crew on a 65-foot sailing boat that caters to celebrities. In their first week, the passengers were former president Bill Clinton, actor Pierce Brosnan, actress Jessica Alba and comedian/actor Dane Cook.

“There were a lot of lessons learned,” Broman said of his time in Hawaii. “It really gave me an appreciation of what a scholarship means and how lucky I am to have that. … We had some hard years here, but I never, for once, regretted my decision coming here. I had some tough years, but I wasn’t going to quit because this was my dream. I’m here for the long run.”

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