LAS VEGAS — The University of Hawaii didn’t project to be the biggest buzz of the Media Days circuit this summer. The Rainbow Warriors are coming off a 3-9 season and cratered to a 1-7 Mountain West record.
But Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich has a knack for garnering attention. And when a Britney Spears impersonator accompanied him to Mountain West Media Day at the Cosmopolitan Hotel here, it certainly distracted from any looming quarterback controversies.
“Whoops, I did it again, Commish,” Rolovich said to Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson. Rolovich convinced Thompson to awkwardly pose for a picture, with Thompson intentionally positioning himself away from Britney.
Last season, Rolovich brought an Elvis impersonator with him to Media Day and earned rave reviews. He’s also attempted to bring a live monkey, but that idea was quickly scuttled. “You can’t bring a live animal to the hotel,” Thompson recalled telling him. “There’s health codes.”
The impersonator is Katie Murdock, who has spent 13 years as a “Tribute Artist” to Spears. She was hesitant to reveal exactly how much money Rolovich paid for her Media Day attendance but said that a safe ballpark estimate was $400 per hour. She said that Rolovich found her through an agency, Las Vegas Talent.
“I like the ‘Ooops I did it again,’ connection,’ ” Rolovich told Yahoo Sports of his decision to go with a Spears impersonator this year. “There’s a lot of talent. I had a debate. There was Austin Powers. There’s a lot of good talent in Vegas that can spice this thing up.”
He expressed some disappointment at no animals being allowed. “No monkey, no beavers, no weird animals,” he added with a laugh.
As “Spears” walked it, a cocoon of iPhones and cameras followed her movements. She didn’t bring a lot of insight into the teams, however.
“I need to catch up on my knowledge,” she told Yahoo Sports. “I should have done my research.”
Murdock typically performs in shows and at weddings and parties. This is her first college sports media day. “I do get a lot of crazy jobs,” she said. “But this is pretty unusual.”
Thompson marveled how a stream of cameras followed the Spears impersonator around. And he admits he was amused by the stunt, as it’s true to Rolovich’s personality.
“That’s him,” Thompson said. “He enjoys life. I don’t think it makes him any less competitive. These are some of the things he does.”
Rolovich clearly likes to have fun. He did his own impersonation of Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn when throwing out a first pitch at a Hawaii baseball game earlier this year.
Whether any of this will impact Hawaii football’s bottom line remains to be seen. He went 7-7 his first season in 2016 before slipping to 3-9 last season. As camps opens soon, Rolovich at least declare another resounding media day victory.
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