UH to review if WAC suits it best
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By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer
University of Hawai'i head coaches will meet with president Evan Dobelle with an eye toward reviewing whether Western Athletic Conference Conference membership remains the best fit for their teams.
"I want to have an institution that is pre-eminent across the board and that includes athletics," Dobelle told a press conference yesterday. "If we're going to have big-time sports, then I want to have a big-time schedule and big-time wins. And if the coaches tell me where we are now is where we should be, that's fine with me. But, if they want me to try to do something different, then I will do something different on their behalf."
WAC commissioner Karl Benson said he was "not alarmed" by Dobelle's comments. "I have had conversations with the president and I'm aware of his need to get the lay of the land. I don't think it is all that uncommon for presidents to come in and find out how their coaches feel."
Dobelle, who is finishing his third week at Manoa, said he hopes to meet with the coaches before the school year begins next month. "It is like going to my chemistry (professors) and asking about new laboratories," he said.
Dobelle added: "I just want to take a real hard look at how we do all kinds of business at the university, including athletics. What I want them to tell me is that we need to continue in the Western Athletic Conference. If that's what they wish to do and they feel that's the way we can win then, as the No. 1 fan of UH sports, I'm for it.
"If there is an opinion that perhaps we ought to be in the Big West or Mountain West or perhaps some teams should be in one and football should be in another or football may even be an independent.
"That we may have an opportunity in the future for consideration for the Pac-10, then I'm for that," the president said.
UH, which joined the WAC in 1979, is second only to Texas-El Paso in seniority among the 10 current members.
Dobelle said, "I just want to understand whether the WAC is ultimately the right place for us since it has had several iterations since we became a member. It just seems to get bigger and bigger and now we skip over half the country to get from the West Coast to almost the East Coast, and we don't even play in the middle anymore."