Shot clock ticking on next hire
Nick Livi has waited more than a decade to play for the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team.
But it is the next few weeks that might be the toughest for the junior college guard.
"I'm hoping they name a coach kind of soon," Livi said from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where he was an all-conference and all-region combo guard for North Idaho College.
North Shore-born and partially Seattle area-raised, Livi, who is of Samoan ancestry, is one of a handful of players who say they have scholarship offers in hand from UH and a lot of interest in the school but are waiting to see who will be the successor to the departing Riley Wallace.
UH is expected to have three to five scholarships to award come national letter of intent day, April 11, the first day that recruits can sign binding commitments. The hope, indeed, the necessity, is that UH will have a new head coach in place by then to secure them.
The new salary range of the head coaching position, capped at $400,000 without administrative exception, was put in place Thursday and the deadline for applications is three days away.
"So, I hope something happens soon," said the 6-foot-1 Livi, who said he also is being pursued by Utah State and Nebraska. "I've gotten to know some of the coaches there (at UH) and want to see what the situation will be."
Nor is he alone. Coach Clif Wegner, who sent All-Western Athletic Conference performers Michael Kuebler and Mark Campbell to UH from Clackamas (Ore.) Community College, is also closely following the UH situation. The 'Bows are among the schools that have been recruiting his power forward, 6-foot-10, 240-pound Brian Freeman.
It has been 20 years since the 'Bows have been in the market for a new head coach and this search comes smack dab in the middle of an important recruiting season for UH. The 'Bows must replace their top two scorers, Matt Lojeski and Ahmet Gueye, and begin setting the stage for the following year when they lose five seniors.
In Freeman's case, Wegner said, "Brian and I are very close and while he's going to make the decision, I'm going to consult with him and I'd like to see who the coaches are going to be (at UH) first," said Wegner, who listed Boise State and Pepperdine as among those also pursuing Freeman. "I'd like to recommend Hawai'i, but you want to know if it is going to be coach (Bob) Nash or exactly who it is first."
Said Wegner: "It (the choice of coach) is a pretty damn big factor in that (recruiting) equation."
Reach Ferd Lewis at email@example.com or 525-8044.