Bolla at ease with contract extension
By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Michael Tsai
As Rainbow Wahine basketball head coach Jim Bolla prepares to bid adieu to five seniors this month, he'll do so with the knowledge that they will be the first of at least four classes he will have shepherded to graduation before his time at UH is through.
Unannounced by the university, Bolla signed a four-year extension over the summer that will keep him at the helm through the 2010-11 season.
The agreement, negotiated between Bolla and then-athletic director Herman Frazier, includes the current 2007-08 season.
Because Bolla's contract was finalized before the salary range for his position was raised by the University of Hawai'i Board of Regents this month, his pay is still restricted by the previous salary.
The Regent's action raised the maximum annual salary for the position from 71,388 to $135,000, to $118,488 to $209,784.
Bolla's original three-year contract called for an annual salary of $120,000. While declining to specify the terms of his current agreement, Bolla said his salary falls "on the low end" of the current range.
Bolla is 55-55 since taking over the program in 2004.
Bolla said he asked Frazier for a five-year deal.
"When you go to a recruit's home, that's the question every parent asks, 'How long is your contract?' " he said. "If you can say four or five years, that puts the parents at ease."
The contract negotiations began in Bolla's second year at UH, when he guided the Rainbows to an 18-10 season, and continued on for a year and a half.
"When you're a coach who doesn't have a contract and you have a contract sitting in front of you, you try to negotiate," Bolla said. "But when you reach a point where they say, 'this is what you're going to get,' you've got two choices: sign it or don't sign it."
Like other UH coaches, Bolla is eagerly awaiting the hiring of a permanent athletic director.
Bolla said he and Frazier discussed goals and benchmarks for the program in the course of the contract discussions (although these were not included in the contract itself). However, "what was expressed isn't applicable anymore because the person who expressed them is no longer our athletic director," Bolla said.
"Until we get a new athletic director, we don't know what the expectations are," he said. "Do we have to win the conference? Do we have to be in the top three? That comes from the athletic director."
Bolla said he's encouraged by the increased recognition and support of the athletic department as a whole by lawmakers, the UH administration and the community in the wake of June Jones' departure. He said he's been assured that he will finally be able to complete his staff with the hiring of another assistant coach sometime before next season. The Rainbows have been without a fourth coach since associate coach Lacole Brooks left last year.
Yet, like many other programs within the department, the women's basketball team continues to be hamstrung by staffing shortages.
Like other programs, including football, the Rainbows do not have a secretary. (Associate coach Pat Charity recently missed two weeks of practice to cover those duties.) Nor does the program have a director of operations.
Reach Michael Tsai at firstname.lastname@example.org.