Takahara-Dias hires assistants
By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer
In hiring a staff tasked to help reprise the glory days of University of Hawai'i women's basketball, one of new head coach Dana Takahara-Dias' first calls was, appropriately, to the Manoa campus' manager of duplicating services, Da Houl.
Houl, a former UH player and assistant coach, will be the associate head coach, joining assistant Serenda Valdez and director of operations Sherice Ajifu on Takahara-Dias' staff, the school announced yesterday. One assistant coaching position remains to be filled.
None of the calls, to this point, required directory assistance. Takahara-Dias and Houl were UH teammates for three years, and Takahara-Dias spent five years in the late 1990s on head coach Vince Goo's staff with Houl and Valdez, who were assistants.
"If (Takahara-Dias) was looking for loyalty in her assistant coaches and if she was looking for people that love and care for Wahine basketball, the players and boosters, she made some excellent choices," Goo said. "That's exactly what they gave me for 12 years, loyalty and hard work and a lot of caring for the program."
Houl, who was born in Cambodia and grew up in California, played at UH from 1984-87, starting 43 games. She was an assistant coach for 12 years at UH until 2004. For the past five seasons she has been an assistant at Mid-Pacific Institute while overseeing Manoa's duplicating services.
Valdez, who was born on Maui, played at Cal Poly Pomona and coached in California. She has a master's degree from UH, where she coached for 12 years. For the past five years she has been assistant director of student affairs in the athletic department.
Takahara-Dias said Houl will coach the point guards and be the primary on recruiting although all three will recruit. Valdez will coach the wing players and be the primary on academics.
Ajifu, a graduate of University of the Pacific, has been a coach at Mid-Pacific.
Takahara-Dias, who will coach the post players, said she will take her time hiring the third full-time assistant. "We want to make sure we get the right person; the right fit," she said.
While the coaches will be new to the players, who were all recruited by former coach Jim Bolla's staff, Valdez said, "One advantage we'll have going is that we (the coaching staff so far) will know how to work together. We'll mesh because we know the philosophy and coaching techniques. We're kind of ahead of the game on that."
As for whether Goo would be interested in returning as an assistant, he joked, "That isn't going to happen. Take orders from them now, are you kidding?"