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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 8, 2010

UH will be on clock if it buys out Nash


By Ferd Lewis

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Bob Nash

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The season has ended for the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team but does the school have one more fast break left in it?

An announcement on head coach Bob Nash's status could come today and if the decision has been made to buy him out, UH will need to move swiftly to name a replacement in this recruiting period.

The concern is that there is a reason that the words "swift" and "UH" have rarely been used in the same sentence when it comes to coaching hirings. Hirings there have tended to move with the speed of molasses. Uphill.

Which is why the hiring of Greg McMackin as football coach was remarkable. Say what you want about the sticker shock terms that came with it, but UH and we're talking mostly Mānoa Chancellor Virginia S. Hinshaw here moved with alacrity if not history-making speed for the institution to make the hire in nine days.

Usual practice at UH has been to advertise a position for at least 10 days, spend time sifting through the paperwork, convene a committee of some sort, take some long lunches, watch as some candidates drop out and, eventually, get around to making a hire.

But Hinshaw promised to move "expeditiously" in the football hiring and then kept her word and set a new standard by shepherding the process to a swift conclusion.

It is how things are done at most major college athletics programs and now, you hope, the precedent has been set at UH.

The belief that it might have been was reinforced last month when the UH Board of Regents adopted a fast-track policy for hiring coaches that allows the athletic director, with the blessing of the chancellor and president, to run a hire and prospective salary past a couple key regents rather than have to wait for a time-consuming and publicly disadvantageous gathering of the full board.

Whether the timing was purely coincidental with the basketball situation at UH, as officials maintained, we'll let you decide.

But clearly there are mechanisms in place for UH to make a swift, by its standards at least, and competitive hire when it wants to.

It should want to this time.

In waiting for the basketball season to end and the postseason opportunities to expire before sitting down with Nash, athletic director Jim Donovan has honored Nash's 31 years at the school as a player and coach.

If a change is to be made, then it is time to respect the program and its future by making the hiring a thorough yet expeditious one.