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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Successor must plan for major overhaul


By Ferd Lewis

Ten days ago University of Hawai'i athletic director Jim Donovan said he met with basketball coach Bob Nash and laid it on the line over lunch.

Nash's team was going to have to make the kind of late season and postseason run to demonstrate progress or the coach would have to offer up a compelling plan to change the 'Bows' fortunes next season if he wanted to finish out the final year of the contract.

Sunday night, following losses in the final two games and missing out on the WAC Tournament, Donovan again asked Nash for a turnaround plan. Something, you suspect, Donovan could sell to a demanding public and not look ridiculous

"And he couldn't come up with anything that I felt met the criteria," Donovan said yesterday.

More than an 11th hour problem, it was a telling commentary. Because you never felt these last couple of years there was an evolving blueprint or an urgency to make the kind of changes that would return the 'Bows to a winning record. Sadly, there was too much of the same-old.

So it wasn't a surprise yesterday when Donovan announced Nash was being removed.

Not to people who have been around UH for any length of time or those in the coaching community, if they were at all honest about it.

But it would be a huge surprise and an even bigger mistake if the job ends up going to somebody not committed to a major overhaul and minus an innovative, realistic plan to get the 'Bows there.

The first question Donovan and the school need to ask of prospective candidates isn't: How much will you cost us? Rather, the questions should be: Where is your blueprint for winning and how does it fit the situation that is uniquely UH?

What UH needs to demand in Nash's successor is somebody dedicated to the complex and Hawai'i-specific challenges that face the 'Bows. Not someone who is dropping off a resume at UH and a half dozen other places with a one-size-fits-all plan.

To bring winning and fans back to the Stan Sheriff Center, UH must have someone capable of recruiting not only on the Mainland but in foreign lands. Somebody, for example, willing to get off the beaten paths of recruiting and ties to do it. Somebody able to go places UH has ignored, little worked in the past or yet to think about.

Heck, it would be notable just to get the entire coaching staff out recruiting and producing again.

Ties to Hawai'i and UH aren't everything. But having a plan to address the program's limitations and a commitment to break new ground should be.