Gaels' Smith here for interview
Less than 24 hours after advertisements closed for the University of Hawai'i men's basketball job, interviews began in the search to find a successor to Bob Nash.
Kyle Smith, associate head coach at Saint Mary's, was said to be in town for a meeting with athletic director Jim Donovan and his advisory committee yesterday. Donovan declined comment and Smith did not return calls seeking comment.
But the timing would have been good for Smith, whose Gaels' won the West Coast Conference Tournament Monday with an 81-62 win over Gonzaga, and await their NCAA Tournament pairing today on Selection Sunday.
Smith, 40, has been with the Gaels for eight years and previously coached at Air Force and the University of San Diego. He is said to be the successor designate if Gaels' head coach Randy Bennett leaves for another job.
The UH committee is expected to go to the Mainland, possibly as early as Wednesday, to begin meeting with additional candidates.
One of them may be former University of Utah coach Ray Giacoletti, who has emerged as the most experienced known candidate to date.
The 47-year-old Giacoletti, who is an assistant at Gonzaga, has a career head coaching record of 171-123 with stops at North Dakota State, Eastern Washington and Utah.
He was 54-40 at Utah and took the Utes to an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance. He has been an assistant at Washington and Eastern Illinois.
Giacoletti said he has talked to Donovan and is, "very interested in the Hawai'i job. It is a unique job (and) in a lot of ways I think it would be the right fit for me and my wife. I think it fits who I am."
Giacoletti said the UH position is the only one he has applied for because he deems it "the best fit."
Meanwhile, former San Jose State head coach Steve Barnes has reportedly been recommended to UH. He is in his sixth year as associate head coach at Southern Mississippi. Barnes was 39-51 with the Spartans.
Donovan declined to confirm the candidates, but said he has heard from "30 to 40" and "we're moving along as fast as we can."