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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Boyle could be good fit, if interested

 •  Two more interview for hoops opening

By Ferd Lewis

When Tad Boyle was growing up in Greeley, Colo., in the 1970s he'd regularly dribble a basketball from his home on Reservoir Road to the new Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion on the University of Northern Colorado campus, a distance of less than a mile.

If you are the University of Hawai'i, the question today is: How far from that hometown comfort zone is the 47-year-old Boyle prepared to stray now?

Boyle is the head basketball coach at UNC and, though no one will acknowledge it, he could be the No. 1 contender to replace Bob Nash.

The operative word here is "could" because, despite UH's demonstrated interest in him, there is little indication that he has put both feet into a candidacy for a job 3,389 miles away.

People in Colorado say UH was granted permission by UNC officials to talk to him last week but, apparently, no conversations have taken place between Boyle and the 'Bows in the interim.

Former Southern California assistant coach Gib Arnold met with UH athletic director Jim Donovan and an advisory committee yesterday and Saint Mary's associate head coach Kyle Smith had an interview Saturday.

Boyle, however, is the only sitting Division I head coach who has even publicly commented on the job and the one who most fits UH's shopping list right now: a demonstrated program builder on a budget.

Boyle burst onto UH's radar in November when his lightly regarded Bears came into the Stan Sheriff Center and knocked off the 'Bows, 81-75. Both boosters and UH officials who met him came away impressed. And he talked glowingly of UH.

What Boyle has done in taking the Bears, a program that transitioned from a downtrodden Division II to Division I, to a school-record 24-7 record in four years has opened eyes. That he has done it in malodorous Greeley on a shoestring budget is all the recommendation he should need for the rebuilding task that awaits at UH.

Which, on the eve of UNC's first Division I postseason appearance, a www.CollegeInsider.com Tournament game tomorrow against Portland, might be one reason athletic director Jay Hinrichs, is hustling to increase the $110,000 annual base salary.

UH paid Nash a reported $240,000 salary and is said to have a $300,000 ceiling on this hire.

But the bigger hangup with Boyle might be a reluctance to yank at his roots. He and Hinrichs share a University of Kansas tie. In addition, Boyle's wife is from Greeley and his mother still lives in that house near school.

With all that, has this become a four time-zone leap of faith for UH?