Ganot leaving UH for Saint Mary's position
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
Proof that hard work pays dividends, Eran Ganot has landed a job with one of the top basketball programs in the western United States.
Ganot was hired as an assistant coach at Saint Mary's yesterday. He was an assistant coach for the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team for the past three seasons.
Saint Mary's head coach Randy Bennett made the announcement.
"Very excited — a terrific opportunity to return to a place I am familiar with, a place where I began my coaching career and for a coach who gave me my first start," Ganot said.
It will be Ganot's second stint with the Gaels under Bennett. He was the director of basketball operations at Saint Mary's from 2003-06.
"Felt good to be a small part of getting it going several years ago, and obviously, they have taken it up a notch," said Ganot, 28. "I will try not to screw that up."
Saint Mary's finished with a 28-6 record last season, and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The Gaels have a record of 81-20 over the past three seasons.
Ganot left Saint Mary's in 2006 to accept the position of director of basketball operations for Hawai'i under then-head coach Riley Wallace.
When Bob Nash was named head coach in 2007, he promoted Ganot to assistant coach.
"Eran is a hard worker — he puts in the time to do things right — we knew that part," Bennett said. "But it was important for him to go to Hawai'i and learn; see another program, and grow as a person and a coach and I think he's done that. I can see that. He's not the 23-, 24-year-old kid we sent to Hawai'i. He has the experience and confidence now to be a full-time assistant coach."
Nash was released as Hawai'i head coach on March 8. But Ganot has remained in the UH basketball office since then, helping new head coach Gib Arnold.
Most notable, Ganot assisted Arnold with the recruiting of several of the new players who signed with Hawai'i in recent months.
"It's funny, but we really did not know each other at the start but feel real good about the relationship we have built," Ganot said of Arnold. "I have obviously had a lot to do in a short amount of time and I'm real pleased with the progress that has been made. That's all a credit to (Arnold). He has a lot of energy, a lot of passion. I have enjoyed the experience."
Arnold said: "I've enjoyed working with Eran over the last two months. He's a great guy and a hard worker. I know it's a tough move for him, but I understand it from a financial and professional standpoint. He's a great young coach and we'll miss him."
Arnold added that he offered Ganot a role on his staff, and Ganot said it was a difficult choice.
"It was hard for me to leave Saint Mary's the first time around. Same deal here," Ganot said. " Hawai'i is special. The people here are off the charts. Hard to put all that into a couple words. Needless to say, it holds a special place in my heart and always will."
Ganot will be one of two Saint Mary's assistant coaches with Hawai'i ties. Mark Campbell, a former point guard for the Rainbow Warriors from 2001-03, is also an assistant coach for the Gaels.
"We'll have to see how often we can get out there to play because I know those two guys will be bugging me about it all the time," Bennett said.