Wednesday, June 21, 2000
Process starts to replaceBy Al Chase
The hiring of a new University of Hawaii head baseball coach will start in earnest next month.
However UH athletic director Hugh Yoshida has already begun the process to fill the vacancy when present coach Les Murakami retires after next season
Yesterday, Yoshida said he wants to hire a coach by this fall to facilitate recruiting for the 2002 season.
However, Murakami, full-time assistant Carl Furutani and part-time assistant Les Nakama fill the NCAA allotted paid positions. They are the only ones allowed to recruit until their contracts expire after the 2001 season, unless Yoshida can find a way to work around this limitation.
Because of this unique situation, Yoshida had hoped to receive a waiver from the NCAA allowing for another paid position during Murakami's final season, but said yesterday, "that is not doable."
A number of potential candidates have expressed interest in the position. The number likely will increase when UH advertises in August.
"One challenge we face is would a head coach come out of the closet to apply?" said Yoshida.
Whoever is hired needs an income during the 2000-2001 school year. It would be extremely difficult for either a head coach or assistant to take the UH job, but still be coaching at another school during the 2001 season.
"I'll be getting a committee together in July,'' said Yoshida. "We'll need to develop a profile of who we are going after.
"We'll have to weigh what is the best time to get the job done. We'll have to be sensitive to those who might apply and to other issues."
UH normally requires a head coach to have a bachelors degree. If that were the case when the head baseball coaching position is advertised, that would be a limiting factor for interested candidates from professional baseball who didn't complete their college education.
It's also possible to grant a waiver or include a stipulation in the requirements for the position that would address that situation.
"People are getting kind of antsy," Yoshida said. "Coop DeRenne came in to see me (yesterday) and he's very interested.
"Lenn Sakata is coming in (today) to get some questions answered."
DeRenne was an assistant to Murakami for 11 seasons in the 1970s and early '80s. He is an associate professor in the department of kinesology and leisure science at UH.
Sakata, manager of the California League's Bakersfield Blase, is in Hawaii for a few days during the league's all-star break.
"The door is open and there are feelers out there," Yoshida said. "Once we advertise nationally (in the NCAA News), we'll need a preliminary screening committee to narrow the search to four or five candidates."
Ka Leo O Hawaii