Nash names ’Bows staff
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New Hawaii head basketball coach Bob Nash stayed close to home while adding a renowned member of UCLA's storied history to fill out his first coaching staff.
Hawaii's basketball staff will have a different look next year
As expected, Nash retained associate coach Jackson Wheeler, who will enter his 18th season with the program, and hired Eran Ganot, the Rainbow Warriors' director of operations last season, to assistant coach. He also hired Larry Farmer, a member of UCLA's dynasty under John Wooden and a former Bruins head coach.
"We've assembled a diverse coaching staff that addresses all of our needs," Nash said. "Recruiting, a seasoned bench coach and a young technology- and computer-savvy coach."
Wheeler, 47, handled much of the Rainbows' recruiting responsibilities during his 17 years coaching with Nash and former head coach Riley Wallace and will continue as the program's recruiting coordinator.
Farmer, 56, played on UCLA's national championship teams from 1970-73, experiencing just one loss in his career. He returned to Westwood to coach the Bruins from 1981 to 1984. He was also head coach at Weber State and Loyola-Chicago as well as the Kuwaiti National Team. He had served as a color commentator with ESPN, Fox Sports and CBS Radio in recent years, working UH games.
Ganot, 25, joined the UH program last year as director of operations. Among his duties were coordinating team travel, working with the scout team, and assisting with recruiting, scheduling and film exchange.
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"Diverse" is the word Bob Nash used to describe his first group of assistant coaches.
In making the adjustment from longtime assistant to head coach, Nash assembled a group that offers a range of resources in finalizing his staff.
When Nash makes his debut as the Hawaii basketball team's head coach in November, he'll have the familiar presence of Jackson Wheeler, the head coaching experience of Larry Farmer and the youthful energy of Eran Ganot alongside him on the Rainbow Warrior bench.
Wheeler has worked with Nash for the past 17 years and will continue to coordinate the program's recruiting efforts.
Farmer, a member of UCLA's John Wooden-led dynasty in the early 1970s, returns to the profession after coaching stints at UCLA, Weber State and, most recently, Loyola-Chicago.
Ganot's work ethic in his lone season as UH's director of operations helped him land his first job as a full-time assistant.
"I truly believe this staff has the right mix and the same vision to continue the winning tradition that Coach (Riley) Wallace helped build," said Nash, a 26-year UH assistant and associate coach himself, before being hired to succeed Wallace in April.
Wheeler has continued working since Nash was hired, moving one room over from his previous office. Ganot has also continued to work around the office while his hiring was processed. Farmer is scheduled to arrive next week.
Nash's goal was to have the staff finalized before the start of the summer evaluation period, which begins today. Nash will spend most of July traveling to various tournaments, with the assistants taking turns on the road while also spending time in the office to help look after the Rainbow players already on campus.
While Wheeler and Ganot have already established themselves in the Rainbow program, Farmer brings a wide-ranging résumé with him to Hawaii.
Farmer, 56, played at UCLA from 1970 to 1973 and contributed to the Bruins' run of seven national championships. He returned to Westwood to coach the Bruins, going 61-23 from 1981 to 1984. The 1982-83 UCLA team finished 23-6 and was seventh in the national polls.
He went to coach at Weber State from 1985 to 1988 (34-54) and overseas with the Kuwaiti National Team. He returned to college coaching in 1998 for a six-year stint at Loyola-Chicago that ended in 2004 (71-102).
His career also includes assistant coaching jobs with the Golden State Warriors and at Rhode Island.
"We had always talked and he said if we had an opening he'd like to be considered," Nash said. "I felt with his background and the things I want to do with our style of play that he would be a great asset. I feel he fits with us as a staff and fits what we want to do. ... Larry's a very genuine person."
More recently Farmer, who has recruiting contacts on the West Coast and in the Midwest, had traveled the country as a color commentator for ESPN, Fox Sports and CBS Radio, working a few UH games along the way.
"I've always sensed a family atmosphere in a college setting. Everyone knows each other and cares for one another and for me to join Coach Nash's first staff, I'm really excited and looking forward to the opportunity."
Wheeler has been a fixture on the UH staff since Wallace hired him in 1990 and was expected to retain his role when Nash was hired in April. He has spearheaded the program's recruiting and will continue that responsibility, though the entire staff will have a hand in evaluating prospects.
Over the years, he mined the junior-college system to attract former UH standouts Anthony Harris, Anthony Carter, Trevor Ruffin, Troy Ostler and Michael Kuebler to Manoa. Under Nash, the emphasis will be more on high school players. The Rainbows' lastest recruiting class included two incoming freshmen and two sophomores from junior colleges.
"Jackson has a wealth of knowledge on how to recruit to Hawaii," Nash said. "We've asked him to look more to high schools and he's demonstrated that he can do that."
"I'm really excited to be able to start this new chapter with Coach Nash," Wheeler said. "I'm grateful to Coach Nash for giving me the opportunity to continue at this university and a program that I love and am proud to be a part of."
Joining the coaching veterans will be a newcomer to the profession in Ganot. He previously served as an administrative assistant at St. Mary's, before joining the UH staff as director of operations last season. His duties last season included helping in recruiting, coordinating the team's travel and working with the scout team.
Nash called Ganot a rising young star in coaching and cited his background in using technology in announcing the hire.
"He has a tremendous work ethic," Nash said. "Last year he demonstrated there was never any task that was to small or too big and he was very meticulous and thorough."