Is this a Goo-d time for Vince to unretire?


POSTED: Thursday, April 09, 2009

Speculation has spread quickly. Who should replace Jim Bolla as University of Hawaii women's basketball coach? One of the best ideas—as a short-term solution—is the guy whom Bolla himself took over for five years ago.

Some of you like it, some of you don't.

Unfortunately, Vince Goo says he's in the second category.

“;Someone asked me if I'm interested in the program,”; says Goo, who retired after 17 years with a 334-166 record. “;The answer is, 'Yes.' I'm very interested in the program. But not in coaching it.”;

Goo is on the search committee, and it sounds like he started with his own soul. Maybe he'll reconsider?

Athletic director Jim Donovan says he wouldn't count Goo out if he wants the job, even though he's on the committee.

The impression I get is Goo prefers the role of king—or queen—maker to taking the throne himself this time. And whoever gets it could be in for a royal pain. The situation makes you marvel at Goo's success; this is not an easy job.

» First of all, you're always going to be in the shadow of one of the best volleyball programs in the country. That's the way it's always been, and always will be in our lifetimes. You just have to deal.

» Next season's coach is going to face this: A band of empowered 19-22 year-olds. The players won a war against authority. They stood up against a coach they didn't like and they got him fired. That is remarkable, and it could translate into a confident, closely bonded team of winners—or, without a strong new coach, an outfit that will insist on doing things its own way, because it beat city hall.

» This first year of recruiting? Forget about it.

Letter-of-intent day is next Wednesday, and coach applications will be accepted until nearly the end of the month. It's not like top-notch prospects were lining up in the first place. (But Shawna-Lei Kuehu told me she intends to join the Wahine, though, and if that holds up, Merry Christmas eight months early, new coach!)

» But it will all be worth it, you say, because of the six-figure annual salary. Right now, the pay range is between $108,488 and $209,784.

I've heard that after the board of regents meet next week, the range might be more like that of William Hung than Mariah Carey—low, and it won't sound good.

Unless Geno Auriemma or Pat Summit magically appears, the next coach is not going to start out with anything close to Bolla's salary.

NOT THAT there will be a shortage of fine candidates.

There will always be plenty of coaches who think they can beat the odds, many in need of a job somewhere.

And it won't be too hard to out-do the predecessor.

Donovan says he wants the best person, period. Gender equity advocate and search committee member Jill Nunokawa will make sure there are plenty of qualified women to choose from. There hasn't been a female head coach of one of UH's big three women's team sports since softball's Rayla Allison 19 years ago.

Bobbie Awa, Pat Charity, Da Houl, Mark Mugiishi, Alika Smith and Mike Taylor are among the names floated yesterday. Some will sink quickly for various reasons, including interest.

Clearly, the new coach must know the difference between discipline and abuse. It should be someone experienced and serious, yet inspirational and approachable.

Here's hoping the search committee doesn't give up on the idea of one of its own members, even if just for a year to buy time. He meets the qualifications, and the myriad challenges would not keep Vince Goo from success.

They certainly did not the first go-round.