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StarBulletin.com

UH begins search for Wahine coach


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POSTED: Thursday, April 09, 2009

The search for a new women's basketball coach to replace Jim Bolla at the University of Hawaii will carry beyond the national letter of intent signing day of April 15, when recruits can officially commit to colleges.

Saying he wanted to make a decision “;as soon as practical,”; UH athletic director Jim Donovan announced a five-person search committee that includes former Rainbow Wahine coach Vince Goo.

Applications posted online yesterday by the university on both local and national Web sites will remain available until April 24.

“;We want to get the best of candidates possible to be in the mix for the position,”; Donovan said in a teleconference from Indianapolis. “;So, doing something in a rushed manner I don't think serves the purpose of getting the best candidate, or best candidates to apply. The only other thing I'll say is, I didn't create this timeline—I'm just working with it.”;

Donovan said Bolla was no longer an employee of UH as of Monday afternoon, and assistant Pat Charity would continue to serve as interim head coach. He did not say whether Bolla would be fired for cause—meaning that UH wouldn't have to pay out the remainder of his two-year contract—or if a settlement would be offered for the roughly $240,000 remaining on his deal.

A university source, though, indicated on Tuesday that a “;negotiated settlement”; was a possibility.

All university employees have the option to go through an appeals process.

Bolla, a five-year coach at UH, told the Star-Bulletin yesterday that he'd meet with his legal and union representation today on his next move. He also said on Tuesday he intends to file a grievance on his dismissal.

Donovan, meanwhile, focused on moving forward yesterday and would not comment on Bolla's situation except to confirm that the coach is no longer an employee of UH.

The search committee for the new coach is headed by associate athletic director Marilyn Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano. Besides Goo, the winningest coach in program history, the group includes prominent booster Don Murphy, David Uchiyama of the Hawaii Tourism Authority and former UH player and gender equity advocate Jill Nunokawa.

Donovan said he didn't think the lack of a true head coach during such a critical recruiting juncture would cripple the program, and that he didn't want to confine himself to a drop-dead hire date.

“;I wouldn't put a day or week on it, just because you never know what curveballs will be thrown at you with peoples' schedules,”; Donovan said.

“;We're going to make this as fast as practical, but make sure we get the right person.”;

The Wahine have three scholarships available for the 2009-10 season, but there has been a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the program since Feb. 13, when Bolla was placed on paid leave for allegedly kicking a player in practice last fall.

Bolla's assistant coaches—Charity, Matthew Paton and Dallas Bolla (Bolla's wife)—continued to recruit locally and on the mainland despite the head coach's plight.

Donovan said yesterday the three assistants were given a 90-day termination notice on April 1. But they can apply for the head coaching job, or could be selected to stay with the new head coach.

Charity declined comment on her interest for the position yesterday. She went 3-6 as acting coach this year, and 6-2 in 2007, when Bolla was out with an infected lung.

When asked if Charity was a serious candidate for the job, Donovan said, “;I'm very grateful for the attitude and the approach that Pat took as an interim head coach in this situation, and I'll leave it at that.”;

The application states that UH prefers a coach with at least five years of coaching experience, ideally at the Division I level, but that it would review equivalent forms of experience.

Bolla went 64-80 in his five years.