Big name interested in UH basketball job


POSTED: Friday, April 10, 2009

Joan Bonvicini, one of the winningest coaches in NCAA women's basketball history, is interested in being the next head coach at the University of Hawaii, according to two sources.

The position has been vacant since Monday, when former coach Jim Bolla was removed. UH is accepting online applications until at least April 24.

“;I would assume she'd be interested in the job,”; said Vince Goo, a former UH head coach and member of the five-person search committee. Goo hadn't heard directly from Bonvicini, a longtime friend, but was expecting to soon.

Attempts to contact Bonvicini, Idaho associate head coach Gavin Petersen and former UH men's assistant Alika Smith yesterday were unsuccessful, but other sources told the Star-Bulletin they are all interested in the post.

Former UH assistant Da Houl, a top candidate for the job when Bolla replaced Goo five years ago, declined comment on her interest. If she does not apply for the job, she could end up on a staff headed by Petersen.

Former Rainbow Wahine player Nani Cockett and longtime Kalaheo High School boys and girls coach Chico Furtado both said they are not interested in applying.

Bonvicini was the NCAA women's Division I Coach of the Year in 1981. She was a four-time coach of the year finalist for both the Naismith College (1998, 2000, 2003, 2004) and the Associated Press (1984, 1997, 1998, 2004) awards.

UH states in its application that it seeks a coach with five years of college coaching experience, preferably at the Division I level.

Bonvicini passes that test. In 29 years of coaching at Arizona and Long Beach State, she owns a career record of 612-294. In February 2007, she became the 18th women's coach in NCAA history to hit 600 wins. She is the all-time leader in wins at Arizona, where she spent 17 years before being fired in March 2008 with one year left on her contract.

Bolla said yesterday he is planning to use “;every avenue possible”; in filing a grievance against the university for his dismissal for cause, and that the initial appeals process is underway.