Punahou's Taylor has much to offer Wahine


POSTED: Saturday, April 25, 2009

Many think this is a lost recruiting year for the University of Hawaii women's basketball team. Signing day came and went, no new players.

What else would you expect with no permanent head coach in place and the program in turmoil? Jim Bolla has struck back with a vengeance after his firing, at the other kind of court. UH could be tied up in litigation for some time.

This, however, hasn't scared off potential replacements.

Some big names, including Joan Bonvicini and Cynthia Cooper-Dykes, have displayed more than a passing interest in the Wahine post. So has Mark Trakh, who was the USC coach.

ANOTHER INTRIGUING candidate, known to most fans locally but not outside of the state, told the Star-Bulletin's Brian McInnis on Thursday that he'd filed an application.

This despite the minimum qualifications being far from Taylor-made for the four-time girls high school state championship coach.

But don't count him out just yet.

Mike Taylor has no college experience, but the Punahou head coach should get an interview even if it's just to pick his brain—and he says he's fine with that.

“;Personally, I want to see the program flourish again,”; Taylor says. “;I don't think it would be overnight, but I think it can happen quickly.”;

Quickly, yes ... he won't say it himself, but hiring Taylor could possibly save the recruiting class, just like that.

He was the prep coach of twins Shawna-Lei and Shaena-Lyn Kuehu, the most dominant duo in Hawaii high school basketball history over the course of their careers. Punahou won three state championships with them, falling short only when they were both out injured as juniors.

Shawna-Lei, the three time state player of the year, told me a couple of months ago that she wants to go to UH this fall, after a year off from school.

Shaena-Lyn had a fine freshman season at Idaho. But could the idea of playing with her sister and for her high school coach bring her home?

Another candidate could conceivably deliver the twins—Idaho assistant Gavin Petersen. Petersen also has the advantage of having previously coached at UH under Vince Goo.

Like Petersen, George Wolfe is a former Hawaii assistant with a nice-guy image—which is what the program might need right now.

Athletic director Jim Donovan says there can be equivalent qualifications that make up for a candidate's lack in other areas. He stopped short of saying that a coach with no college experience could get the job.

Taylor says he's open to the idea of being an assistant at UH. This shows a strong willingness on his part to sacrifice a secure gig to test himself at the next level, since he is also a teacher at Punahou.

WHENEVER there's talk about a high school coach moving straight to college head coach, Gerry Faust's name comes up. He was highly successful in the prep football ranks, but didn't quite make the grade at Notre Dame.

Whether this means anything at all in regards to women's basketball a quarter-century later is highly debatable.

We do know Mike Taylor might be able to provide a ready-made recruiting class of two very good players.

Reach Star-Bulletin sports columnist Dave Reardon at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), his “;Quick Reads”; blog at starbulletin.com, and twitter.com/davereardon.