Sports

Kalaheo’s Smith ‘Plans to Apply’ for UHH Hoops Job

March 29, 2013, 3:31 PM HST
* Updated March 29, 5:16 PM
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The next person to take over the reins of the University of Hawai`i at Hilo men’s basketball program could be a close friend and former colleague to former coach Jeff Law.

Current Kalaheo High School head coach Alika Smith tells BigIslandNow.com that he plans to apply for the vacant head coaching position at UH Hilo. Smith said that he has fielded many inquiries from people asking about his interest in the job.

He said Friday afternoon that, if given the chance to coach the Vulcans, he would “move in a heartbeat.”

The connection between the two men goes back to Smith’s collegiate career at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. The heralded guard played for the Rainbows from 1994-1998. Law was an assistant coach during that time, working for head coach Riley Wallace.

Law brought Smith on as an assistant coach at UH Hilo in 2001. The all-Western Athletic Conference guard also assisted under Wallace at Hawai`i.

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Smith’s head coaching profile includes one season at Punahou School, where he guided the Buffanblu to a 24-4 record and third place state finish in 2009. He has spent the last three seasons at Kalaheo, where he was won a championship in each division in the last two seasons.

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Over the last few seasons, Smith has taken his prep teams to tournaments played on the Big Island. Last season, the Mustangs won the Waiakea / Kea`au Invitational Basketball Tournament with a win over Konawaena High School.

UHH’s head coaching position has been advertised on the university’s human resources web site. According to athletic director Dexter Irvin, over 200 applications have come in for the job. Applications are currently being accepted for the full time position through April 19. A head coach is expected to be in place by June 1.

A five-person committee, made up of two community members and three university staff members, will sift through the applications before recommending a select number of candidates to Irvin. The athletic director said Friday that the candidates for the committee have been selected but not finalized. He said that should take place next week.

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Assistant coach Zac Zepponi is currently overseeing the program.

***Updated to reflect that Alika Smith has not yet applied for the position.***

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