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UPDATE: UHH Hopes to Name New Basketball Coach Soon

June 10, 2013, 3:07 PM HST
* Updated June 11, 6:14 PM
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***Updated on Tuesday, June 11.***

Despite recent setbacks, the University of Hawaii at Hilo athletic director hopes to name a new basketball coach by the end of the week.

Dexter Irvin said that the process is currently with the school’s human resources department. “I’m waiting for clearance from HR, so we hope to have a coach by the end of the week be named.”

A school official told Big Island Now Saturday that one of the coaches in the hiring’s second wave of finalists received an offer to coach the team.

It was not known which coach received that offer. When asked about the offer, Irvin said that he could not confirm it.

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Whoever is named to the position will have a lot of work to do to get the program ready for the 2013-2014 season.

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When asked what the top priority will be for the new coach, Irvin pointed to recruiting.

“We’ve gotta have a team to put on the floor,” said Irvin in a phone interview. “Recruiting will be our number one priority. We have six kids right now. We need probably another six.”

After being turned down by its first three finalists, the University of Hawai`i at Hilo athletic department recently announced the names of three more candidates in the running to become the head coach of the men’s basketball program.

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Former Saint Martin’s head coach Keith Cooper, Central Washington associate head coach GE Coleman and Ferris State interim head coach Andy Bronkema are the second batch of finalists tabbed by UH-Hilo to potentially take over the Division II basketball program.

Monday’s announcement follows a Big Island Now report on Saturday that for various reasons, each of the three finalists for the position had removed their names from consideration for the coach’s position.

UH-Hilo has been without a coach since Jeff Law resigned to take a similar position at Western New Mexico University. His departure was announced on March 18.

The new batch of names includes a former head coach at a Division II institution. Cooper led Saint Martin’s University for ten seasons before he was let go after the end of the 2012-2013 season. Cooper’s Saints finished with a 10-16 record last year, prompting the school to make a change at the position.

Former Saint Martin's coach Keith Cooper. Courtesy photo.

Former Saint Martin’s coach Keith Cooper. SMU photo.

“We sincerely appreciate Keith’s contributions to the University and to our basketball program over the past decade,” said Bob Grisham, SMU’s Director of Athletics in a statement on March 5. “After considerable evaluation, we have resolved to make a change in leadership with the goal of moving our men’s basketball program forward.”

Saint Martin’s has since hired Michael Ostlund, former head coach of Snow College.

The Vulcans play Saint Martin’s every season as part of the PacWest/Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) Challenge.

Western Oregon University and Chaminade University are the other two schools that compete in the annual series.

CWU Associate Head  GE Coleman. Photo credit: Central Washington University.

CWU Associate Head GE Coleman. Photo credit: Central Washington University.

Coleman’s father, Gil, coached the Wildcats from 1990-1995. The younger Coleman is currently in his second stint on the CWU staff.

Like Saint Martin’s, CWU also competes in the GNAC conference and is an NCAA Division II member.

The interim coaching tag was placed on Bronkema last month at Ferris State following the departure of Bill Sall.

Sall stayed in-state to become the head coach of Northern Michigan University.

Ferris St. interim head coach Andy Bronkema. Photo credit: Ferris State University.

Andy Bronkema, interim head coach at Ferris State. FSU photo.

Bronkema has spent the previous six seasons as an assistant coach at FSU, the last three as a full-time assistant coach. The Bulldogs compete in Division II and are a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

***Updated Tuesday to clarify the reason for UH-Hilo expanding its search.***

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