Sturza Named Assistant Men’s Hoops Coach at UH-Hilo
GE Coleman didn’t have to look far to find an assistant coach to join him at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo.
Tyson Sturza, who recently served as a graduate assistant at Central Washington, has joined Coleman at UH-Hilo. Coleman was the associate head coach at CWU before leaving to take the head coaching position with the Vulcans.
In a radio interview, Coleman described the ties that his family has with Sturza’s family. “His two uncles actually played high school basketball for my father (Gil) in the state of Washington. I’ve been close with their family for a long time.”
Sturza spent two years under head coach Greg Sparling at the Division II Wildcats. Prior to that, he coached high school basketball for a couple of years in Washington.
Like his new 31-year-old boss, Sturza is also young. He graduated from CWU in 2011, six years after graduating from high school.
Coleman described his new assistant as “someone I’m very comfortable with, someone who knows what I’m looking for as far as student-athletes and style of play and what we’re looking to do here in Hilo.”
Coleman will also look to bring in a volunteer assistant coach, a role filled on former coach Jeff Law’s staff by Don Caffee. The new coach said that he currently had “five or six people we’re looking at right now, but we’re so busy getting situated here right now, that’s down the line a little bit.”
Sturza replaces Zac Zepponi, who served for one season under Law. After Law’s departure, Zepponi oversaw the program until Coleman was hired. The 26-year-old assistant was not asked to return after his contract expired at the end of June. He is finalizing a coaching opportunity at a Division II men’s basketball program.
In the interview that aired on ESPN Radio and ESPNHawaii.com Tuesday, Coleman said that he was close to officially signing a recruit for the upcoming season. Director of Athletics Dexter Irvin previously said to Big Island Now that the Vulcans had five players on the roster prior to the hiring of Coleman.
“We picked up our first commitment this morning,” said Coleman. “Can’t really comment on it, but somebody that will help our program and bring something to the table for the community of Hilo academically and athletically.”
Per NCAA bylaws, universities cannot officially comment on specific recruits unless the school receives signed documentation that the student will attend.
The challenge of filling out the currently thin roster remains for Coleman. “Obviously, we need more than one (recruit), so we are hitting the recruiting trail hard. We’ve been on the phone pretty much constantly since we got this job.”