Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gib Arnold to be new Hawaii basketball coach

Punahou School graduate Gib Arnold is expected to be introduced as the University of Hawai'i's new head men's basketball coach as soon as this afternoon.

The 40-year-old Arnold would take over the state's only NCAA Division I men's program 23 years after his father, Frank Arnold, stepped down as the 'Bows' head coach.

Gib Arnold, who had been an assistant at Southern California until this month, was a finalist for the position along with Saint Mary's associate head coach Kyle Smith, whose team plays Villanova today in the NCAA South Regional in Providence, R.I.

This will be his first Division I head coaching position. He was the head coach at the College of Southern Idaho (a junior college) and assisted at Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount, Vanderbilt, Utah Valley State College and Provo (Utah) High School.

Arnold is the son of former UH head coach Frank Arnold, who went 11-45 in two seasons at Manoa prior to the hiring of 20-year coach Riley Wallace. Gib Arnold played his junior and senior years of high school basketball at Punahou, where he earned Gatorade Player of the Year honors.

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Gib Arnold embarked on two quests yesterday.

Restore the names of Hawaii basketball nationally, and his family locally.

The new UH men's basketball coach realizes neither will be easy in his first Division I head coaching gig. But the former USC assistant is also wasting no time getting started.

When UH athletic director Jim Donovan turned the podium at the Stan Sheriff Center over to Arnold, it was fast apparent how he earned his reputation as a top-notch recruiter. He spoke passionately about the future of the program and was forthright in acknowledging the struggles of his father, Frank Arnold, as UH head hoops coach in the mid 1980s.

"The thing I'm most grateful for is a chance to build something special," said Arnold, 41, a Punahou graduate who lived in Hawaii for two years. "We all know we've got a lot of work ahead of us. It's not going to be easy, but it's going to be worth it. I hope that we can build the spirit of this great university and support this team as we continue to grow and develop.

"Be patient with us. There are going to be some growing pains. But I'm confident that together, we can build this program up.

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