Maui Sports

Hawaii must sign Arnold to more formal deal

March 22, 2011, 12:04 PM HST
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By Fred Guzman

In the big fish eats the small fish world of college sports, it’s hardly a surprise that at least one school reportedly is expressing strong interest in luring way Gib Arnold, Hawaii’s basketball coach of only one season.

What’s more surprising is that slightly more than one year following his hiring, Arnold has yet to sign a formal contract with UH, continuing to work on a a three-quarter page “major terms for agreement” and a single-page bonus schedule upon accepting the job last March.

Arnold’s turnaround of Hawaii’s program, transforming a team that won 10 games into a 19-game winner this season, has caught the eye of more than a few athletic directors in the market for a hoops coach.

UH athletic director Jim Donovan reportedly is working on sweetening Arnold’s current – if unsigned – three-year contract by extending the deal at a higher annual rate.

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Arnold’s base salary this season was $240,000 and he earned an additional $11,500 in bonuses. That ranks sixth among WAC coaches and substantially less than the estimated $450,000 earned by Utah State’s Stew Morrill and Fresno State’s Steve Cleveland, who was released from his coaching duties this week.

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So, UH better get moving on Arnold’s new deal because he might have other options with jobs at Utah, Wyoming and even Fresno having opened up, and with more to surely follow.

Arnold’s success was reflected not only in Hawaii’s overall and WAC records, but in earning the school’s first post-season berth in seven years, it first winning season in four and showing a 38 percent increase in gate revenues.

Not bad for a team that was picked to finish last in the conference by both the coaches and media in their respective pre-season polls.

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And although senior forward Bill Amis and injury-prone point guard Hiram Thompson depart, UH will be returning almost all of its key players.

The best shooter, Zane Johnson, will be back, as will emerging sophomore center Vander Joaquim, as well as forwards Trevor Wiseman and Joston Thomas. Freshman guards Bobby Miles and Bo Barnes also return.

The Rainbows will have to wait until the end of the football season, sometime in December, before point guard Miah Ostrowski can join the team.

And that’s not to mention a promising incoming recruiting class – including fall signees Ronnie Stevens and Gerry Blakes — that includes at least two players ranked among the top 10 prep prospects at their respective positions in the SoCal area.

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