POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Apr 26, 2011
It was time to come back for Gavin Petersen.
Petersen was officially announced yesterday as a Hawaii women's basketball assistant coach for the second time in his career, this time under Dana Takahara-Dias, who has been head coach the past two seasons. The University High alum got his Division I coaching start under Vince Goo from 2002 to 2004.
Petersen spent the past seven seasons as an assistant of Jon Newlee — himself a former Goo assistant — at Idaho State and Idaho. He was also a finalist for the UH women's head coaching job that eventually went to Takahara-Dias in 2009.
"I feel like it would be a good opportunity for me to work for another head coach. All head coaches are different, and there's a lot I could learn here at the University of Hawaii," Petersen said. "At the same time, I feel like I can help from what I've learned from being away. ... It was a great opportunity to come home, be with family and friends, and do what I love."
Takahara-Dias said Petersen takes over as the team's recruiting coordinator. She first knew him during their brief shared time under Goo, when she was an administrative assistant and he a manager in 1999.
"I really do believe he has excellent recruiting skills, something he's developed over the years," Takahara-Dias said. "He's going to be such a great asset to us. ... He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, which is greatly needed at this time."
He replaces Sherice Ajifu, the director of basketball operations who filled in as an assistant once Gabe Henry left midway through the 2010-11 season.
Idaho State earned three postseason berths in Petersen's four years there, while Idaho is coming off its first postseason appearance in 25 years.
Petersen's wife, Karen Ada Petersen, was also an Idaho assistant under Newlee, and is accompanying her husband to the islands. However, with associate coach Da Houl and assistant Margot Richards still on board, there are no other vacancies on the Wahine staff.
Petersen said he left on good terms with Newlee, who attracted attention at the end of the Idaho-UH game at the Stan Sheriff this past season. In the postgame handshake line, Newlee pointed his finger at Takahara-Dias and brought up the game's physical play while the two shook hands. Petersen said it got overblown.
"Heat of the moment, heat of the battle type of thing," he said.