Thursday, November 26, 2015         


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UH likely to pay for dropping the ball on Arnold’s contract

By Ferd Lewis


Perhaps you remember the TV commercial where the auto mechanic holds up an oil filter saying, “You can pay me now” and the mechanic behind him rebuilding an engine warns, “... or you can pay me later.”

The inference being that it is wiser to take care of things before they have the potential to become problems.

Which is a lesson that could yet be learned the hard way by the time the University of Hawaii finally concludes a contract with Gib Arnold, the men’s basketball coach.

Had a full agreement been signed, sealed and executed in the weeks and months after Arnold took the job March 19, 2010, as it should have been, UH might not have found itself talking to Arnold’s representative yesterday about a yet-to-be-executed complete contract.

Instead, UH was left at season’s end holding only a three-quarter page “major terms for agreement” and one-page bonus schedule signed in March 2010 because the paperwork languished far from the athletic department in that infamous black hole somewhere on the upper campus. While things such as new boilerplates and standard language were debated and pondered things changed.

Now, in the wake of UH’s first postseason appearance in seven years, matters have the potential to get more expensive and complicated.

The considerable leverage UH enjoyed when it hired Arnold, who had no head coaching experience and was several weeks out of a job as an assistant at Southern California, has diminished. Back then, it could have said, “take it or leave it” and had other suitors standing by.

Now UH sits across the table from the representative of a coach who went 19-13, the best first-year head coaching record at UH in 37 years, and it is compelled to listen to a point.

This time last year Arnold was largely negotiating his own terms. Now he has people — advisor Russell Kaupu, a local sports and entertainment attorney, for instance — to talk to UH’s people.

Meanwhile, the market price at peer institutions has risen, as they are sure to argue.

Witness that Fresno State this month hired as its head coach Rodney Terry, someone with no previous head coaching experience, who will receive a reported $325,000-$350,000.

Whatever Arnold, who was contracted at $240,000 for his inaugural season, receives in a raise figures to add up to more than the base salary of Riley Wallace’s 20th and final season at UH.

Whatever clauses athletic director Jim Donovan and Arnold talked about or agreed upon 13 months ago can, in the wake of subsequent events, be put back on the table for reconsideration or amendment.

Arnold will have his hands full hitting 19 victories again without Bill Amis and Hiram Thompson while plugging in a whole new batch of recruits. The more he reflects upon that the more reason he has to look for security in his contract while he can get it.

And more reasons to thank whoever it was who lollygagged on his contract.


Reach Ferd Lewis at

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