Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Thursday, July 18, 2024 84° Today's Paper

Ferd's Words

It’s been more than a year, where is Dana’s contract?

Compared to the LeBron James sweepstakes, you’d think the hiring and signing of a women’s basketball coach to a contract at the University of Hawaii would be a slam dunk.

You’d be wrong.

Any day now, King James will announce where he will pitch his next mansion, and his people will meet with the people representing the owners of the blessed NBA franchise to put to paper how to go about stuffing the fleet of armored cars.

For this is how it is done in the real world. The one outside Manoa’s gates, anyway.

Meanwhile, already in her second year on campus, we’re told basketball coach Dana Takahara-Dias, apparently through little fault of her own, still doesn’t have what UH terms a "fully executed" contract to coach the Rainbow Wahine.

We’re not sure what "fully executed" means since there was a press conference May 27, 2009 to name her as coach and she has apparently been getting paid for more than 12 months now. She has hired four assistant coaches in that time, signed off on basketball schedules for two seasons and, by her signature, spent more than $1 million of UH’s money.

Make no mistake about it, Takahara-Dias has been up front and confirms the contract "was done months ago."

Ask the UH athletic department about it and, based upon the word it says it gets from upper campus, the official response is the agreement, "still isn’t executed yet."

Ask the state’s Office of Information Practices and its response is, "UH has represented that it does not have a fully executed contract with Ms. Takahara-Dias and, thus, does not have an agreement to provide to (the Star-Advertiser)," which has sought one of record.

Nor is anyone willing to hazard a guess when there might be an "execution" of the contract.

All of which apparently means someone up there has yet to deign it ready for signature and release. Or scratch an "X" on the appropriate line.

But that’s only a guess because this is another one of those As-Manoa-Turns chapters that fails the common sense test. It makes you shake your head because, for every step UH athletics takes toward what it likes to herald as "transparency," there is another episode somewhere up the line that makes you think "same old UH" and wonder how much things will ever really change.

Not that we should be surprised, perhaps. The process to select a women’s basketball coach was its own convoluted circus. One that, over the weeks, tested Takahara-Dias’ patience as much as anybody’s.

One minute she was the favorite of the selection committee and the next she wasn’t even on the eligibility list. Then, just as suddenly, she was back on and, eventually, introduced as the head coach. UH is still trying to explain that one. And conspiracy theories abound.

Compare this with the hiring of a men’s basketball coach this year. The selection of Gib Arnold was made in less than two weeks and the "major terms" of his agreement, including salary and termination clauses, were released within another week.

Apparently even in a state without capital punishment some "executions" occur a lot faster than others.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@staradvertiser.com.


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