Jeff Hall might feel like the guy who puts in all of the quarters only to watch someone else hit the jackpot.
Hall helped build the UC San Diego women’s volleyball team before accepting the top assistant coaching job with the Pacific men’s team. Then, after recruiting nearly every player on this year’s Tigers roster, he resigned to become an assistant coach with the Hawaii men’s volleyball team.
"It’s always disappointing because you invest in them," Hall said. "You feel like you’re letting them down."
» Who: No. 13 Pacific (7-12, 3-10) at No. 9 Hawaii (8-9, 6-6)
» When: 7 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday
» Where: Stan Sheriff Center
» TV: KFVE (Ch. 5)
» Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM
But a friend in the coaching business told Hall: "The players are the first ones to recover when a coach leaves a position to go to another place."
After deciding to pursue the UH job last summer, Hall resolved to "always root for (the Tigers) unless we’re playing against them."
That clause is about to be activated. The Warriors and Tigers meet tomorrow night and Saturday night in the Stan Sheriff Center.
At Pacific, Hall was the No. 1 assistant coach — actually the only assistant coach — and recruiting coordinator. He based his recruiting philosophy on Pepperdine’s model.
"I was looking for height, talented height," Hall said. "If there was a kid maybe a little shorter with more talent, I was going to take the kid with more height.
"Believing in our talent to teach in the gym, I was hoping to get the taller kids and making a presence at the net."
Hall faced two obstacles: Pacific’s tough academic standards (and accompanying pricey tuition) and Stockton’s reputation as being a less-than-scenic destination.
"I’d refute that," Hall said of the California town’s perceived image. "I lived there as a student. I brought my family there. My quality of life was very good over there."
UH head coach Charlie Wade, who coached the Pacific women’s team for two years, said: "Stockton gets a bad rap. In terms of places I’d rather live, I’d rather live in Stockton than Lincoln, Nebraska. And it’s a great school. … If you want to do something, it’s close to the mountains, close to Napa Valley, close to the city, close to the beach."
And Hall probably would have remained except he learned of the UH opening.
"I worked across the hall from Charlie for a couple of years," Hall said. "And I knew Dan (Fisher, UH’s associate head coach) because he’s (a Pacific) alumni brother, too."
What’s more, Hall said, "Hawaii is one of the premier places to work inside of volleyball. It was a difficult decision. That’s my alma mater, and Joe (Wortmann) was my coach and my boss. But the opportunity to come to Hawaii was too great. I knew it was a steppingstone in the right direction.
"There was a regression in your career in title alone. But I’m not so ego-driven that it mattered. It was a better opportunity to win a national championship sooner. And my family could live in Hawaii."