Ferd's Words Law reaches milestone with dedication, passion By Ferd Lewis Jan. 3, 2012 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. When they told Jeff Law he could be the new University of Hawaii-Hilo men’s head basketball coach, he was so excited he barely heard the qualifier: It was an interim appointment and he’d have to reapply for the position in seven months. When they told Law his predecessor had left some scholarships unfilled, he couldn’t wait to hit the road recruiting. Then they explained he had a $300 budget to do it with. When they gave him the keys to the place he was so thrilled, he hardly knew what to do first. Then he looked in the equipment room and saw a handful of basketballs — half of which were flat. So when Law reached his 200th victory with the Vulcans on Saturday, it was a milestone triumph that went beyond just numbers. It spoke to an investment of dedication and spirit — not to mention a putting down of roots — that is going on 14 seasons now. Law is the longest-serving coach of the all-collegiate era at Division II Hilo. The 200-153 record — 6-3 this season entering tonight’s game against Hawaii Pacific University at Blaisdell Arena — is remarkable when you consider where the Vulcans have come from and what they have had to work with. By way of comparison, Law’s two immediate predecessors, Bob Wilson and Jim Forkum, had a combined 180-190 record over 13 seasons. The program begun by the legendary Jimmy Yagi had suffered four consecutive losing seasons when Law jumped in. “When the job opened up, I thought he’d be a good fit in Hilo,” said Riley Wallace, who encouraged Law, his then-UH-Manoa assistant, to pursue the job in 1998. “I felt he understood local ways and he’d work real hard. I thought he’d be good for their program.” Law will tell you he was the big winner in the deal. The now-49-year-old son of a college coach had always wanted his own program to shape. And he found the opportunity in a place where the community and administration have been supportive within the available means. Never mind that it has meant rolling up his sleeves and doing a lot of fundraising. Or that it has involved recruiting on a shoestring in ways he never encountered at UH-Manoa. For example, Law said he hasn’t brought a potential recruit in on an official paid visit in six years. Meanwhile, he’s had to mix and match precious scholarship resources to stretch over 10-11 players, giving three-quarters of a tuition, room and board package here and one quarter to somebody else, as permitted in Division II. But people in the profession say coaching has been in his blood. Law’s father, Norm, who was a head coach at Division III Plattsburg (N.Y.) and an assistant at Pitt, recalls being given “drawings of plays by Jeff when he was 7 or 8 years old. He asked me if I could use them in a game,” Norm said. “I’d take him to camps I was working and he’d sleep in his camp clothes just to make sure he’d be the first one at the early drills in the morning,” Norm said. For someone who arrived as an “interim” hire, it is beginning to look like Law has found a home. Reach Ferd Lewis at email@example.com or 529-4820. Previous Story Joaquim's value obvious when he's on the bench Next Story Eh, UH. You got good value for your coach. Why hide it?