Ferd's Words UH should extend Arnold’s contract, but protect itself By Ferd Lewis June 23, 2013 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. Men’s basketball coach Gib Arnold wants a contract extension and the financially troubled University of Hawaii is leery of being stuck with another expensive buyout if he doesn’t produce. That, in a nutshell, is one of the issues looming over Arnold’s impending renegotiation. There are others, of course, but this is central to some of what has helped put UH in its current deficit bind and will require some creativity from athletic director Ben Jay. On July 1, Arnold will step into the final season of his current three-year contract, an agreement that mandates "for a period of 60 days, starting July 1, 2013, athletic director and coach shall engage in good faith negotiations for a new agreement." Not "may" but "shall." It is rare language for a coach’s contract at UH, but then it is also a situation unique for the curious twists and turns that have brought the parties to this point. Arnold was initially given a three-year deal at $240,000 in 2010. Because someone in Bachman Hall let the formal contract languish for more than a year and Arnold guided the Rainbow Warriors to a 19-13 finish in his rookie season, that deal got heavily redone. But not before it had become caught up in a political tug-o-war that reached the Board of Regents. What Arnold wound up with, in essence, was a brand new three-year deal with provisions that could trigger a series of automatic one-year extensions if specific performance targets were hit for 2011-12, ’12-’13 and ’13-’14. For example, in 2011-12 an NCAA or NIT appearance or 18 wins would have tacked on an additional year. In 2012-13, an invitation to the NCAA or NIT or 18, 19 or 20 victories — depending on a sliding scale of strength of schedule — would have extended the deal. But none of those thresholds were met. What Arnold does have is an overall 52-44 (24-24 conference) record, the best percentage for a coach’s first three seasons at UH. And a compelling case for continuity at the top. Having Arnold under contract beyond the upcoming season gives him something to sell in recruiting this fall, no small consideration when it comes to replacing what will be three players entering their final season of eligibility. Anything less and you can expect it to be used against UH in recruiting. UH has been burned so often with six-figure buyouts (Greg McMackin, Herman Frazier, Bob Nash, etc.) that it has become legend. Not to mention a hot topic in "Wonder Blunder" hearings at the Legislature. Arnold’s present salary of $344,000 a year would be another big one to swallow, if it came to that. And it shouldn’t. You’d like to think that after operating a revolving door on his program, a more mature, experienced Arnold can lower the heavy attrition that has taken a toll. The hope is that instead of stumbling to a finish at season’s end, this will be the one where the ‘Bows finally hit their stride in an eminently winnable Big West. In the meantime, while UH should give Arnold an extension, it behooves the school to attach a modest buyout figure that doesn’t deepen the mistakes of the past. Reach Ferd Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 529-4820. Previous Story Free Mountain West streams leave UH fans up a creek Next Story What if UH had held firm with SMU, as Celtics did?