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UH: Arnold, Akana out as men’s basketball coaches

  • STAR-ADVERTISER / 2014
    With a three-year extension
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o Riley Wallace willing to talk to UH about head coach job

The University of Hawaii announced Tuesday afternoon that Gib Arnold has been removed from the position of head men’s basketball coach.

Assistant coach Brandyn Akana has also been “relieved of coaching duty,” according to a press release sent out by the university.

Arnold will be paid a lump sum for the remainder of his contract through June 30, 2015, and will be officially employed through Jan. 26. He was to be paid $344,000 for the entire 2014-15 season.

Akana will also be employed through Jan. 26 but will not be entitled to additional compensation, UH said.

“These painful but critical steps are being taken in an effort to strengthen our athletics program and to do right by our student athletes and students in general,” athletic director Ben Jay said in a statement. “We appreciate the work of Gib and Brandyn and wish them both the best in the future.”

Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman said: “We are committed to setting the best possible examples for our players not only on the field of sports but in life. Athletics Director Jay has my full support in these steps that will strengthen the long-term future of our athletics program and our university.”

Arnold, whose program has been under NCAA investigation since March, was about to enter the fifth season in his tenure leading the Rainbow Warriors.

He is expected to be replaced in the short term by associate head coach Benjy Taylor, sources indicated to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Also, former 20-year head coach Riley Wallace has been mentioned by sources as a strong candidate to take over for Taylor for the rest of the 2014-15 season, which begins Nov. 14.

The university has been in the process of deciding on self-sanctions in advance of the NCAA releasing its findings in the case, which could come before the regular-season opener vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Arnold did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment. 

Last Thursday amid talk of university self-sanctions, Arnold sought to reassure the UH fan base. He released the statement: “The Hawaii fans need to know that we are doing the best we can to run a program they can be proud of. We are not paying players, committing academic fraud, putting our student-athletes in harm’s way or treating them poorly.

“We have yet to even receive a notice of any possible allegations from the NCAA. Nor have we been given our mandated 90 days to respond to any allegations. If there has been anything administratively in our program where we have fallen short we will learn from it and correct it immediately.”

Earlier this year, UH self-reported to the NCAA a Jan. 9, 2014 situation where, “a men’s basketball coach submitted an altered document that was essential for admissions purposes,” according to information obtained by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser under the state’s open records law.

UH is to play an exhibition vs. Hawaii Pacific on Nov. 6.

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CORRECTION: A previous version of this story reported that Gib Arnold and Brandyn Akana would be employed through Jan 31. They will be employed through Jan. 26.

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