Hawaii fires hoops coach Nash

HONOLULU -- Bob Nash was fired as coach of the University of Hawaii's men's basketball team on Monday after posting a 34-56 record over three seasons.

"This was a very tough decision," athletic director Jim Donovan said in a statement. "No person has shown more dedication to UH basketball than Bob Nash."

Nash was a member of the "Fabulous Five," a group of UH basketball players during the 1970-71 and 1971-72 seasons that led the team to a 47-8 record. They made the postseason twice, including the school's first NCAA tournament appearance.

He became head coach in 2007 after 23 seasons as an assistant coach, replacing Riley Wallace, who retired after 20 years at Hawaii and making his mark as the school's winningest coach with 334 victories.

As the program's 18th head coach, however, Nash was unable to steer his teams onto a consistently victorious path. His first season ended with an 11-19 mark, including upset wins over New Mexico State and Utah State. The team finished Nash's second season with a 13-17 mark.

This season, Nash compiled a 10-20 record overall, 3-13 in the Western Athletic Conference. The team was hampered by injuries or other maladies. Each of its 11 scholarship players missed either practice or game time due to an injury, illness or suspension.

Last year, he recruited junior college All-American Roderick Flemings, who recently was selected as an honorable mention on the all-Western Athletic Conference team.

"Ultimately this comes to a business decision based on win-loss record, not Bob Nash's character or how well he performed in other aspects of the program," Donovan said.

A national search for a new coach will begin immediately, Donovan added.

The university will have to pay Nash approximately $240,000 to buy out the one year remaining on his contract.

Donovan said he has received $100,000 from anonymous sources to help mitigate that cost, adding that he intends to raise more to cover the remaining amount.

Junior point guard Hiram Thompson, the only starting player eligible to return next season, said he would prefer to play for Nash.

"We have a good relationship and I know what to expect from him," Thompson told The Honolulu Advertiser. "There's definitely a bright future for next year with the personnel we have coming in."