HONOLULU --- Former Southern California assistant Gib Arnold was introduced Saturday as the University of Hawaii's new men's basketball coach.
''It's not every day a dream can come true I am thrilled, excited, humbled and grateful for the opportunity,'' said Arnold, whose father, Frank Arnold, went 11-45 as the UH coach from 1985 to 1987.
Gib Arnold succeeds Bob Nash, who was fired after going 34-56 in three seasons with the Rainbow Warriors, including a 10-20 mark in 2009-10.
UH ATHLETICS photo
Gib Arnold was an assistant coach at Southern California for the past five seasons.
''(I wanted someone) who was hungry, had extensive recruiting experience and a plan specific for UH,'' said athletic director Jim Donovan. ''Also someone with a clear vision for the future of our basketball program and could fit into Hawaii's unique culture. That's why Gib is here with us today.'' Donovan said seven finalists were interviewed among 50 applicants. The other favorite was believed to be Saint Mary's associate head coach Kyle Smith.
''I'm well aware of what this team and university means to Hawaii,'' said Arnold, who served as an assistant at USC for the past five seasons before being fired this month by head coach Kevin O'Neill.
Arnold was head coach at Southern Idaho from 2003 to 2005 and has held assistant positions at Pepperdine, Vanderbilt, Loyola Marymount and Utah Valley State.
Arnold, a Punahou School graduate, said the job has ''special meaning,'' because he's following in his father's footsteps. He is the program's 19th coach. His father was the 16th, preceding longtime coach Riley Wallace.
Gib Arnold acknowledged that his father's time was ''a tough era.''
''As a son, I've got the opportunity to change that (and) build a program that the people of Hawaii can be proud of,'' he said.
Arnold said he told his father about the job the previous night.
''He cried. He was very excited and proud,'' he said.
Arnold said he plans to capture all the top talent in Hawaii and build recruiting pipelines to the islands from the Mainland.
''When you call (recruits), they're going to listen just because it is Hawaii,'' he said. ''You need to understand which ones are doing it for the beach and bikinis and which ones are doing it for the basketball.''