The University of Hawaii unveiled its new men’s basketball head coach Thursday morning.
Eran Ganot, 33, was introduced by Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman in a press conference at 9 a.m. at Stan Sheriff Center.
Ganot was the associate head coach at Saint Mary’s and was chosen for the position over interim head coach Benjy Taylor.
Ganot previously spent four seasons, from 2006-2010, at UH, serving first as director of basketball operations under Riley Wallace, then as full-time assistant coach under Bob Nash. He thanked both of them in his speech.
A handful of interviews were conducted in Indianapolis at the Final Four by incoming athletics director David Matlin, which included Ganot, Taylor, Columbia head coach Kyle Smith and others.
Ganot said that the head coaching position at the University of Hawaii is his dream job. He said he has always wanted to be the head coach at somewhere he coached or played for and that he thinks of Hawaii as his home.
Ganot said that he is “big on family and people” and that success “starts and ends with people, with leadership.”
When asked if he’s had the chance to sit down with Benji Taylor, Ganot said he has not at this point. However, he does know Taylor and wants to be respectful of the “terrific season” the players and staff had this past year.
Ganot was also asked about the potential NCAA sanctions. He said that the challenge and uncertainty drew him to the job because he wants to make an impact on the program. He believes UH has a great compliance department and said a few times that he is not going to be looking for excuses. He plans to tackle the issues and make sure there are no problems moving forward.
Ganot has met with the current players briefly and plans to meet with them one-on-one in the near future. He understands that this is a challenging time for them and wanted to be “open and spear from the heart.” He says that players are the priority and he wants players that want to be in Hawaii.
KHON2 interviewed longtime assistant and former University of Hawaii men’s basketball associate head coach Jackson Wheeler on his thoughts on the hiring of Ganot.
Wheeler, who was with the UH basketball team for over 21 years, worked with Ganot when Ganot was in his 20s. Wheeler says Ganot is excited and knows that it will be tough. He compared Ganot to Jamie Dixon, head coach of Pittsburgh since 2003, in that he is driven, hard working, and is engulfed in the game.
Wheeler believes that Hawaii will like him as a person and a coach.
Wheeler also thinks that there was a need for change with the program and they needed to move away from Gibb Arnold.
Scott Robbs, UH radio and television play-by-play announcer, says that Ganot is an up and coming young coach. While he doesn’t know him well, he says that people he has talked to that do know Ganot really like his hiring.
Robbs was asked about players leaving the program and his answer was that there were already rumors that 2 or 3 players were already leaving and that players leaving happen all the time in NCAA basketball programs.
Robbs says the real challenge will be when and if the NCAA levies sanctions upon UH. He also highlighted the challenge in recruiting because it’s late in the season. However, Robbs believes Ganot is an organized and bright young man and already has established recruiting ties and contingency plans.