Coleman named new UH-Hilo coach


GE Coleman has been named the new University of Hawaii at Hilo men’s basketball coach.

UH-Hilo athletic director Dexter Irvin officially announced Coleman’s hiring Monday, ending a three-month, nationwide search to replace veteran coach Jeff Law, who resigned after the 2012-13 season. Law spent 15 years at UH-Hilo while compiling a 208-188 record.

Coleman’s official starting date is July 1.

It’s Coleman’s first head coaching job. He was selected over two other added finalists. Initially, there were three other finalists chosen from 361 applicants for the NCAA Division II job. But none of those three was hired by Irvin, and the AD dipped back into the group to add three additional finalists.

Coleman, 31, was the associate head coach at Central Washington University before accepting the offer last week to coach the Vulcans. News reports surfaced last week that Coleman had been offered the job and accepted it, but Irvin and other UH-Hilo officials declined comment until all paperwork could be processed as well as getting final approval from UH-Hilo chancellor Donald O. Straney.

Irvin met with Straney on Monday, and the school announced Coleman’s official hiring later in the day.

“I am very happy and excited to have such a quality coach and person as our new men’s basketball coach,” Irvin said. “GE brings strong recruiting and successful coaching experience to our department.”

Coleman takes over the UH-Hilo program from Law, who stepped down in mid-March after finishing last season with a 6-19 record and then accepting the head coaching position at Western New Mexico University.

Coleman was picked for the UH-Hilo job over Ferris State University (Mich.) interim head coach Andy Bronkema and ex-St. Martin’s University head coach Keith Cooper.

“I would like to thank Dexter Irvin and the search committee for giving me this incredible opportunity,” Coleman said. “I am looking forward to joining the UH-Hilo family and the Hilo community. With my experience recruiting and coaching successful teams in the West Region, I believe we can get the Vulcan basketball program to where we all envision it to be. We will play an exciting brand of full court pressure basketball and have a program that our institution and community can be proud of.”

According to information provided by UH-Hilo, Coleman is a 2005 graduate of Central Washington and began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant at NCAA Division I Eastern Washington (2005-07). He helped develop six-year NBA veteran Rodney Stuckey of the Detroit Pistons, the 15th overall pick of the 2007 draft.

Coleman then joined the CWU coaching staff in 2007. In five of the past six seasons, the Wildcats were among the top 10 NCAA Division II scoring teams and appeared in four straight regionals (2008-11). The 2010-11 squad captured the West Region’s top-ranking and finished fifth in the final NABC ranking.

Coleman was the lead recruiter of 17 all-conference selections and three newcomers of the year as the Wildcats went 111-54 (.673 winning percentage) during that span. In the classroom, 10 players earned academic all-conference recognition.

“Having been part of very successful programs, GE understands what it takes to build a great men’s basketball program,” Irvin said. “I am confident he will work tirelessly to enhance the status of men’s basketball, athletics, and the entire intercollegiate athletics program at the university.”