University of Hawaii at Hilo men’s basketball coach Jeff Law will not return for his 16th season and has accepted the head coaching job at Western New Mexico University.
UH-Hilo athletic director Dexter Irvin announced Monday that Law was leaving for the job in Silver City, N.M.
“Every assistant coach looks for that break, and I’m very grateful that the university and the Hilo community gave me mine,” Law said. “I’ve learned much over the past 15 years about myself, coaching and people. Hilo holds a special place for anyone who has been here, and it will with me.”
Irvin praised Law’s contributions to UH-Hilo.
“The university is very grateful for the stability and leadership coach Law has provided to Vulcans men’s basketball for the past 15 years,” Irvin said. “We look forward to a new opportunity, and we will move forward as quickly as allowable to hire a new and well-qualified coach.
“Our men’s basketball program has been the flagship of our athletic program, and the accomplishments of our students and the team is an important step in building the overall success of athletics at UH-Hilo.”
Vulcan assistant coach Zac Zepponi will oversee the program, including recruiting, until a new head coach is hired. Until Monday’s announcement, Law had been recruiting for UH-Hilo.
“Change could be good for everyone, even the players,” Law said. “Fifteen years is a long time, and now it’s time to start something new.”
Irvin said a search for a new coach has begun, and UH-Hilo will develop the qualifications and job description, then advertise the position for 30 days. Once the application deadline ends, a search committee will interview the finalists and make a recommendation to Irvin, who will forward it onto the UH-Hilo chancellor for final approval.
Based on past UH-Hilo experiences, the hiring process may take 45 to 60 days before a new coach is brought on board.
Law’s new job will start April 1.
Law will work under WNMU athletic director Mark Coleman, a longtime friend and former WNMU men’s basketball coach. Coleman brought his team to play the Vulcans on several occasions over the years.
The NCAA Division II Mustangs were 10-16 overall this past year in Coleman’s final season with the team before moving into an AD-only position.
In Law’s 15 seasons leading the Vulcans, his teams compiled a 209-186 overall record.
During his tenure, UH-Hilo captured one Pacific West Conference title and advanced to the NCAA Division II West Regionals on three occasions. He also earned two Coach of the Year awards, and his program produced 24 all-conference players.