Bolla ousted, had been on paid leave

Updated: April 8, 2009, 10:22 PM ET
Associated Press

HONOLULU -- The University of Hawaii ousted women's basketball coach Jim Bolla, who had been investigated by the school after allegations he kicked a player in practice.

"Jim Bolla is no longer an employee of the university," athletics director Jim Donovan said Wednesday in a conference call from Indianapolis where he was attending NCAA meetings.

Donovan repeatedly declined to answer questions regarding Bolla.

"It is a personnel matter," he said. "I don't have the authority to make any comments. So you can ask me for the next hour, I'm not going to make a comment because I don't have the authority to say anything."

Bolla could not be immediately reached for comment. A man who answered his office phone said the coach was no longer with the team and had already packed up his belongings and left.

A search for a replacement was launched Wednesday. Associate coach Pat Charity will serve as interim head coach until one is recommended by a five-member committee that includes former coach Vince Goo.

The search comes at a critical time with national letter of intent day coming up April 15.

"I wouldn't put a day or week on it just because you never know what curve balls will be thrown at you," Donovan said. "We're going to try to make it as fast as practical, but make sure we've got the right person."

The job posting expires April 24. According to state guidelines, the job will pay between $118,488 and $209,784.

Bolla, who can appeal the university's decision, had been at Hawaii since 2004, but has been on paid leave since Feb. 13 while the school investigated the incident. He missed the final nine games of the season, and the Rainbow Wahine finished 8-23, a school record for the most losses in a season.

The 57-year-old Bolla, who was given a four-year extension in 2007, had two years remaining on his contract at about $120,000 a season. His wife, Dallas Bolla, was hired by the school as an assistant coach in November.

The contracts for her and two other assistant coaches were not renewed by the school. However, they could apply for the head job or be retained by the new coach, Donovan said.

Bolla's departure ends a tumultuous five-year run at Hawaii, where the Rainbow Wahine were 64-80 with no postseason appearances.

He was hired by former athletics director Herman Frazier despite not having coached since 1996. He succeeded Goo, who retired after a 334-166 record with 10 postseason berths in 17 seasons.

Bolla is UNLV's winningest coach in program history. He compiled a 300-120 record in 14 seasons from 1982-96 and was a three-time Big West coach of the year. He led the Lady Rebels to seven regular-season conference titles and 11 postseason appearances, seven in the NCAA tournament.

Bolla was a center at Pittsburgh. He was a starter for the 1973-74 team that won 22 straight games and fell one win shy of reaching the Final Four.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press