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Assistant coach Parrish named head coach at D-II Westminster

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The official announcement is out that now former-assistant coach Norm Parrish has been selected as the new head coach of the NCAA Division II Westminster College basketball program in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Parrish departs the University of Hawai’i staff after less than four months as an assistant coach under Eran Ganot. Parrish has long-established ties in Utah, and came to UH after stints as a 20-year head coach at Salt Lake Community College, and then four years as a Director of Basketball Operations at the University of Utah.

This leaves Ganot with a position to fill on his staff with about six weeks remaining until the start of official practices in October.

Here is the official announcement from UH Athletics:

HONOLULU – University of Hawai‘i men’s basketball assistant coach Norm Parrish has accepted the head coaching position at Westminster College in Utah. Parrish was hired this past May by UH Head Coach Eran Ganot after four years at the University of Utah and 20 years as head coach at Salt Lake Community College before that.

“It is with mixed emotions that I have accepted the head coaching position at Westminster College,” said Parrish. “I have truly enjoyed my time at the University of Hawai‘i and have definitely felt the aloha spirit of this community and institution. I appreciate the chance that Coach Ganot gave me and am grateful for the chance I had to work with him and the outstanding staff he has assembled. The university is first class from the administration down to the entire athletic staff. I look forward to witnessing the success of the basketball program.”

“I’m really happy for Norm on this terrific opportunity to once again run his own program in an area (Salt Lake) he is very familiar with,” added Ganot. “Westminster is getting a great man and a top-notch coach with a proven track record of success both on and off the floor. While it is never easy to lose a member of your team, we couldn’t be happier for Norm and his wonderful family as they embark on this new challenge.”

Parrish had unprecedented success at Salt Lake Community College including a 25-7 season in 2011 and a trip to the Region 18 championship game. In 2009, the team won the NJCAA national championship, the first in school history, along with its second consecutive Region 18 championship. Parrish received the 2009 NJCAA National Coach of the Year award for his efforts. In 2008, he coached the Bruins to a first-place finish in the Region 18 tournament and a runner-up finish at the NJCAA national championships.

The search for Parrish’s replacement is currently underway.

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And here is the official announcement from Westminster Athletics:

SALT LAKE CITY – Westminster College director of athletics announced today that Norm Parrish has been hired to lead the Griffin men’s basketball program. Parrish will come to Westminster after a stint as an assistant coach at the University of Hawaii and four seasons as the director of operations at the University of Utah.

“We are excited to welcome Norm Parrish to Westminster College as our next men’s basketball head coach,” said Shay Wyatt, director of athletics. “We appreciate the interest shown by many in Westminster College and this opportunity as our search process included an impressive and qualified candidate pool. Coach Parrish brings extensive experience in all aspects of successfully managing a college basketball program. He has the experience and skills to lead our men’s basketball student-athletes as we transition into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and begin the NCAA Division II membership process. Our coaches, staff and I look forward to welcoming Norm and supporting his efforts.”

During his four years at Utah, Parrish assisted the Utah Utes return to prominence. This past season the Utes finished 26-9 and returned to the NCAA Tournament securing the program’s first NCAA tourney win since 2005 on their way to the Sweet 16. In 2014, Utah earned a bid to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT), its first postseason appearance in five years.

“I consider it an honor and privilege to join Westminster College,” said Parrish. “I am well aware of their academic and athletic traditions and look forward to leading the men’s basketball program as they transition to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and NCAA Division II ranks. I am confident the men’s basketball program will reach a new level of success in the RMAC because of the foundation already established. My goals are simple: I want people to say that our men competed, were well prepared and represented the college in a first-class manner.”

Prior to Utah, Parrish led the men’s basketball program at Salt Lake Community College to unprecedented success averaging 22 wins over 20 seasons as head coach, including a 25-8 season in 2011 and a trip to the Region 18 championship game. In 2009, his SLCC team won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national championship, the first in school history, along with its second consecutive Region 18 championship. Parrish received the 2009 NJCAA National Coach of the Year award for his efforts. In 2008, he coached the Bruins to a Region 18 championship and a runner-up finish at the NJCAA national championships.

Parrish will become the third coach to lead the Westminster program since it was reinstated in 1999, and only the fifth since 1956. He joins the Griffins as they begin play in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and in their first year of the NCAA Division II membership process.

A five-time Region 18 Coach of the Year, Parrish also led the Bruins to the 2000 SWAC regular-season championship. In 1994, just his third season as head coach, Parrish steered SLCC to the Region 18 tournament title and a fifth-place finish at the NJCAA national championships. Parrish finished with a career record of 447-198 (.693), eclipsing the 20-win mark 14 times.

Under Parrish’s stewardship, SLCC had 20 NJCAA All-Americans and 24 NJCAA Academic All-Americans. Nearly 50% of his players moved on to compete at the NCAA Div. I level with several now playing professionally in the NBA and internationally. In addition, many of his former student-athletes continued their academics and athletics at NCAA II, III and NAIA institutions.

Before serving as a graduate assistant at Utah, Parrish was an assistant at Nampa High School in Idaho, coaching football and basketball. Parrish played his collegiate ball at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) in Rexburg, and then at Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa. He received all-region honors at both institutions. Parrish attended Viewmont High School in Bountiful, Utah, where he received all-state honors in football and basketball.

Parrish earned his Bachelor’s degree in Social Science Education from Northwest Nazarene in 1988 and received a Master’s in Health, Physical Education and Recreation from Utah State in 1992. He and his wife Kaye have three sons, Travis, Matt, and Collin.

17 Comments

  1. Thanks for nothing, norm.

  2. ^^^ Nah, gotta give him congrats and wish him the best of luck. I still wonder if there’s more to the story.

    I would not consider all head coach at D2 a step up from D1 assistant. I would even say D1 assistants get way more looks for D1 head coach jobs. All you have to do is look back here at UH. I would guess that some or all the D2 head coaches from Chaminade, UH-Hilo, HPU and BYU-H applied for UH job and we went with the assistant from St. Mary. Even after his years at St. Marys Ganot was more known around here than those D2 coaches.

  3. Chuck,
    D1 assistants at big time universities get good looks for D1 head coaching opportunities. Norm is a #2 assistant at a non BCS school. It’s also about the money. The cost of living is very cheap in SLC and he could do much better financially there.

  4. Good luck Norm. Send some of your players our way. Good ones of course.

    Now to move the family and everything back to Salt Lake.

    Maybe ZJ can be considered for the position.

    Let’s hope that all of our players return between now and the weekend as we prepare for the 2015 – 2016 season.

    Go Bows!

  5. I don’t know what his salary is going to be at Westminster and money talks but there’s got to be a place in this world for honor and commitment. He hasn’t even been here for a year and it’s not like he was offered a D-1 position. It seems like Hawaii was just a placeholder until something a little better came along. I guess it was a nice 4 month vacation while getting paid.

    I’m thinking that he and Ganot were not the best of friends but Ganot did offer him an opportunity and he should feel some commitment to paying Ganot back by at least staying for a year. I know you got to think of yourself and family but it isn’t about only yourself at least not in this case. He wasn’t going to the poorhouse if he didn’t take the job and I’m sure he would have gotten other opportunities unless he is a poor coach which I don’t believe is the case.

    Anyway, just my opinion.

  6. Agree Big Fan

    Put it this way. If you were Ganot would you hire him in the future? When you shake hands with someone you are saying to yourself that you are committed for at least the duration of the season. After that it’s a free market as far as where or what you want to do. He just burned his bridge here in Hawaii. But then again integrity is a tough pill to swallow for most people.

  7. ^^^ Yes, this. As I said before, there could be more to the story.

    I get it about the money and financial issues but I would guess that this Westminster school will not be paying Parrish much more than he was getting here. And yes I get it about the cost of living difference of here and Utah but I have to think Parrish knew that before agreeing to come here.

    I get it about going back to his hometown, but not like he leaving here for University Utah or BYU. It just does not seem like the kind of job to up and leave for after such a short time here at UH.

    Bottom line is we lose his connection to Utah recruits and have to scramble to find a new assistant at the last minute.

  8. BigFan, Servante.. just when Eran had his staff set.. That is real sudden,.. just before start of school, and all the workouts with guys, and going over season prep with Eran.

    Norm, he knows the deal, what is Best for he and his family.. JMO? I think not the right fit….living in Hawaii, maybe the distractions..

    This late in the game.. who will Eran hire? Maybe some ex Gaels coaches.. or even go internationally.

    MBB.. nature of game.. however. with the Scheduling, the limits on scholarships. the BIG ONE> the Batlle Gib vs UH vs NCAA and litigation pending.. ..

    Probably casting an internal pall on the MBB program.. Can they sweep all that under the table.? what went down, the past year?
    Nope.. UH MBB.. it will take some doing to get on board, the excitement again..I really don’t care if Eran hires Coach K. Calapari, and Coach Larry Brown.. the MBB team.. the returnees.. Those Our My guys.. .. Those are Warriors.
    Poor , or not.. Eran came into MBB job, in reverse..

    Where is Coach Merv Lopes? Or Tony Selitto.. know they are about eighty, however, big time local flavor and connections? Artie Wilson, nope.. too much vested in real estate.

    Hope the best For the Team. as Mama Valdes always says..though.. I wish.. all the returning guys would graduate within next year or two.. and GET as far away from UH as possible.. Move on..

  9. At lease he got a head coach gig, BJ out here selling used cars

  10. Selling air conditioners would be more profitable lately, although you may have a HECO power outage tonight.

  11. coaches should get some kind of penalty as players do when they transfer

  12. A true anti fan UH is no Fanz only 1. Always denigrating the school or the program. Give it a rest

  13. Good for Norm !
    Now we still have to have our priorities in order. Not that we can’t chew gum and shoot free throws at the same time. But I think we need a big first, and then an assitant coach that can recruit well. They might come in the same package, and that would be acceptable too. I suppose if Norm’s duites were to make sure the players attended study session, maybe then this takes priority. But otherwise, take the time that is needed to get his replacement.

  14. Uhfanzonly1, what is your problem? All you ever do is passive aggressively talk down about UH, Ganot, the new recruits, etc. Get over the fact that your boy didn’t get the job and move on! Your posts bring nothing positive or of substance to most of the topics you comment on. Merv Lopes and Tony Selitto!? Even your suggestions are laughable!

  15. Canda not cleared academically yet ? SA article mentioned this in story on Drammeh being added to the team which is to be announced today.

    I thought Canda was going to summer school here and working out under Eran, etc.

  16. It’s unfortunate for our program, but I don’t think it’s as big of a problem as some here suggest.

    I’m sure Parrish weighed the pros and cons extensively before deciding to move back to Utah. I’m also certain he spoke at length with Ganot.

    I’m just happy all the guys (excluding NWC of course) are still here. After all, they’re the ones who step onto the court.

    Anyone know if Zane Johnson is still involved with the program? He’s not listed on the coaching staff at hawaiiathletics.com

  17. I think Zane is still around. But volunteer coaches are not allowed in NCAA basketball and football.

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