Since being hired to fill out the Rainbow Wahine basketball team’s coaching staff for the 2017-18 season, Darron Larsen hasn’t had much time to settle into his new office.
When the former Pepperdine assistant’s addition was finalized earlier this month, his first assignment took him from Los Angeles to Chicago, where he met up with head coach Laura Beeman and fellow first-year assistant Courtney Locke to scout a tournament.
After arriving in Honolulu last week, he shuttled between apartment hunting while getting acquainted with the Rainbow Wahine players in his first week on campus.
It was a quick initial stay, though, with another week-long recruiting trip scheduled to start on Friday.
“There’s not time to take a breath,” Larsen said in a rare break in his schedule, “but I kind of like that.
“I was really looking forward to getting back into working and sitting on the sideline and evaluating talent and super excited to come here and meet the girls and see what we’re working with and so far I’ve been really impressed with not only the work ethic but the skill level and their ability to take in a new coach, a new voice.”
Larsen’s hiring finalized the new-look Wahine staff heading into Beeman’s sixth year as head coach. He joins Locke and Berry Randle in acclimating to Hawaii this summer.
“Since arriving in Hawaii, meeting the rest of the staff, it’s like a little family here,” Larsen said, including director of operations Teneshia Ruff and trainer Erin Tillman in the welcoming committee. “They’re real inclusive here, we’ve been out to dinners and they’ve looked out for me.”
Originally from New Zealand, Larsen spent the last two seasons as the top assistant at Pepperdine, which underwent a coaching change following last season. He coached with the Manawatu Jets of the New Zealand Men’s National Basketball League for the previous five years, including a stint as head coach.
With UH looking to fill all three assistant positions this summer, Larsen connected with Beeman in California.
“As soon as my wife and I met Coach Beeman we were sold on her vision and the passion that she showed and her personality and we left hat meeting (saying), ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve hit the jackpot.”
In the announcement of Larsen’s hiring, Beeman noted his “expertise in offense” and will have a hand in crafting the UH attack this season.
“It’ll be interesting to go through the things that I use and see what works with these girls and what doesn’t and the skill sets that they have and then we can tweak that,” Larsen said.
While Larsen embarks on another week of evaluating prospects on the mainland, teh current Wahine player continue offseason workouts, including small group sessions with Randle in the 2-hour allotment per week.
“All of us have different strengths in different areas,’ Larsen said. “The first thing I saw was (Locke’s) organization with the recruiting and she was right on top of things. And Coach Berry with the individual skills he’s been doing, it’s always great to see a different coach work and pick up new drills ,new nuances, new language, new coaching cues. And Coach Beeman putting her emphasis and they way she demands focus and energy all the time. We’re blending in together and so far it’s pretty good.”