Taylor holds court at QB Club

Hawaii coach Benjy Taylor spoke at the Honolulu Quarterback Club on Monday.
Hawaii coach Benjy Taylor spoke at the Honolulu Quarterback Club on Monday.

Hawaii coach Benjy Taylor made his first guest appearance at the Honolulu Quarterback Club on Monday. He was a hit.

There were about 50 people at the Maple Garden Restaurant, the usual site of the weekly QB Club meetings. Open seats were few. Two of the local TV networks turned up.

“Unbelievable. They tell me they don’t usually get crowds like this so it was an unbelievable experience,” Taylor said afterward. “It was just a tribute to the kind of season we had, and a tribute to the players, really. It was a lot of fun. Great group. Great location, great food. I’ll be back here again, just to eat.”

The interim coach was well received, earning applause as he described the 2014-15 season and what he hoped to accomplish if he is retained, not replaced, after the current coaching search.

He was asked some tough questions about his future and other matters from the crowd during his post-speech question-and-answer period.

“Tough group … Those guys, they don’t hold any punches with the questions,” Taylor said. “But they want to know what they want to know. It was a lot of fun, though.”

Taylor leaves Tuesday for the Final Four in Indianapolis. There, he will be honored at the CollegeInsider.com awards banquet on Friday for his midseason Hugh Durham Award. Besides that, he hopes to make strides on the schedule for 2015-16.

“The Final Four’s always busy. Catching up with old friends, going to the different conventions and meetings,” he said. “I’ve already been getting emails on scheduling, I want to get together on scheduling. It’s just easier to do it face-to-face. I need to do a big jump on scheduling when I get there; that’s going to be a lot of my time spent.

“We got about two or three more home games to get. Trying to stay away from the home-and-homes, so trying to strike (stand-alone home games) while the iron is hot. So we’ll see what happens. … Of course, I’ve got to sit down with (new athletic director) David Matlin and see what his scheduling thoughts are. We’ve done a lot of work on it already. We’re close. We’ve made good headway.”

Upon his return, he said he plans to bring in some recruits for official visits the weekend of April 17.

“Hopefully we can get those guys done,” Taylor said.

One thing of interest Taylor mentioned at the QB Club podium was his recruiting targeting. He said he felt good about his needs for a guard — you can take that to mean North Idaho College sophomore Austin Pope — while he’s still going after a back-to-the-basket big man. With his last two available scholarships, he said he’d like to find a transfer (likely a Division I player who can sit out a year) and a freshman 3-point shooting specialist, ala Bo Barnes from Gib Arnold‘s first season.

“If the NCAA decides to take scholarships, we’ll be fine,” he said, alluding to the still-unresolved possible sanctions hanging over the program. “We got a great team coming back, we’ll fill a couple of holes, and we’ll go from there.”

Taylor has handled the spotlight well most of the just-concluded season. However, he conceded in a one-on-one interview just after his QB Club appearance that all the job speculation, day-to-day intrigue and off-court questions about team discipline are wearing on him a bit.

“I’m not going to lie. It’s tough. Really, really tough,” Taylor said. “I understand the process. I think it just goes to show that, I think when everything happened (with Arnold’s dismissal), there was a game plan in place. But the fact that we had such a successful year is a little confusing to some people. And you know, I’m just really shocked at the backlash of some people, in terms of the student-athletes and what we’ve accomplished in general. … We’re under such a microscope, it’s really ridiculous the kind of microscope that we’re under. And with that being said, we still were able to figure out a way to win. So that’s why I know whatever comes down the road with the sanctions, this group, if they stay together, we can find a way. We’re built for that. But yeah, it’s tough.”

Taylor was candid in his responses to questions asked by QB Club members, as well.

Here’s a transcript of some of them:

Q: Have you gotten any calls from the mainland (other schools)?

A: Wow. … Let’s just say, my only focus right now is being the head basketball coach here. And I’m going to see that through until somebody tells me differently. And then I’ll pursue whatever options are left out there after that. But I was a good basketball coach before I got here. I had a reputation before I got here. I’ve been blessed prior to getting here, and I’ve been blessed even more since staying here. This last five months have been a life-changing experience for me, on and off the floor. I’m very, very grateful for that. So whatever happens in the next couple of weeks, I’m a blessed man, and my family’s blessed. I think those players have been blessed. But it wouldn’t be right for me to pursue something that my heart’s not into, because my heart’s in the game here. And that wouldn’t be fair to the other schools. A lot of people do that, though. A lot of people who are going to apply for this job, don’t really want this job. Don’t really know about this job. It just sounds good. Hawaii? Sounds great! But this is a place, in order to be successful, you’ve got to coach from your heart here. And my heart’s here, and until somebody breaks it, I don’t really see a need to pursue anything else yet. We had a good year, let’s just put it that way. And I’m in a good place.

Q: From my point of view, the NCAA violations appear to be really manini. Is that true from your perspective as well?

A: Boy, you guys are tough, man. … Wow. (Pauses). Look, I will just have to say no comment to that right now. But I will say that, whatever happens, this group can still be very successful. I really believe that. Young men are resilient. They really are. As long as it’s nothing that would prohibit them from following their dreams and playing at the highest level, we can get through this. This group can get through this. I believe that. The NCAA is going all over the country, in a lot of different schools, and they’ve got a tough job. University has a tough job. They’ll get it worked out. But 10 years from now, it really will be manini, I think.

Q: I thought your team lost some leads this season when it got careless. Was that your observation, or is that just the way the players play?

A: That is definitely my observation. You know, the way we play is a game of runs. It takes a lot of discipline to play your best every night. And I think we played our best (almost) every night. We never got blown out. We fought as hard as we could every night. That takes a lot of discipline and a lot of focus. So we started off every game for the most part pretty good, and sometimes we’d go to the bench and lose leads. Fatigue would set in. But you know, when you watch the NCAA Tournament, it happens to Rick Pitino. It happens to everybody. Not just us. But you know, we won our share of close games and lost our share of leads. But we got better at that as the season progressed. And I think next year we’ll win even more close games like that. (This season we had) one returning starter, one senior, nobody on the roster who played more than nine minutes a game of Division I basketball. So, no team in the country was that inexperienced. … Not even close. And they made mistakes. I made mistakes. Call a timeout here, call a timeout there, sub a different guy, not sub a guy. I watched the film after the games, I’m the first one to say, ‘well, I shouldn’t have did that.’ But shoot, just the players gotta get better, I gotta get better. And I think it takes a good coach to understand that. We’re all in it together, and we’ll improve. Next year we’ll hold onto that lead and stretch it out, stretch it out. And I think next year can be another special year for us. I really do, but it’s a great observation, and yes, I certainly noticed it.

Q: Are any players leaving early?

A: As far as I know, everyone’s returning. … It’s interesting, every time I look at my phone (for Twitter), somebody’s transferring. Guys from Xavier, a guy leaving Louisville. They went to the Elite Eight. So, kids are naturally unhappy. But I don’t foresee us losing anyone currently on the team.


  1. Pocho March 30, 2015 8:06 pm

    Great questions and answers! Keep it up Coach Taylor and I appreciate the players willing to stick it out @ UH even not knowing how hard the NCAA will come down the bb program.

    Let’s Go Bows! Let’s Go Bow’s Let’s Go Bows!
    G0 Get Em Q! Hook Em Up and Reel Em In!

  2. poorboy March 30, 2015 8:45 pm

    I agree pocho. Man, Putting Benjy and team under such a microscope not nice, pono. Benjy , I follow UH MBB through past near 50 years, and including you, that makes eight head coaches. You are top of my list, with class, honor, humility and respect you have conducted youself. More people than you think are on your side and want you as permanent head coach.

    I do not like attacks on you, and your team. That is uncalled for. What you and the 14 great young student athletes has been noted nationally. You have gone above and beyond call. Wish I could make you head coach 2 months ago, you are best candidate for head man. We the fans , going to make lot of positive noise in your behalf. You are kamaaina, Son of Hawaii.
    Hang in there, concentrate on securing if can few more recruits, what more evidence can you display? Guys interested in fun, winning, team first Benjy Ball!

    You are The Best under adversity head coach any sport or any school in the nation I have ever seen.
    Our ohana give you complete support, UH power that be should listen to fanbase, any minor things you have always handled well and addressed!!
    Benjy Taylor a Real Man!!

  3. Warrior Dave March 30, 2015 8:57 pm

    I would be surprised it there are further sanctions by the NCAA. Firinv Gib and Akana got rid of the major charges. However, UH make overact and self sanction additional scholarships.

  4. H-man March 30, 2015 8:58 pm

    Let’s see if Matlin has the wherewith all to hire Benjy. Benjy has nothing more to prove in my book. He should be the next head coach.

  5. poorboy March 30, 2015 9:04 pm


    Agree, why make Benjy And his staff still out recruiting sweat?
    Move forward.
    past is past Benjy and Bows brought excitement back to SSC in short time..and with humilty and honor
    hire him..helps secure recruits!!
    And Benjy can just settle in and get ready for next season..can be very good one!!

  6. kimo browner March 30, 2015 9:24 pm

    Coach Taylor has earned a shot. Under the circumstances, I can not imagine another outcome.

  7. poorboy March 30, 2015 9:47 pm

    Kind of real slow, so much red tape, other schools head coach in place.
    Nash was late hire, think Dana T. too.
    hope our comments, even All TV news broadcasters support Benjy..they have large audience!

    Hire Benjy!

  8. ALLAN March 30, 2015 11:29 pm


  9. ALLAN March 30, 2015 11:38 pm


  10. poorboy March 31, 2015 12:26 am

    Nothing artificial about Benjy Taylor, a humble hard working, yes sir, no sir, country boy from North Carolina.
    Hey Brian, great video, I hope the Selection committee will see that video, and Matlin makes HIS FIRST INTERVIEW with Benjy . I mean… what else can he say.. the year, was on display on ESPN, BigWestTV, FoxSports West, Oceanic, live before thousands and live in person at SSC , plus the road games, Benjy and the Bows, accomplished a great season. Very hungry, new, young team, and new interim, No.. soon we have to take off that Interim or Acting.. the Next Coach for UH MBB program for years to come.. He did not just talk the talk, he walked the walk and team followed his leadership. Internal things, discipline, that was, or can be handled, not criminal that I have heard. Just Stay Positive. and Who Better to lead team through possible ncaa sanctions, if anymore… if any at all.

  11. Obake-san March 31, 2015 7:39 am

    What really impressed me about Coach Taylor is how he responds to the kids that the games. I remembered when a little girl (about 8 years old) sang the National Anthem and Hawai’i Pono I, and when Coach Taylor came out to congratulate her after she was done. Bowing repeatedly with his BIG smile. Priceless…
    Hope he gets the coaching job. Great season!!! Who would have thought…

  12. 808warriorfan March 31, 2015 8:12 am

    Some very interesting names popping up for Benjy’s job …BUT… I say he’s earned his chance for the job.

  13. man eating apple March 31, 2015 9:05 am

    Saying all the right things, but if you look deeper into the meaning…

    UH has been building a foundation for so long, that we’ve decided it’s just fine and dandy to live in the basement. Forget about trying to make the penthouse, the basement is nice and comfortable.

    ie. keep the coaching staff around that’s kept us in this comfortable spot of #5 in the mid-major Big West conference. Mediocrity never felt so comfortable. Benjy has no more to prove. You all want 4 more years of this.

    Satisfaction is the death of desire. And so many UH fans are sadly, so satisfied. I mean, it’s so scary trying to be good, what if you fail? But if we can stay happy with .500 in a mid-major conference (where we have the undisputed #1 facilities), and beating all the local DII teams a couple times every year, then why try to be better?

  14. hon2255 March 31, 2015 9:31 am

    what concerns a lot of us is drug issue and what was done , what will be done if any future incidents occur , as far as the coaches , what kind or lack there of , oversight of these students during road trips and will there be closer scrutinization of those players implicated in the incident(s) . The other issues are also off court concerning coach’s responsibilities as a parent paying child support, and rental payment issues ,all which should not have been a problem for a assoc head coach/interim head coach with the payscale he has. Somewhat troubling.
    Otherwise season was enjoyable .

  15. connor March 31, 2015 10:51 am

    Did Coach Taylor address the rumors online that he has had creditor and child support problems? These rumors seem to be circulating and I do not know the truth of them. Hopefully, they are not true and he can put these concerns to rest.

  16. bouncingball March 31, 2015 11:13 am

    UH has an opportunity to hire an excellent coach to lead UH for many years to come. Sorry, but don’t see Taylor as being that guy. A small time coach with small time thinking – very much like so many small time band wagon jumpers here.

  17. poorboy March 31, 2015 11:39 am

    bouncingball: Credit to team and Benjy and staff.. The Whole Picture, what they overcame, and almost made it to NCAA Big Dance.. That is great story, and so many guys with experience coming back with chance to add a couple key recruits, that is why, majority of Hawaii News Poll want Benjy as Head Coach Permanent. Real minority want otherwise. Hey, we suffer through 3 years of losing Football, with coach payed much more than Benjy, why not continue Winning ways, and definitely with chance to be top dog in BWC next season, I say give Benjy Taylor a chance, Fans, including yourself, want a winning program, and Hawaii will never be Gonzaga, Butler, Xavier, Wichita St. , no more the monies, yet They can be NIT or NCAA representatives from BWC for years to come, IF you keep staff and team together. Makes sense, and that is Not small minded, it is winning common sense minded.

    Star Advertiser Hawaii News Now Poll (archive)
    March 14, 2015

    Should Benjy Taylor be offered the permanent (not interim) job as University of Hawaii men’s basketball coach?
    A. Yes (87%, 1,354 Votes)
    B. No (13%, 196 Votes)
    Total Votes: 1,550

  18. poorboy March 31, 2015 11:41 am


    Very sure, under legal advisement, that is personal territory, and handled by coach. If concern of admin, they will or have addressed, don’t think Benjy would have been made Interim Acting , if huge block to his being coach for this year.
    Coach is an adult and can take care of his matters, his business.

  19. connor March 31, 2015 12:01 pm

    Thanks, poorboy. I hope that nothing more is heard of this.

  20. CJROB March 31, 2015 12:25 pm


    Let me start out by saying I am in no way a Benjy hater. In fact, I truly do hope he gets the job, however, UH/Matlin would be doing a disservice to the program if they didn’t open up the search and see who was interested. That way they can make a more informed decision.

    I agree that he did a great job, and I can actually agree he has very little to prove as it relates to handling adversity and turning a potentially disastrous season into a fun one. But that doesn’t make him the best candidate, especially when compared to a blank canvas.

    Using a Hawaii News Now poll, where most users have no idea how college athletics work, is not a good source. Keen basketball minds saw a very generic offense that was supplemented by a high pressure, blue-collar, pack line approach to defense. This was a definition of team synergy and for that, Benjy Deserves credit for mixing and matching a team that had very little experience.

    He has a great staff that apparently likes working together and for the most part, I enjoyed how the team handled themselves. When Gib was around, I felt like his temper made his own players feel on edge.

    In closing, Benjy did a great job, but I am of the firm belief that we need to make the best hire, not the sentimental one. I hope Benjy is both, but I want the former before the latter.

  21. man eating apple March 31, 2015 12:45 pm

    There’s a lot that a real fan of UH has to overcome. Just one of the things that needs to be overcome is the fallacious “thinking” that UH needs to hire someone that is familiar with the program. False. Thinking like that will keep UH at .500 in the no-name Big West.

    Here, let’s kill that fallacy right now. If UH had a chance to hire a good coach, like Coach K, would you? What we true UH fans have to overcome, is that a lot of shortsighted fans would not hire a good Coach K. Why? “Because he doesn’t understand the local culture”. They’d rather have someone sympathetic to their inane ideas of culture, than someone who knows basketball. LOL true story.

    But hey Benjy knows the culture, and that counts for more than knowing about basketball here. Let’s hire him, brah!

    (It’s funny, because we recruit 18 year old kids every year, and they seem to adhere to the culture pretty quickly and easily, but a lot of fans are afraid that a new coach would not be able to do that).

  22. GTbows March 31, 2015 1:48 pm

    Man Eating Apple,

    Don’t think Coach K or any other “name” coach would accept $200K to coach at UH. Benjy passed his audition and has all except one of the key players back for 2 more seasons. I just heard Coach Taylor talking Sweet 16 and Final 4. If we keep this team and staff together, we will enjoy the ride next year and the year to follow at the very least.

    Have not heard any “jaw dropping” coaching applicants yet that I would pick over Coach Taylor and I won’t hold your breath waiting to hear about any. A good recruiting class (including a player that was being recruited by Wichita State, Utah, Creighton and Missouri but verbally committed to Coach Taylor and the Bows) to supplement what we have coming back only means that this team will be even better next season.

    Go Bows!

  23. man eating apple March 31, 2015 4:12 pm


    I think it should be pretty clear, I was talking about getting a good coach. Clearly, I only mentioned Coach K, as an example of a good coach (he is too old already). I was using him only because I know even the bandwagon fans here would recognize him (and you did, good job).

    In an example of the fallacy here, that knowing the culture is more important than being a good basketball coach. There are many good, young coaches that we should be on the lookout for.

  24. man eating apple March 31, 2015 4:17 pm

    Poorboy said “Hawaii will never be Gonzaga, Butler, Xavier, Wichita St. , no more the monies”

    Wichita St. budget was $3.1M: http://www.kshb.com/sports/wichita-state-basketball-budget-less-than-pitinos-annual-salary

    UH budget was $30M: http://www.honolulumagazine.com/Honolulu-Magazine/September-2013/University-of-Hawaii-Sports-2013-Go-Bows/Can-Ben-Jay-Save-UH-Sports/

    Wichita St. plays in the Missouri Valley conference, which was just as no-name as the Big West, up until a couple years ago.

    So, it’s possible to make a national basketball powerhouse playing in a no-name conference, with a budget of $3M. What’s Hawaii’s excuse?

  25. man eating apple March 31, 2015 4:29 pm

    Don’t go for a big name coach. Go for a good young coach, who wants to make a name for himself. We have the best facilities in the Big West. We can be a big time program, if Wichita St. can do it.

  26. Pocho March 31, 2015 5:16 pm

    Who ever the new coach to be. #1 is recruiting to Hawaii. If he can’t do that, sorry guys, you’ll be in for a big disappointment with the hire. Gib looked for the athletic type and so-far it’s exciting ball win/lose.

  27. oneseason March 31, 2015 6:40 pm

    It’s a lot easier to promise success than to deliver it. You don’t need to look any further than the last three seasons of football. We have a coach that lead MBB to two postseason wins in the Big West Championship. Compared to zero wins for the prior two seasons, that sounds pretty good. Looking back at the UH Athletics MBB schedules, UH hasn’t had a team win more than one conference tournament game since the 2001-2002 season. IMO, coach Taylor is a great bird in the hand and I want to see what he an his team can do next year.

  28. bouncingball April 1, 2015 4:16 pm

    #24, it’s people like “Poorboy”, who claim to be an avid UH supporter, who keeps UH athletic from reaching it’s full potential. As long as they get “local”, or what they perceive to be “local”, they’re happy. No mind that Benji Taylor has basically no “local” connection or empathy, is riding on the coattails of a good recruiting class by a disgraced ex-coach, of which he was an intimate part of, and did no better than .500 in a weak conference. Almost every other conference coaches already have him and the team figured out and the high expectations for next year Benji is hoisting on “poorboys” are a total sales pitch which, unfortunately, is working with lot of the “locals”. Haven’t all of us already been burned big time by the “local” connection used as a viable criteria in selection of a head coach – Chow and Gib?

  29. bouncingball April 1, 2015 4:20 pm

    #17, I think more than 70% of “locals” wanted Chow as head coach.

  30. Derek April 1, 2015 5:23 pm

    Poorboy is Runbows, Runbows is poorboy. Comments are very similar to me and the grammar is very similar too. Whatever.

    I wasn’t pulling for the Chow and Arnold hire. Water under the bridge now. I’m not in the Taylor camp. I want a younger, high energy, smart guy who is a tireless recruiter who will surround him with some veteran assistants who is from the West Coast where his contacts are. Someone who has been in winning programs.

  31. Bryan April 5, 2015 11:48 pm

    Been hearing a few stories that several players have said they won’t return next season if Benjy is hired on permanently, anybody else heard that?

  32. islandman April 6, 2015 12:26 pm

    24. man eating apple–Hawaii’s excuse is that they don’t want to pay at least $1.75 million for a basketball coach, the salary that the Wichita St. coach receives.

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