New University of Hawai‘i men’s basketball coach Eran Ganot sets up his players for success.
Often, coaches are remembered by their stats: how many wins they accumulated during their tenure, amount of championship appearances, number of players that make the move to professional stardom. But for University of Hawai‘i men’s basketball coach Eran Ganot, it’s all about the journey and maintaining meaningful relationships—which sets the foundation for team wins and accolades to build upon.
“My style is about work and people,” says the 2003 Swarthmore College alum, “putting in the time, getting to know them.
“I love building relationships, and I’ve enjoyed it with these guys,” he adds of the current Warrior roster. Being part of a team demands 100-percent commitment, and according to Ganot, this group has it. “I’m impressed with what they’ve been able to do with tough circumstances,” he continues. “They are resilient, and the challenge for us now is to continue to be resilient.”
He looks forward to going to work every day to do what he loves, while understanding that potential challenges lie ahead for the team and the program.
“But I’m excited,” he says of all future happenstances. “If you’re going to set goals, you need to know the history, and there’s great history here. Moving forward, we want to continue to make things better to enhance our program.”
Ganot’s coaching career began in 2003 with Saint Mary’s College men’s basketball as a volunteer assistant, and initially joined the Warrior program in 2006 as director of basketball operations during the time of Riley Wallace, and later as assistant coach under Bob Nash.
The city of Moraga and the Gaels welcomed back Ganot once again in 2010, and he worked his way to associate head coach for the 2014-15 season. Ganot made his return to the Warrior court this season, and says the transition is all about loyalty and being invested in where he is.
“It was always about where I played and coached,” he says of the dream to run his own program. He feels blessed to have been part of two tremendous basketball programs at University of Hawai‘i and Saint Mary’s College, and in his words, “I just want my life to be about the game.”
Ganot, who was quite the Renaissance player at Swarthmore, has always put academics at the forefront of his athletic career, and urges his teams to do the same. In his mind, putting players in a position to create success in their own lives—even after college ball—is the most important thing. (He has coached notables, such as Cleveland Cavaliers’ Matthew Dellavadova and Texas Legends’ Mickey McConnell.)
“We want achievers; we want to develop leaders [who] are successful on the court and off the court,” he muses. “They should be working hard to be in a position to serve others. You use that power for good.”
And future aspirations are just one part of creating the next generation of leaders. “It’s staying in close contact with all of our guys, regardless of what path they choose going forward,” he says. “They have to feel connected to the family.”
Photos courtesy University of Hawai‘i Athletics