Hawaii men’s basketball team loses assistant coach Chris Gerlufsen to San Francisco


  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / NOV. 15, 2019

    Then-acting University of Hawaii men’s basketball head coach Chris Gerlufsen talks to the Rainbow Warriors during the second half of a 2019 game against the Portland State Vikings. Gerlufsen is leaving UH to become San Francisco’s associate head coach.

A top assistant coach is leaving the University of Hawaii basketball program.

Chris Gerlufsen, who coordinates UH’s offense and served as interim head coach for 13 games during the 2019-20 season, has accepted the associate head coach’s position at San Francisco.

“It’s bittersweet because I love it here,” Gerlufsen said. “I love the people. I wish nothing but the best for Eran (Ganot, UH’s head coach) and the program going forward. I’m going to be the biggest UH fan there is on the mainland for the program.”

Gerlufsen joined UH in September 2019 after serving as an assistant coach at San Diego. Two months later, while being sidelined because of medical issues, Ganot named Gerlufsen as interim head coach. The Rainbow Warriors went 8-5 under Gerlufsen.

Gerlufsen said it has been “stressful for me just having to juggle the decision process.” But Gerlufsen decided “it was an offer that was hard to pass up for a lot of different reasons.”

He added: “You have to make some decisions that are hard and maybe take you out of your comfort zone. I felt like for me, from a professional standpoint, as hard as it is to leave here and these guys, it was something I needed to do.”

Gerlufsen said he will be in charge of coordinating the Dons’ offense, a role similar to what he did at UH. In 18 Big West games this season, six ’Bows hit at least 38% of their 3s.

Gerlufsen’s fiancee, Ila Gombar, is a Kaiser High graduate who grew up in Hawaii. “That’s why it was so easy for it to become my home,” Gerlufsen said. “I was here two years, but this place is just so special to me. … Not just the basketball guys, but there are a lot of people on the island who are special and hold a special place in my heart. It’s hard to leave good people.”

USF head coach Todd Golden played at Saint Mary’s when Ganot was an assistant coach with the Gaels. Golden recommended Gerlufsen when Ganot was seeking a replacement for associate coach Adam Jacobsen, now an assistant at Cal Baptist.

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