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Windward // Windward Oahu Sports

Stanger Takes Over Women’s Basketball At BYU-Hawaii

Craig Stanger is the new head coach for women’s basketball at BYU-Hawaii.

He spent 17 years as a men’s coach at Western Oregon, including six as head coach, and the last two years as a college scout for National Scouting Report. Throughout it all, the BYUH program always remained a source of intrigue to him.

“I’m very excited,” said Stanger. “I know (BYUH men’s coach and athletic director) Coach Wagner, and I traveled there when I was coaching men’s teams. I always thought it would be a fun place to coach. What excites me most is that there is a great opportunity there in talking with our current players and those who have signed.”

BYUH finished 6-19 last season and 6-20 in 2011-12 under Hiram Akina, whose contract was not renewed. The school began offering Division II women’s basketball in 2005.

“We have our work cut out for us since they only won six games each of the last two seasons,” admitted Stanger.

In the men’s program, he sees a good model for his own team. “They’ve been a top team in the PacWest for a long time. Our expectations are to be in the top half of that conference as quickly as possible.”

Among the job perks Stanger acknowledged are BYUH’s athletic facilities, most notably, Cannon Activities Center. “BYUH has some of the better facilities in Division II, without question. Having a facility like this is an asset. We also have a completely separate auxillary gym, which is something I wasn’t familiar with.”

During his time at Western Oregon, Stanger helped to land some of the best players in the school’s history. Stanger joined then-WOU coach Tom Kelly and the Wolves’ staff in 1994-95 and was the lead assistant under Tim Hills for three seasons before taking over in 2005.

His collegiate career began at BYU in 1988, where he was a student manager before graduating in 1992. He also was head coach at Idaho’s Murtaugh High School for two seasons, and was Idaho State Coach of the Year in 1993-94 after leading the Red Devils to the Class A-4 title.

In 1992-93, Murtaugh finished second in the state championship tourney at the small-school level. In addition to his responsibilities as head basketball coach at MHS, Stanger was athletic director. His two-season record as head coach was 41-12.

Stanger had no trouble selling his family on making the move from Oregon. He and wife Tiffini will be moving to the North Shore in mid-August. “I told them, it rains a lot here and it rains a lot there, but the difference is that there it is 75 and rainy instead of being rainy and 55 (as in Oregon).”

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