Sealy crosses over from UCLA to UH
This week's trip to Hawaii was one Mike Sealy had been planning to make ... but as the assistant to the UCLA men's team that will take on the Warriors on Friday and Saturday.
Instead, the 35-year-old Sealy will be sitting in the Stan Sheriff Center, watching as the new Rainbow Wahine associate head coach.
Sealy, a former All-America setter for the Bruins, yesterday was hired to replace Charlie Wade on Dave Shoji's staff. Wade was hired as the head coach at Pacific in mid-January.
Sealy has been the No. 2 assistant for the UCLA men's team the past four seasons and spent last fall as an assistant for the Bruin women's team.
"That's when I really fell in love with the women's game," Sealy said in a phone call yesterday from Los Angeles. "What attracted me to this job was wanting to coach in a top-10 program, be able to go after the top athletes in the country and to work with Dave. And Hawaii's fan base and tradition are so outstanding.
"So many other qualified candidates were considered and I feel fortunate to be hired. It's a privilege to have this opportunity."
Sealy said he came to know Shoji while recruiting Shoji's son Kawika to play for the Bruins. However, Kawika, a senior at Iolani, committed to play for Stanford next season.
As for the UH vacancy, Sealy said he learned of it during UCLA's trip here in January for the Outrigger Hotels Invitational. The Bruins defeated the Warriors in five Jan. 20.
"I'll probably be sitting somewhere in the rafters," Sealy said of this week's two matches between UCLA and Hawaii. "The thinking was that it would probably be best if I didn't coach against Hawaii after being hired by them."
Sealy expects to fly in either Thursday or Friday. The Rainbow Wahine open spring practice March 13.
"I think Mike is one of the up-and-coming coaches in the collegiate volleyball ranks," Shoji said. "He brings a host of knowledge to our program, adds an analytical aspect to coaching and will bring some of the men's game to our game. He'll also bring a charismatic personality to our recruiting efforts."
Sealy's primary responsibilities include recruiting, scouting and video operations. He'll also work with the Wahine setters.
Sealy led the Bruins to the 1993 NCAA title and was named co-most outstanding player. He played professionally in Europe and Puerto Rico before joining the men's coaching staff at Cal State Northridge for a year.
Moving to Hawaii won't be a hard transition, according to Sealy, despite of his family's deep roots at UCLA. Sealy's father played baseball for the Bruins and Sealy was born at the UCLA Medical Center.
"I love coaching so much, I'd do anything for it," Sealy said. "UCLA has been my home all my life, but now it's time to take a trip away from home."
As for UCLA men's coach Al Scates, Sealy said his former coach was supportive.
"He knew I had head-coaching aspirations," Sealy said. "You can't be the second assistant all your life."
Kari Anderson Ambrozich, the Wahine's second assistant the past seven seasons, will have a new job title this year. Ambrozich has been promoted to associate head coach.
Shoji said he was not under any pressure to fill Wade's position with a female.
"The only thing I was asked was to hire the best candidate," said Shoji, who had more than a dozen applications and numerous phone inquiries for the vacancy. "I was surprised, but not surprised, by the number and quality of the applications. I'm flattered by how much interest there was in this job."