UH basketball found success under Wallace
Riley Wallace retired as head basketball coach after 20 years on the job.
BASKETBALL at the University of Hawaii was in deflated condition in 1987 when Riley Wallace took the helm. He quickly brought life to the program, producing winning seasons in all but three years following his inaugural season as coach. Wallace's will be a hard act to follow.
His 20 years as head coach of the Rainbow Warriors ranked 13th in the nation for most consecutive seasons with the same school. His 334 victories tie the record of former UH women's basketball coach Vince Goo. That and his 166 wins in the Western Athletic Conference are second only to Don Haskins, the Texas Western/UTEP coach memorialized in the movie "Glory Road."
Wallace led the program to three entrances to the NCAA tournament and six invites to the National Invitation Tournament. Before his arrival, UH had achieved only one NCAA bid and two NIT trips.
His innovative recruiting of players from mainland junior colleges and from Europe and his blue-collar tenacity in directing the team from courtside brought excitement along with victory to the university.
In July 2005, Wallace told reporters upon inking a new two-year contract that he thought "everything worked out the way we wanted it." Actually, he was anything but pleased with a clause in the contract that forced his retirement at the end of this season.
"I still have a lot of life," Wallace, 65, insisted at a news conference last December. "I still have a passion for my team and for winning and the things we try to do here at the University of Hawaii."
Wallace says he has agreed to an interview to fill a vacancy for athletic director at Centenary College of Louisiana, where he was a standout player, an assistant coach and head coach before coming to Hawaii.
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