RAINBOW WARRIOR BASKETBALL
Wallace clearing the way for UH's next head coach
Riley Wallace cleans out his desk; Herman Frazier gets ready to pick new coach
With the problems of the football schedule still hanging around like an unwanted guest, Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier has an equally challenging job of naming a new head men's basketball coach in the coming weeks.
Frazier said he would like to have the new coach in place shortly after the Final Four concludes on April 2, but given his many missed self-imposed deadlines on the football side of the ledger, don't hold him to anything just yet.
Meanwhile, Riley Wallace is busy cleaning out his office. His duties officially end on April 30. He hopes longtime assistant Bob Nash gets a shot at the title, but isn't privy to any insider trading.
Wallace isn't sure what the future holds for him. He will go to the Final Four in Atlanta, check out the athletic director's opening at Centenary and return to Hawaii next month with a better idea of what he will do next.
Today is the deadline to apply for Wallace's position, although it's possible it will be extended as Frazier prepares for one of the more important hires since joining UH in 2002.
Even though he's coached his last game on the Hawaii bench, Riley Wallace is still reporting for work.
"I've been here every day," Wallace said from his corner office in the UH athletic department.
Aside from an afternoon of golf, the UH basketball coach has continued to check in since the Rainbow Warriors returned from the WAC tournament last week, though for the first time in two decades he's not looking ahead to the prospects for next season.
Wallace, whose final contract at UH expires at the end of April, is gradually clearing things out of the office to make way for his successor and move on to the next phase in his career.
The question of who will occupy the office next will be a matter of speculation in the coming weeks.
Today is the deadline for those interested to become the Rainbows 18th head coach to turn in their paperwork, though the application period could be extended. A search committee will be formed to sift through the applicants with interviews expected to start soon.
UH athletic director Herman Frazier has said a goal would be to have a coach in place shortly after the Final Four, which ends with the national championship game on April 2.
Hawaii will have lots of company in searching for a new basketball coach.
More than 20 Division I positions are open around the country, with more likely to come. Michigan joined the list last week with the firing of Tommy Amaker. Colorado, Colorado State, New Mexico, Santa Clara and Utah are also among the schools in the midst of finding coaches.
UH associate coach Bob Nash has applied to move next door into the head coach's office. In the meantime, he's continuing his duties scheduling for next season and is waiting for the contracts to be finalized and returned.
The UH Board of Regents last week approved a request by Frazier to increase the pay range for the next head coach, as well as associate and assistant coaches. The new head coach could make between $184,836 and $400,000. Wallace made $275,000 in his current contract which expires on April 30.
The hiring process figures to impact the team's recruiting efforts for next season. UH didn't sign any recruits during the fall signing period and will have at least three scholarships to offer for next season.
The late signing period for basketball begins April 11 and runs through May 16.
"(Associate coach Jackson Wheeler) is working to keep those guys on the line," Wallace said.
Wallace said he hasn't looked into any of the other coaching openings and will interview for the athletic director position at Centenary later this month.
Note: Two other Division I coaches with Hawaii ties stepped down this month. David Spencer, a member of the UH staff during Wallace's early years as head coach, left UC Riverside last week citing health reasons. Former Chaminade coach Al Walker also resigned at Binghamton.