Nash’s tales of life with Riley keeps the laughs coming
ON Wednesday night, "An Evening With Head Coach Riley Wallace" at the Stan Sheriff Center drew more than 400 people and raised $200,000 (when booster Carolyn Berry matched the original amount) for the Riley and Joan Wallace Endowed Scholarship for Men's Basketball. It sounds like it was a wonderful event.
Luckily, there was also a much cheaper sneak preview of it earlier in the week at the Honolulu Quarterback Club.
And while we know the great Frank De Lima must have been hilarious Wednesday night at the big event, trust me when I tell you that at the Quarterback Club, new coach Bob Nash probably came close.
You didn't know Nash was funny?
"When I was asked to speak about Coach Wallace, it's kind of hard," Nash began. "Most of the things that I would speak about, you can't say in public."
And then of course, Nash spoke about them. But let's not get into that. Suffice to say it's a good thing Wallace is no longer Nash's boss. But really -- who better to tell us about the man?
"Riley had three choices when he was growing up about occupations, things that he wanted to do," Nash said. "One was an undertaker, a minister and a coach. Somehow, he's been able to incorporate all those into one ..."
Wallace's coaching style has never been summed up so succinctly.
Perhaps there is also a similar story that could tell us about Wallace's and Nash's long and close friendship.
"In the early days, we had limited funds, so we had to sleep together," Nash said.
Wait, it's not what you think.
... OK, it's pretty much exactly what you think.
Nash described it: "Coach Wallace would go and get the room, a single one, and then I would go and sneak up to the room ..."
I don't know exactly how Herman Frazier did it this past year, but in the old days, this was how UH balanced the athletic budget.
"There's a little thing, though," Nash said. "You always had to put the sheets in the right directions, so that one was over, one was under so we didn't roll over on each other at night."
Let's pause now for a flashback from the Steve Martin-John Candy road movie "Planes, Trains and Automobiles":
"Those aren't pillows!"
OK. Sorry for the interruption. Back to the tribute. The new coach is wrapping it up.
"True story," Nash said.
(When an audience is wiping tears from its eyes, always add "true story" as the exclamation point.)
Well, thank goodness those days are over. Right?
"We go to the Final Four now," Nash said. "Our group has gotten bigger." Larry Little. Bruce O'Neil. Nash goes down the list of former UH coaches.
"We have about 15 people sleeping in one room," Nash said. But they're all there, at the Final Four.
"Riley's been generous enough to make that happen," Nash said.
At least Nash knows what he's getting into, as head host -- um, head coach.