Wilton leaves


POSTED: Sunday, April 12, 2009

The disappointments linger.

The 2002 NCAA volleyball championship ring is in a box, not worn since the NCAA stripped Hawaii of the title for use of an ineligible player.

His Warriors won't make the conference playoffs for two consecutive years, including this one, which will be his last on the Hawaii sideline.

Prior to last night's match with Pacific, Mike Wilton announced that he was stepping down after 17 years as the Warriors coach effective as of the final match against USC this coming Saturday. Since taking over the program in 1993, Wilton (315-166) has been named AVCA national coach of the year twice (1995, 2002), has coached 14 All-Americans and two national players of the year (Yuval Katz and Costas Theocharidis).

“;I've enjoyed my time here, and my feeling right now is of extreme gratitude,”; Wilton said prior to last night's victory over the Tigers. “;It's been an honor and a privilege to be the men's volleyball coach for the University of Hawaii and I'm grateful to all the players who have helped make this program successful during my time.

“;We've got good recruits coming in, and our freshmen Steven Hunt and Gus Tuaniga will continue to develop into very good players.”;

Wilton said he hoped that associate coach Tino Reyes would be given serious consideration for the job.

Athletic director Jim Donovan said the job would be posted on the NCAA Web site tomorrow and that he had already formed a search committee. It will be chaired by former athletic director Hugh Yoshida and include broadcaster Scott Robbs, former UH volleyball players Ken Rowe and Leeann Pestana Satele, associate athletic director John McNamara and booster Basil Sparlin.

Wilton, who turns 65 next month, was in the final year of his contract. He said he had informed the UH administration of his intent to retire last June.

Wilton is a high priest in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said he has accepted a position as an assistant for the Brigham Young women's program. He said that the job offer came last week and that he made the decision to accept it on Tuesday.

Wilton coached the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo women's team for 12 seasons (283-137). His Mustangs snapped the Rainbow Wahine's program-best 55-match winning streak in 1989 in Klum Gym.