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Wade picked to revive Hawaii men's volleyball


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POSTED: Saturday, May 23, 2009

Charlie Wade didn't wait long to preview his recruiting speech to the top volleyball players coming out of Hawaii.

“;I'll make this statement to every player in this state,”; he said after being introduced to the media yesterday morning. “;If you're good enough to play in the MPSF, we want you on our team.'”;

That's one of the many trends Wade hopes to reverse as the fifth men's volleyball coach in school history.

The former assistant and associate coach with the UH women's volleyball team was selected from four finalists to take over for Mike Wilton, who retired during the season and will assist with the women's team at Brigham Young next year.

The Warriors are coming off a 9-18 campaign, their third straight losing year, and have missed out on the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament two years in a row.

“;A lot of it is his passion as a coach and connecting to the community,”; athletic director Jim Donovan said yesterday of UH's new hire. “;The challenge of the committee was to find an individual with the intangibles to bring the community into this program, fill the arena and have knowledge for volleyball.”;

The six-member committee to find a new coach was chaired by Hugh Yoshida and included LeeAnn Satele, Ken Rowe, Basil Sparlin, Scott Robbs and John McNamara.

Wade, who served as head coach at University of the Pacific the past three years, will make the foray into coaching men for the first time at the collegiate level.

“;They're different animals for sure,”; he said. “;The game is pretty much the same. You've got to pass, set and hit the ball and that doesn't change.”;

During Wade's tenure alongside women's coach Dave Shoji, the Rainbow Wahine won 11 conference titles and made four NCAA championship appearances. Hawaii was 310-39 during that span and 160-1 in conference matches.

“;His love and passion for the game will be a great thing for the men's program,”; Shoji said. “;I think it's definitely different (coaching men), but I think that he's a good enough coach where he'll be able to make that transition.”;

Wade left Hawaii to accept a head coaching position at Pacific after the 2005 season. He went 38-46, including 18-9 in 2007.

“;When I came (to Hawaii) in 1995, it didn't take me long to realize coming back to Hawaii and being a coach here was something that I was really passionate about and wanted to do,”; Wade said. “;There were only a couple of places I would leave Pacific for, and Hawaii was one of them.”;

Wade hasn't set a timetable on when he hopes to get his coaching staff in place. He'll return to Stockton, Calif., to finish up business there and get back to things in Hawaii in mid-June.

The top teams in the MPSF are littered with players from Hawaii, including one on the UC Irvine national championship team, two on final-four contender Southern California and six on Stanford.

In addition to keeping in-state talent at home, Wade was also adamant about bringing an energy and attitude to his team reminiscent of the UH squads from the mid-'90s.

“;Volleyball in Hawaii is the closest thing to the NBA our sport has ever seen,”; Wade said. “;My challenge coming in here is trying to kind of re-energize the program and get things back to how things were.”;

The other finalists for the position were Scott Wong, Mike Sealy and Tino Reyes.