Wallace, at Hawaii since 1987, to step down as coach

Updated: December 29, 2006, 7:27 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Hawaii coach Riley Wallace will announce his resignation, effective the end of the season at a 1 p.m. HT news conference Friday, a source close to Wallace told ESPN.com Thursday night.

Wallace, 65, was told by Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier to make the announcement so that Frazier could get on with the search process, according to the source. Wallace and Frazier met recently and discussed the detailed language in his contract. In the contract, which Wallace signed three years ago, there is specific language that there would be no re-negotiation of the current deal. If Wallace were to be retained he would need to sign a new contract.

Wallace signed the disadvantageous contract so he could get more money, a move that the source said he regrets.

Wallace is hoping that longtime assistant and former Hawaii player Bob Nash gets a chance to be the successor. But that could be unlikely as Frazier tries to find "his own guy." Wallace isn't set on retiring, either, and could decide to coach again although his age could work against him.

Wallace entered the season with 337 wins overall, 322 at Hawaii since becoming the head coach in 1987. The Rainbow Warriors (9-4) won the Rainbow Classic title with a win over Creighton in the final, then beat Tennessee-Martin 66-53 Thursday night. Wallace led the Rainbows to three NCAA Tournament appearances and six NIT berths. The program had made just one NCAA appearance and two NITs prior to Wallace's arrival.

The Hawaii job is considered one of the hardest in the country because of the lack of local talent and the distance to the mainland. But Wallace, Nash and assistant Jackson Wheeler have figured out a way to cull foreign players and junior college talent to the island. Wallace is one of the most liked and respected coaches in the game and counts Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon as a pupil since Dixon worked for Wallace in two different stints in Honolulu.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com