Wallace plans to quit as Hawaii coach at season's end

Updated: December 29, 2006, 11:35 PM ET
Associated Press

HONOLULU -- University of Hawaii basketball coach Riley Wallace announced Friday that he will step down at the end of this season.

Wallace, 65, said he will leave after 20 seasons when his contract expires April 30. He'll leave as the winningest men's basketball coach in Hawaii history, with a record of 325-256.

"There's no one to blame for this day," Wallace said. "It's time to move on ... I'm not being fired by any means. I'm stepping down as head coach of the University of Hawaii."

After Hawaii (9-4) beat Tennessee-Martin 66-53 on Thursday, Wallace said he informed the team of his decision.

"I met last night with my team and said we're not playing this season for Riley Wallace," said Wallace, whose decision was first reported by ESPN.com on Thursday night. "We're playing for this team."

His two-year contract, with a clause ruling out an extension, expires at season's end.

Wallace said he didn't know whether he would move on to coach at another school.

"To this day, I'm telling you I still have the energy to coach. I'm not retiring today by any means," Wallace said.

When Wallace took over as Hawaii's 17th head coach in 1987, the program had suffered through four straight losing seasons.

Since then, Wallace revived the program into a consistent contender in the Western Athletic Conference with 15 winning seasons and nine trips to the postseason. Despite missing the postseason last season, Hawaii kept alive a school-record streak of seven winning years.

The Warriors appeared in the NCAA Tournament three times and the NIT three times under Wallace.

The team won the WAC tournament in 2001 and 2002 and has appeared in five conference title games. Wallace was named WAC coach of the year in 1989, 1997 and 2002.

Before taking the Hawaii job, Wallace coached at his alma mater, Centenary, for two seasons. His career record stands at 340-283.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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