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Ex-UH basketball coach suffers minor stroke

    Then-Hawaii head coach Riley Wallace before the start of final home game of his career against Boise State at Stan Sheriff Center in March 2007. Star-Bulletin photo by Richard Walker

WAILUKU >> Former University of Hawaii basketball coach Riley Wallace was admitted to Maui Memorial Medical Center after suffering a minor stroke, according to a family friend. 

Wallace, 73, was on Maui for Friday night’s basketball game between UH and Pittsburgh. Pitt coach Jamie Dixon was a UH assistant coach under Wallace.

Wallace was scheduled to play golf Friday morning. But he complained of dizziness before his round. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

“He just woke up early in the morning not feeling right,” said the family friend, who did not wish to be identified.

Wallace underwent several tests. According to the friend, Wallace is alert and able to speak. He will remain in the hospital for at least three nights.

“I was with him from 6 this morning to 1 this afternoon,” the person said. “He was up (awake) and alert and joking with the nurses, but they’re still keeping him (three nights) for observation.

“It’s serious that he had a stroke, but he’s not in danger or anything like that. … He was in good spirits.”

Wallace retired after the 2006-07 season, capping a 20-year UH career. The program’s winningest head coach (334) was then hired as a consultant and special events host for Boyd Gaming in downtown Las Vegas.

Wallace and his wife Joan still own a condominium in Honolulu.

Wallace was mentioned as a possibility to step in and coach the UH basketball team upon Gib Arnold’s firing on Oct. 28. Instead, athletic director Ben Jay named associate head coach Benjy Taylor the interim head coach for the rest of the season.

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