The University of Hawaii is standing by volleyball coach Charlie Wade as it reviews allegations of misconduct against him.
The allegations, which involve a former female player more than 20 years ago, surfaced a week before the top-ranked Rainbow Warriors compete in the NCAA tournament.
According to a story first published on Wednesday in the Orange County (Calif.) Register, Wade has been put on interim measure-suspension by the U.S. Center for SafeSport and USA Volleyball pending a SafeSport investigation. It does not prevent Wade from coaching in an NCAA semifinal matchup May 2.
“It’s being reviewed at the highest levels of the university, and we’re also waiting for the results of the investigation by SafeSport to see what more is there,” UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said at a press conference at the Manoa campus this afternoon.
— Hawaii Warrior World (@hawaiiwworld) April 26, 2019
The allegation involving Wade did not mention when the incident occurred but, according to the article that used documents from SafeSport and USAV, it involved someone who played for him at the club and college level. Wade founded Magnum Volleyball Club in Anaheim, Calif., in 1986 and ran it until 1995 when joining Dave Shoji’s staff at Hawaii as an assistant and the associate head coach through 2005.
Asked what UH might be considering as its options, Meisenzahl replied, “One step at a time. Let’s see what this investigation yields, if anything at all, and take it from there. But right now, Charlie Wade is our volleyball coach.”
Meisenzahl pointed out there’s been no such incidents reported in Wade’s time at UH (men’s volleyball head coach since 2010 and women’s volleyball assistant from 1995 to 2005), and that coaches go through annual training at UH’s Title IX office.
“We have processes in place,” he said. “We’ll see what comes out of the investigation before we determine what the best next steps are.”
Meisenzahl acknowledged the timing of the report surfacing was “surprising and unfortunate.”
“Obviously it’s a cloud, but the UH men’s volleyball team, they’re the No. 1 seed, and they’re proceeding into the tournament and hope to come home with the national championship,” he said.
No coaches or players of the men’s volleyball team were made available for interviews at the press conference or elsewhere on campus.
At around 1 p.m., UH put out a statement that read, in part: “UH takes any allegations of misconduct seriously. The university is actively reviewing the matter and is awaiting the conclusion of the SafeSport investigation.
“Wade strongly denies that any type of misconduct took place. In his years at UH, as the women’s volleyball assistant coach and as the men’s coach, he has never been accused of this type of misconduct and has always handled himself with the highest level of professionalism.
“Wade cooperated with the SafeSport investigation as soon as he was notified in September 2018. He still has not been interviewed and has not heard from SafeSport since. His attorney formally requested, multiple times and as recently as April 4, that SafeSport provide an update to the investigation. SafeSport has yet to respond.”
The O.C. Register story also mentioned a separate incident involving Long Beach State assistant Scott Touzinsky, who has since made a “voluntary departure” from LBSU. The 2008 Olympic gold medalist said in a statement released by the athletic department that he did not want to be a distraction “during what is a critical time for the team.”
Long Beach State is seeded No. 2 in the NCAA tournament and is hosting the event. According to USAV’s public suspended membership list on its website, Touzinsky was sanctioned with a “formal warning” on April 15 by SafeSport and suspended last July 19 by USA Volleyball after the latter learned of allegations of sexual misconduct involving an underage female athlete in Canada in either 2013 or 2014.