Hawaii men’s volleyball coach Charlie Wade has been cleared by the U.S. Center for SafeSport after a 17-month investigation into a sexual misconduct allegations regarding an underage female player during his club coaching days in the 1990s.
Wade’s name was removed from the USA Volleyball’s suspended membership list over the weekend.
His name was listed under “pending investigation” starting in September 2018 but, because no action was taken, it is no longer part of the record under USA Volleyball’s Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies. The investigation did not become publicly known until late April when the Orange County (Calif.) Register published an article about it, a week before the semifinals of the NCAA volleyball tournament in Long Beach, Calif.
“At this point I’m going to let the university respond,” Wade said prior to today’s practice. “I’m thrilled they found nothing to the allegations. I’m glad it’s over. I’m focused on coaching my team.”
The top-ranked Rainbow Warriors (5-0) leave Tuesday for their first road trip of the season. Hawaii plays at No. 5 Lewis Friday in Romeoville, Ill., then at No. 12 Loyola-Chicago on Saturday.
“We appreciate what SafeSport was established to do, and we believe this outcome is the right result,” University of Hawaii spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said in a statement emailed to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “The way this situation was handled, though, was not fair for Coach Charlie Wade, his program, and his teams. Safesport did not follow its own policies when it comes to implementing interim measures.
“His name, reputation, and ability to recruit were diminished for months while the process ensued, and the timing of the publication of the allegations (as the University of Hawaii menʻs volleyball team was preparing to compete for the national championship) seemed malicious and without any regard for individuals involved, including our players.”
Hawaii lost to Long Beach State in the finals of the 2019 championship tournament.
When asked if the university would pursue further action, legal or otherwise, Meisenzahl said, “all options remain on the table. We haven’t made a decision at this point.”
A statement from USA Volleyball said the organization had received notice from SafeSport that the matter was closed, leading to Wade’s name being removed.
The move also clears the way for Wade to receive the 2019 American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year Award, which had been held up pending the investigation. Hawaii finished second nationally last season, falling to Long Beach State in the NCAA championship last May.