UH volleyball coach cleared of misconduct allegations
Rainbow Warriors coach Charlie Wade has been cleared by the U.S. Center for SafeSport after a 17-month investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.
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The Hawaii men’s volleyball team has a little less baggage to take when it leaves on its first road trip tonight.
Rainbow Warriors coach Charlie Wade has been cleared by the U.S. Center for SafeSport after a 17-month investigation into sexual misconduct allegations regarding an underage female player during his club coaching days in the 1990s.
“I’m thrilled they found nothing to the allegations,” Wade said before Tuesday’s practice. “I’m glad it’s over. I’m focused on coaching my team.”
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. Because USA Volleyball is separate from the NCAA and AVCA, the investigation did not affect Wade’s eligibility to coach Hawaii during the national tournament.
The Warriors finished second nationally last season, falling to Long Beach State in the NCAA championship on May 4.
Wade deferred further comment to the university.
In a statement emailed to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Monday afternoon, UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl wrote: “We appreciate what SafeSport was established to do, and we believe this outcome is the right result. 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 men’s volleyball team was preparing to compete for the national championship) seemed malicious and without any regard for individuals involved, including our players.”
When asked whether the university would pursue further action, legal or otherwise, Meisenzahl said, “All options remain on the table. No decision has been made at this point.”
Wade was notified that his name had been removed from USA Volleyball’s suspended membership list last week following the conclusion of the investigation, which began in September 2018. Wade had been placed on interim-measure suspension pending the SafeSport investigation on Sept. 8 of that year.
Interim suspensions are lifted at the conclusion of an investigation. Because no action was taken, his name has been permanently removed from the public record on USA Volleyball’s website under its Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies category.
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.
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 allegations were made by a former player while Wade was head coach of Magnum Volleyball Club in Anaheim, Calif., a club he founded in 1986. The alleged incident occurred prior to Wade being hired as an assistant by since-retired Rainbow Wahine coach Dave Shoji in 1995.
SafeSport can close a case for a number of reasons without recommending sanctions, including insufficient evidence or the claimant electing not to participate in the resolution process. The organization did not release its reason for ending the investigation, but a person with direct knowledge of the outcome confirmed Wade had been cleared of any wrongdoing.
The top-ranked Rainbow Warriors (5-0) leave tonight for Illinois, where they will play No. 5 Lewis on Friday in Romeoville and No. 12 Loyola-Chicago on Saturday. Hawaii also travels to Tennessee for matches at Lincoln Memorial on Monday in Harrogate and on Jan. 21 against King in Bristol.