Wilton Ways - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

April 13, 2009

Wilton Ways

Mike Wilton will be leaving the University of Hawaii men's volleyball program after this weekend's final two home matches.  In 17 years at the UH helm, Wilton took the men's program to a new level, helped in part by the great exuberance everyone felt when the Stan Sheriff Center opened in the mid-90s and Wilton's teams took men's volleyball to new heights with Katz, Leoni, Milo, Theocharidis, and others.

Yes, there was the unfortunate forfeiture of the 2002 national title, as the NCAA focused harder on men's volleyball and international realities than it tends to focus on the major sports on a regular basis, but through the years, Coach Wilton has always been straight with the players, the media and fans.  In a time and era filled with cliches and covering one's okole, Coach Wilton called it like it was.  He was always appreciative of the fans and the media support in a sport whose acceptance is still hard to fathom in hotbeds like Southern California.

And what true fans can forget the 1996 national title match at UCLA's vaunted Pauley Pavilion, when the crowd of 4, 500 sang "Hawai'i Pono'i" impromptu just after the national anthem, much to the dismay of the home team, the UCLA Bruins?  Coach Mike, best of luck to you and thanks for your help in making the men's side of the game so much fun here.  Think about it...

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