HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nearly two years after Larry Tui Tuileta shocked many in Manoa signing with USC after verbally committing to Hawaii, the former Buffanblu standout called UH men's volleyball head coach Charlie Wade to have the conversation Wade had been expecting all along.
"I remember where I was in the Cheesecake Factory on December 26th," Wade recalled. "He called me and said coach I'm ready to come home."
Even when Tuileta became a Trojan, Wade was confident he would come back saying it was the right place for him.
"You want to be happy where you are and be comfortable because it's easier to thrive in that kind of environment," said Tuileta. "That's why I decided to contact Coach Charlie."
Upon his return to UH, Tuileta has thrived. After sitting out all of last year due to NCAA transfer rules, he has started every match he has played in this season, primarily at libero, which is a new position for the former outside hitter.
"His impact has been significant and I think it's only going to increase," said Wade. "He hadn't practiced for a year and he's learning a new position, so I think he's going to continue to get better at the position and continue to kind of find ways to integrate himself into the team and be even more important."
Tuileta isn't just a dual position volleyball player, he's also a dual sport athlete. The Hawaii State high school football player of the year as a senior at Punahou, Tuileta led the Buffanblu to a state championship in 2013, and hasn't ruled out putting on the pads for the Rainbow Warriors.
"You know Coach Rolo doesn't mind me playing volleyball and Coach Charlie doesn't mind me playing football," Tuileta said. "They're both very open and accepting of the process and I'm very thankful for that, but personally I'm not too sure what I want to do yet. Every time I see Coach Rolo he's always joking around like 'what's the plan, what's the plan?' It's always in the back of my head for sure."
For now Tuileta is just focused on volleyball where the Rainbow Warriors are 10-2 and ranked fifth in the country.