Feb 27, 2007 02:13 PM
By: Paul Drewes
(KHNL) - For 20 years, Coach Riley Wallace has been at the helm of University of Hawaii basketball, but this is his last season.
So on a night usually reserved for talking about sports, fans instead reminisce about the "Riley years".
Many come to The Willows to get their fill of food. But on monday evening, the menu is full of sports! Fans get a final chance to talk story with Coach Wallace during KKEA's "Call the Coach" radio show.
While the end of the basketball season is on the minds of many fans. Those in attendance, were looking back, over the decades that Coach Wallace has been in command.
"I was there at the beginning as Riley tried to build this program into a legitimate Division 1A team. So a lot of credit goes to Riley and his coaches." says the president of the Rainbow Basketball Boosters, Steve Goodenow.
"He has a lot of integrity, helping players. Coach Wallace has a good graduation rate. We're going to say goodbye one last time." says longtime UH basketball fan, Faith Ines.
Heart problems have periodically sidelined Coach Wallace, who is known for his intensity on the court. But what many fans want people to know, is just how much heart Coach has off the court.
"Coach is like a father figure to me. When I came here, he said he would help me. I owe a lot to Coach Wallace. He is not only coach to me, he is also a personal friend." says former UH player, Nerijus Puida.
Coach Wallace has shared his love of the game and his intensity over the years, and on his final radio show, he also shared his heartfelt emotions.
"For 42 years I woke up and the only thing on my mind is basketball. It will be hard that day when we win or lose that last game and I get up the next day and don't have anything to do with basketball." says Coach Wallace.
This Saturday Riley Wallace will say goodbye to the home crowd after the final regular season game at the Stan Sheriff Center. Coach is hoping for a sellout crowd, not for himself, but to sendoff the team's seniors.
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