HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The head coach of the University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team “strongly denies” decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct that have resurfaced in recent days.
And on Thursday, the university stood by Coach Charlie Wade, saying he is not facing any disciplinary action at this time and is expected to coach the Rainbow Warriors during their NCAA tournament appearance next week.
“Coach Wade strongly denies the allegations that any kind of misconduct took place," said UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl.
"In 20 years (at UH), never has anything of this sort been claimed against him, and he has always carried himself with the highest level of professionalism.”
Wade, who led the Rainbow Warriors to a Big West Conference championship this season, was suspended by USA Volleyball in September pending an investigation into those claims.
The incident is alleged to have happened nearly 30 years ago, when Wade was coaching a club volleyball team in California.
It’s being investigated by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, a non-profit group that seeks to eradicate physical and emotional abuse in sports.
Meisenzahl said the school “takes any allegations of misconduct seriously," but added that Wade’s record at the University of Hawaii is spotless.
He said the university was informed of the SafeSport suspension Wednesday by Wade on the advice of his attorney, Michael Green.
Green said he respects anyone’s right to come forward to make allegations of sexual misconduct, but said the claims against the coach are baseless.
He also accused the woman of falsely making the allegation to hurt Wade’s reputation.
“The way we are today, you can’t defend yourself,” he said. “There’s no information from anyone except someone who appears to be going through some medical problems that the man was anything more than the man we know him to be here.”
Green says Wade was the woman’s mentor.
He also said that the coach received text messages from the woman that were inappropriate — and rejected an invitation to join her on the mainland.
UH students were stunned by the news.
“If it’s true that’s just awful. Even if it was 20 years ago it still doesn’t make a difference,” Justin Fletcher said.
“You could ruin someone’s life with information like this so you have to take it super seriously,” Katherine Gallion said.
In a statement, the university said that “Wade cooperated with the SafeSport investigation as soon as he was notified in September 2018."
“He still has not been interviewed and has not heard from SafeSport since. His attorney formally requested, multiple times and as recently as April 4, that SafeSport provide an update to the investigation. SafeSport has yet to respond.”