Hawaii volleyball coach cleared of wrongdoing in sexual misconduct investigation

Hawaii volleyball coach cleared of wrongdoing in sexual misconduct investigation
File photo of Charlie Wade from the Big West Conference volleyball tournament. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - University of Hawaii head volleyball coach Charlie Wade has been cleared of any wrongdoing in an investigation into a nearly 30-year-old claim of sexual misconduct, school officials confirmed Monday.

In the days leading up to last year’s national championship game, it was reported that Wade had been suspended by USA Volleyball pending an investigation into claims that Wade had an inappropriate relationship with a female athlete while he was a club volleyball coach in California.

Wade, who led the Rainbow Warriors to a Big West Conference championship last year, strongly denied that any misconduct had taken place, and university officials came to his defense in the days after the report came to light.

"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,” Dan Meisenzahl, a university spokesperson, said at the time.

The allegations were being investigated by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, a non-profit group that seeks to eradicate physical and emotional abuse in sports. The non-profit has reportedly informed USA Volleyball that the matter is closed, and Wade’s name was removed from the organization’s suspended list as a result.

Though school officials voiced their appreciate for SafeSport coming to what they believe was the ‘right result,’ the university continues to believe that the allegations against Wade may have been filed maliciously.

“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," a school spokesperson said.

"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 menʻs volleyball team was preparing to compete for the national championship) seemed malicious and without any regard for individuals involved, including our players,” the spokesperson added.

Wade’s University of Hawaii volleyball team is currently the top-ranked team in the country. The 'Bows have opened the season 5-0 and defeated Emmanuel, Harvard and Grand Canyon in a tournament over the weekend.

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