December 8, 2008
When Hawaiians flock to Las Vegas, there's a friendly face
there to greet them.
It's Riley Wallace, who coached the University of Hawaii
men's basketball team for 20 years and has built a home in
Wallace, who retired from coaching after the 2006-07
season, was in Fresno last week watching his nephew,
Kendall Wallace, play basketball for UNLV against Fresno
State at the Save Mart Center.
"We built a house in Las Vegas and we still have a condo
in Honolulu," Wallace said during halftime of Wednesday's
Wallace works as an "executive host" for Boyd Gaming
properties, including the Orleans Arena.
For an AAU tournament last summer and the recent Las Vegas
Invitational college basketball tournament won by Kentucky
at Orleans Arena, Wallace helped steer teams to stay at
Then there's the Hawaiian connection.
"Tons of people from Hawaii go to downtown Las Vegas,"
Wallace said. "We stage welcome parties and golf
Last spring a Las Vegas newspaper reported more than 60%
of business at Boyd's three downtown casinos comes from
Hawaii or Hawaiians now living on the mainland.
When he's not busy hosting and greeting, Wallace likes to
stay in touch with the old gang. Which means going to
lunch with former UNLV coaches Jerry Tarkanian and Charlie
Spoonhour and former Hawaii coach Larry Little.
Wouldn't you love to be a fly on that wall?