LIFE OF RILEY LATER IN 2002 ...
He still has remnants of a scar across the top his head,
where doctors performed emergency surgery to remove
swellings of blood near his brain.
It was one of several medical procedures Wallace has
experienced during his tenure at Hawai'i. None of it has
to do with his departure.
"Every time he had to go in for something, the doctors
said he was fully recovered and gave him the OK to go and
coach again," Joan Wallace said. "When he was in the
hospital, I would be worried then, but they always said he
was OK, so that made me feel OK about him going back."
LIFE OF RILEY IN 2006 ...
During the past two seasons — this one, especially —
practices have been shorter. The yelling is not quite as
frequent. The cough is not as persistent.
"There were some days in the early years where I actually
feared for the lives of the players, that's how physical
and intense it was," said associate coach Bob Nash, who
has been on Wallace's staff for all 20 seasons. "So he's
mellowed out. We're seeing a gentler, softer, fuzzier
The gentle nature was always there, those close to him
say. He just never let it show on the basketball court.
"In the gym, he was the meanest man you could ever meet,"
Hallums said. "But once you got past that, you could see
what he was about. After I left UH, I put Coach Wallace
down as a reference for all my jobs."
Wallace insists the desire has not changed, and never
"Unless we're winning, I'll never be relaxed," Wallace
said. "I'm still coughing. I still can't sleep after we
lose. I still get nervous before games. But I've matured
as a coach, and I think that really helps. I don't have to
yell as much because I let my assistants do some for me.
Before, I never let them do that."
LIFE OF RILEY BEYOND 2007...
Wallace's once bright-red hair is now white and buzzed
close to his scalp. The player once nicknamed "Slats"
because of his thin build is now concerned about getting
"I have a lot of energy left," he said.
Wallace has admitted regret in signing a contract that
targeted his resignation for this year. When he signed it
— three years ago — he thought he might be ready to
Now, he's not so sure.
"My wife is retired, and I know she has a long honey-do
list ready for me," Wallace said. "But I've never done
those kinds of things in my life. I've always been a
coach, and I don't know if I know how to do any of those
Wallace has three young grandchildren and loves being
"Papa," but is not sure he could do that all day, every
"That's the one thing I did think about hard, is spending
time with the kids," he said. "But I'm not the kind of guy
who likes sitting around the house."
He has been offered the athletic director's job at his
alma mater, Centenary, and he said he is considering it.
If the 'Bows make a postseason run this month, it could
lead to offers to coach other programs.
"You all know Riley," his wife said. "He'll retire when
Whatever happens, Wallace said his blood will remain as
colorful as his personality.
"I will be a Rainbow Warrior until the day I die," he
said. "Nobody's going to take that away."