Wilton Steps Down As Head Coach After 17 Seasons At UH
HONOLULU, Hawai'i - University of Hawai‘i head men's volleyball coach Mike Wilton has announced his retirement following a successful 17-year career with the Warriors. Wilton, the winningest coach in the program's history, will coach the team's final regular season series next week against USC.
"My feeling right now is of extreme gratitude," Wilton said. "It's been an honor and privilege to be the men's volleyball coach at the University of Hawai‘i. I'll always be grateful to (former UH athletics director) Stan Sheriff who hired me and thankful for the support of the administration thoughout the years. I'm grateful to all the players who have helped make this program successful during my time and I look forward to watching the success these current players will have for years to come."
"I really appreciate Mike's 17 years of service to the University," athletics director Jim Donovan said. "His teams brought great memories to the fans of Hawai‘i. There were some great years and certainly on behalf of the athletics department, we wish Mike and his family well."
In 17 seasons, Wilton has compiled a 314-166 record and has taken the program to new heights. Under his tenure, the Warriors have won five conference titles in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, considered the most dominant league in men's volleyball. He guided UH to three NCAA Championship appearances, including two trips to the title match. Five of his teams finished the season with a Top 5 national ranking while 16 previous teams were nationally ranked at the end of the year.
Wilton was named AVCA Coach of the Year twice (1995 and 2002) and MPSF Coach of the Year once (1995). He coached 14 All-Americans including players of the year Yuval Katz and Costas Theocharidis. In addition, 26 of his athletes were selected to the all-MPSF teams.
Under Wilton, the sport of men's volleyball grew in popularity not seen before on the Manoa campus. The Warriors have led the nation in attendance for 11 straight seasons and during the 1997 season, UH averaged an NCAA-record 7,930 fans per match. In 1995, fans flocked the Stan Sheriff Center - the first year of men's volleyball in the arena since moving over from Klum Gym - and in 1996, the Warriors played before a record five sellout crowds in excess of 10,000.
In 1996, the Warriors completed perhaps the program's best season with a 27-3 overall record and became one of a handful of MPSF teams to finish a perfect 19-0 in league play. Wilton directed UH to the national championship match against UCLA but fell 15-12 in the deciding fifth game.
The Warriors returned to the title match in 2002 but would later forfeit the outcome due to use of an ineligible player.
Wilton initially arrived in Hawai‘i in the late 1960s when he played volleyball at Church College of Hawai‘i, now called Brigham Young-Hawai‘i. He was their men's volleyball coach in 1976 before moving back to the mainland and spending 12 seasons with the Cal Poly-SLO women's team.
At Cal Poly, Wilton posted an impressive 283-137 record from 1978-89. He also led the Cal Poly men's team for three years. Wilton also served as an assistant with the UC Santa Barbara men's squad. He took over the Warrior program after a year as an assistant with the Brigham Young men's squad in Provo, Utah.
Article courtesy of Hawai'i athletics.