Wooley leaving Wahine hoops program

UH announced today that Rainbow Wahine associate basketball coach Mary Wooley is leaving the program to take the same post at Loyola University Maryland.

Wooley joined the UH program shortly after Laura Beeman was hired as head coach in 2012 and served as associate coach for the last four seasons.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to Coach Beeman, the staff and team, the University and state of Hawaii,” Wooley said in a release from UH. “I am forever changed by my experiences here and the aloha shared with me. Mahalo to Coach Beeman for the opportunity and to the UH ohana, boosters and fans for their love and support. Only family could tear me away from such a special place and such a successful program.”

Prior to her tenure in Hawaii, Wooley worked alongside Beeman as assistant coaches at USC and played an integral role in the growth of the UH program, which has gone 78-48 overall and 49-17 in Big West play over the last four years and qualified for postseason play each season. The Rainbow Wahine won the Big West tournament to advance to reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in 18 years last season.

“Words can not express what Coach Wooley has meant to me and to this program,” Beeman said in the UH release. “I can say with no hesitation that Rainbow Wahine basketball is better today because of Mary, her investment to the players, her tireless work ethic and her support of me. I am incredibly grateful to Mary and excited for her future and thrilled she will be closer to family. Our loss is their gain. Mahalo nui loa Coach Wooley.”

Had a chance to talk to Coach Wooley about her bittersweet decision to relocate to the East Coast.

Her son, Hayes, turns one in October and she said her move was “100 percent motivated” by chance to be closer to her family. She’s originally from just outside of Philadelphia, about a two-hour drive from the Loyola campus.

“Getting back to see family has been challenging and it’s really motivated by the opportutnity to have him grow up around cousins and grandparents and is what spurred this for me,” she said.

“My mom was brought to tears when I told her the news that I’d be coming back. We’re excited to bring the first birthday Hawaiian tradition to the mainland and to my family … and introduce himself to all of the family he hasn’t had a chance to meet.”

During her stay at UH, Wooley’s responsibilities included coordinating scheduling, recruiting and academics along with her on-court coaching duties. As she helped Beeman elevate the UH program, Wooley talked about how she’s been enriched by her time in Hawaii.

“It’s immeasurable. … I’ve compared it to what a student-athlete would go through (who) spend their four years here and then they graduate. You come in here and you think you know what life is about and then you grow and you understand what it really is about,” she said.

“I’ve been changed by the school and the island and I feel like a better person having experienced what the University of Hawaii has to offer and the opportunities Coach Beeman gave me to find my coaching voice and be so involved in the decision making of the program.

“We have a tremendous relationship. More than anything, I’m leaving a mentor, but I’m also saying goodbye to a really good friend. That’s been hard, but I look forward to when we’ll be able to meet up on the road recruiting and catch up and I’ll certainly be paying attention to what she’ll be doing over here as she continues to grow the program.”

While she’ll soon be on her way to her next post, Wooley could find her way back to the Stan Sheriff Center in coming seasons.

“I’ve already told (the UH coaches) I’ll be calling and trying to get in one of the tournaments and I’ll be looking for a hotel guarantee.”


  1. z August 30, 2016 7:35 pm

    Wow. Huge loss. Aloha coach Wooley. Take care.

  2. nomu August 30, 2016 11:33 pm

    Best wishes and aloha to Mary and her family. So happy for her mom and how great is it that her son will celebrating his first birthday with all of them!

  3. cappie the dog August 31, 2016 2:46 pm

    This hurts more than the departure of Megan Huff.

    When I first saw Coach Beeman and Coach Wooley, the first word that came to my head was “competence”.

    Loyola(Md.) just got better.

    Thank you, Coach Wooley.

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