Time to get down to business

One of yesterday’s oddest talk-radio topics was how much time should Dave Matlin be given to succeed as athletic director. It was odd because: 1) Matlin’s introductory news conference was 30 minutes away, and 2) UH’s accrued problems, like an accrued debt, are not the new AD’s burden alone. It would be like handing a box of bills to a CPA and saying: Fix it.

Here are the reasonable expectations:

> The power of “No”: From what I remember from professor James Mak’s econ class, a bad business model is when expenses go up while revenues go down. I get how revenues can go down based on a ticket sales/projections/etc., but how can expenses go up to create a combined $3 million projected deficit? Sure, UH is on the hook for travel subsidies, but those are fixed costs that have been in place for three years. It was a sticker shock when the subsidies were first implemented, but that shouldn’t be blamed for a spike between the current and last year’s fiscal-year budgets. And there’s talk the deficit still can grow by hundreds of thousands. How? Sure, UH will be paying for two ADs for two months, but that doesn’t account for that much more in added expenses. Somebody better check those lunch receipts at the Big West Tournament. The former AD was a “yes” man. Matlin will need to say “no” to many requests.

> Brief orientation: What makes Ferd Lewis an outstanding reporter is he always asks each new hire: Did you kick the tires? Translation: Do you really know all of UH’s problems and shortcomings? The hires usually say, “no problem,” and then a month on the job wonder why they still haven’t received their first paycheck. (Conversely, McMackin was getting reimbursement checks six months after he departed.) That shouldn’t be a problem for Matlin. He’s worked in the UH athletic department system. He knows the problems. He knows the hard workers and the slackers. Unlike many new hires, Matlin does not need an extended period to assess.

> Help from above: It appears the UH system’s leader named a business leader to form the search-advisory committee that recommended the AD candidate who eventually was hired. It should be up to those involved in the hiring process to provide the resources to help the new AD, and not just in the short term. If you want to be a power broker, you have to stay in the game.


  1. el burro sabio March 26, 2015 8:59 am

    ekahi, ichi, uno, foist

  2. Stephen Tsai March 26, 2015 9:05 am

    El Burro:

  3. el burro sabio March 26, 2015 9:11 am

    Good morning ST.
    In this digital age, maybe the PPV concept is outdated. Think WWE Network, $9.99 per month. The hard part is to not make it so inexpensive as to cut into paid attendance yet make it affordable enough for mainland and foreign subscribers to want to buy in.

  4. NorthShoreFan March 26, 2015 9:18 am

    Guud Morning Tsaikos…bootiful day.

    interesting observations and questions. how many years to succeed?
    what if Mr. Matlin is able to “manage” the projected deficit and not have it get any bigger? Success?
    There must have been some benchmarks set down for him to accomplish. Those becomes the measurement of “success”.

  5. oneseason March 26, 2015 9:22 am

    Ben Jay announces his retirement on 9 December. UH announces Dave Matlin’s hiring on 25 March. Matlin indicated that he is not able to “officially” start work until 27 April … it is good to know he is going to try and get things moving … “I think we need to do it as expeditiously as possible. But more importantly than that, we need to make the right decision. So I understand the deadline (of the National Letter of Intent), the clock’s ticking. I don’t start until April 27, I believe officially, but I will be working in consultation with the chancellor and other people on campus to get that done as quick as possible. We start today.” … http://khon2.com/2015/03/25/david-matlin-named-new-uh-athletics-director-2/

  6. NorthShoreFan March 26, 2015 9:28 am

    If first order of business is get Coach Taylor signed up, then can’t BJ do this with DM’s blessings?

  7. NorthShoreFan March 26, 2015 9:29 am

    If BJ is still the AD that is…it’s called “team work” like the 4×100 relay race.

  8. nanakuli March 26, 2015 10:01 am

    I know our attendance for football will go up. All of you that have been to last few Hawaii Bowls know what I mean. Every year at work they give free Hawaii Bowl tickets, that’s why they say 23,000 attended the game when it looks like there are only about 6,000 t0 10,000 in Aloha Stadium. UH should have announced crowds of 40,000 with Matlin in charge.

  9. Inyoface March 26, 2015 10:06 am

    If they make a stadium on campus, they should take a look at how the Rose Bowl is constructed. From the outside it looks half the size of Aloha Stadium yet it seats twice as much. If its a 40-50k seat stadium it shouldn’t take as much space. Parking structures would be a whole other story.

  10. SteveM March 26, 2015 10:31 am

    Good morning everyone!

    The work time clock is ticking and Matlin hasn’t officially punched in yet. What he does in the next few weeks will be scrutinized more than when he becomes “official”.

  11. hitman March 26, 2015 11:35 am

    aloha everyone !! ST nice story on keith amemiya ( It’s time for aloha and support) what a class act he is !! just hope UH made the right choice there with Dave Matlin !! because we lost a great one !! lucky for us he loves hawaii and UH !!

  12. Stephen Tsai March 26, 2015 11:45 am

    Amemiya and his wife will remain as season-ticket holders for football (10 tickets), men’s basketball (six) and women’s volleyball (four).

  13. Stephen Tsai March 26, 2015 11:52 am

    A few weeks ago, I left the house at 5:30 p.m. for a volleyball match beginning at 7:05. It turned out there was a softball game and ILH baseball game on the Lower Campus. The University freeway exit was backed. The three parking booths were backed up, in part because the right side was two lanes merging. There also was the matter of the parking attendant needing to turn, punch the time stamp and get change. I made it into the arena between the national anthem and Hawaii Pono‘i. So, no, UH can’t handle an on-campu stadium.
    Also, that would mean expanding the parking structure. UH used a bond to pay for the last expansion — one of the reasons the athletic department doesn’t get parking for its events.

  14. Winning March 26, 2015 12:01 pm

    “Expeditiously” will be difficult to accomplish in a state run University. If it were a private one, easy! Bureaucracy stymies everything in its path. The blureaucrats have to justify their positions whether paid or not(reflects their personal endeavors) I will be shocked if BT gets hired in less than 2 weeks. Would be nice tho! to solve that problem “expeditiously”. Same goes for foots.

  15. Stephen Tsai March 26, 2015 12:03 pm

    If they decide to keep BT, then it doesn’t matter how long the process takes.
    If they choose another person, then it is late.

  16. st. anthony trojan March 26, 2015 12:41 pm

    Watch this if u have time..

    This is the stadium answer…


  17. Turk March 26, 2015 12:46 pm

    Unfortunately for Dave Matlin, he accepted a job that is akin to being a ship’s captain on a vessel that has taken on so much water it is listing dangerously and in danger of sinking. He doesn’t get a chance to worry about the deck chairs sliding across the deck.

    Benjy Taylor will be the first test. Benjy’s agent will have UH over a barrel due to the timing and thus be able to command a bigger, longer and better contract than UH wanted. While some may be OK with that given the record this year, a lucrative contract now seems to be the usual athletic dept move of painting themselves into a corner, and making a shortsighted decision that costs a lot in the future (once the faux luster subsides).

  18. Old Diver March 26, 2015 12:56 pm

    Just wondering if Blangardi and Amemiya knew they were not going to be considered thus did not initially apply. Would be sad if Amemiya was snookered into later applying just to satisfy the general public. Just thinking out loud.

  19. Da Punchbowl Kid March 26, 2015 12:59 pm

    Great post Stephen. That last point rang very true.

    From what I saw of Matlin’s newscast interview last night, he sounded good coming out of the gate.

    Any finalist for the candidate of UHAD or other leadership posts at Manoa should be thoroughly debriefed about areas of concern related to their positions, and they be asked how they would deal with those issues. Transparency along with tire kicking, so there are no big surprises waiting for the new hires or those who do the hiring.

    Would making the Associate ADs re-apply whenever a new UHAD is hired be a prudent move? What does everybody think?

  20. bowwar March 26, 2015 1:05 pm

    I just hope with Matlin, that he is able to get this “sinking ship” at Manoa, turned around…It will require alot of help and consensus, but it can be done…I would extend FB season ticket renewals for another two weeks to allow fans to “buy-in” with the new AD and his goals.

  21. SteveM March 26, 2015 1:40 pm

    RE: #19
    DPK — I asked a similar question yesterday regarding “courtesy resignation”. Maybe seniority and the union confounds this business tradition?

    When a football head coach is replaced, everyone expects that most of the former assistant coaches will not be retained by the new coach. New coach and new system often needs new coaches. Even in administration, the old assistants were part of the problem (in varying degrees) that caused the AD to be ousted. The new boss should be able to pick his head staff.

  22. blancachica March 26, 2015 2:15 pm

    I wonder if the coaches will still be allowed to make empty promises to recruits, to play obvious favorites, who are not necessarily the best skilled, or make players responsible if their fans are asking for someone else to play? Coaches like this are so bad for morale, and I’m surprised that this behavior is considered coaching. More like blatant discrimination, taking care of personal animosity by pounding on unfavorite team members. And lying to parents even. Couldn’t keep my mouth shut.

  23. Big Blue March 26, 2015 2:42 pm

    It is not very difficult the new hire must know football. Why??? Simply because it is the MOTHERSHIP of the athletic program.
    Simple things like asking the head coach, why are you hiring grad assistants to run a segment of your offense? Questions like these would have saved the program a ton of pain.
    I would have thought going into the fourth year of this coaches tenure we would be a top twenty five team. Instead what????

  24. Trunks420 March 26, 2015 2:55 pm

    Im thinking of getting a loan for $100,000 and Donating $50,000 to UH Football.

  25. st. anthony trojan March 26, 2015 2:56 pm

    OD #18 VERY good point…hope that is not the case…Hopefully AD would not take part in ne thing that could resemble that….

    # 22…glad ur speak out on that…sumthing like that usually manifested be a losing record in most sports…as there is low morale on the team and among players….
    Hope was not the case in the first 3 years of the present team…unless sum accusations are made public…..

  26. Manoa Mist March 26, 2015 4:21 pm

    Has anyone considered the real problem with Matlin? He’s kind of short, man.
    He ain’t Danno from 5-0 short, I mean I don’t think Danno’s little feet touch the pedals when he tries to drive, unless he sits on a couple telephone books, but Matlin just ain’t the tallest.
    He do got kind of a big head though, so maybe he got a lot of brains in there.
    And oh, will Bad Job just please exit stage right stat? Ain’t a dang thing that fella can teach Matlin. Not a dang thing.

  27. Manoa Mist March 26, 2015 4:26 pm

    Actually I think if you have to sit on telephone books to see over the dash, you little feet would be even more far away from the pedals.
    This for Matlin and Little Danno:

    Short People got no reason
    Short People got no reason
    Short People got no reason
    To live

    They got little hands
    Little eyes
    They walk around
    Tellin’ great big lies
    They got little noses
    And tiny little teeth
    They wear platform shoes
    On their nasty little feet

    Well, I don’t want no Short People
    Don’t want no Short People
    Don’t want no Short People
    `Round here

    Short People are just the same
    As you and I
    All men are brothers
    Until the day they die

    Short People got nobody
    Short People got nobody
    Short People got nobody
    To love

    They got little baby legs
    That stand so low
    You got to pick ’em up
    Just to say hello
    They got little cars
    That go beep, beep, beep
    They got little voices
    Goin’ peep, peep, peep
    They got grubby little fingers
    And dirty little minds
    They’re gonna get you every time
    Well, I don’t want no Short People
    Don’t want no Short People
    Don’t want no Short People
    ‘Round here

  28. pollypicador March 26, 2015 4:36 pm

    Re-UH misses the boat in not selecting KA

    All things considered give me the AD applicant that is indigenous to the state (and more indigenous than any other applicant in making inroads into Asia) , government, high schools, BOE, UH’s upper campus (BOR), law, athletics and has the drive to succeed. KA would have been the better choice-a proven leader, a pied piper clone that would have been a better leader of the people. KA, however, would not have been somebody’s puppet. He is his own man-a trailblazer type. He has the tenacity to pound the pavement and the charisma to knock on doors and persuade. This is the ideal candidate that UH could have hired in overcoming it’s current crisis in balancing it’s budget. UH, lo and behold, like it has in other fruitless hiring, went in the other direction (literally). It doesn’t make sense.

  29. beans March 26, 2015 5:09 pm

    Full Moon Day?

  30. Old Diver March 26, 2015 6:04 pm


    Nailed it.

  31. Winning March 26, 2015 6:40 pm

    #15. Mr. ST, affects recruiting. Unless someone knows whats going to happen, how can a recruit know for sure that BT is staying? Imagine a coach telling a recruit that the U of Hi is a great school and that even if I wont be there you will experience a rich atmosphere of aloha, great weather and fabulous beaches.

  32. beans March 26, 2015 7:08 pm

    Winning #15
    I agree looking at it from the prospective player’s perspective.

  33. cappie the dog March 26, 2015 7:18 pm


    Randy Newman!!!

    Now you’re talking.

    Do you know the song “Rednecks” from the album “Good Ol’ Boys”?

  34. cocobean March 26, 2015 7:20 pm

    polly. I would have preferred Amemiya. Thought he would was the strongest candidate in terms of fund raising. Posted early on Amemiya has the ability to have people take his calls and convince them to say yes. Don’t know too much about Matlin but he does have some high powered backers especially in light of him being the only candidate recommended by the advisory committee.

    I think what tipped the scale in favor of Matlin is his perceived connections on the mainland and his relationship with ESPN. He’s worked with conference commissioners, ADs and football/basketball coaches through his work with the Hawaii Bowl and The Diamond Head Classic. They are the ones who would be more likely to take his calls than if Amemiya came a calling.

    I think Bley-Vroman played it safe and chose the person the advisory committee advocated. In the back of his mind he probably was thinking about the last big hiring where the powers that be went against the recommendations of the advisory committee and went with the guy (Chow) with the most “local juice.”

  35. cappie the dog March 26, 2015 7:21 pm

    As I recall, UH took too long when they finally decided on Bob Nash as Wallace’s successor.

    So late to the table, Nash, I think, made the mistake of recruiting high school players instead of JC guys. If you’re stuck with fifth-tier talent, you don’t want to be saddled with them for four years.

  36. NorthShoreFan March 26, 2015 7:33 pm

    #35 and more reasons to get BT on board officially. He needs to recruit yesterday. Might be hard to do that if he can’t say for certain he will be the man in charge.

  37. A-House March 26, 2015 7:36 pm

    dpk #19:

    as a matter of courtesy, all the assistants should tender a letter of resignation and allow the new UHAD to rehire or let them go

    I sincerely believe that the acting chancellor’s decision to delay Ben Taylor’s position for the new UHAD will be a big mistake – to me, shows very little knowledge of what the real world is away from “academia” where everything revolves in their own little world

    truly disappointing that the BOR members don’t use their “outside” skills/knowledge to righten the listing ship – if it tips over, does it reflect poorly on their management skills/knowledge/decisions? however, like I heard, ” why worry about morals when you don’t have any”

  38. A-House March 26, 2015 7:42 pm


    know what you mean – just listening to the ladies in our office discuss the selection and people standing in line at the cashiers – all voted confidence in Amemiya with no disrespect to Matlin

    like skewing survey results – select people to the committee that will support your position and “wa la”!!!

  39. oneseason March 26, 2015 7:46 pm

    #34 … IMO Chow et al promised champagne on a beer budget. No need for OC, have grad assistants replace position coaches, plus the lower advertised HC salary. Back then, the AD’s choice for HC was overruled by upper campus. You could be right about this being B-V playing it safe. Or maybe upper campus just got the selection committee they wanted this time. Regardless though, AD Matlin has a great opportunity to excel.

  40. cocobean March 26, 2015 7:48 pm

    #20. Football season ticket renewals are a large revenue source for the UHAD. I think the marketing for renewals is lacking. I’m still a fence sitter and I’m trying to convince myself that sitting in the stands will be better than last season’s experience. That being there is better than watching the game in high definition somewhere else.

    The renewal deadline Monday. I feel they should extend it a couple of weeks until Spring practice is under way. UHAD is selling a product, a show. They should give their fans a sample of the product, a preview of the show. I think if they extend the dead line they’d get a higher % of renewals.

  41. oneseason March 26, 2015 8:06 pm

    #37 … It looks like “ASSOC ATHLETIC DIRECTOR” positions are part of UH executive management salaries. If subordinate resignations are typical, that is fine … and maybe it should be the norm. But expecting only folks in athletics to give up $140k class jobs would seem like a lot to ask. … http://www.uhpa.org/salary-research/executive-management-salaries/

  42. 3-Prong March 26, 2015 9:36 pm

    Hey cocobean, guess I’m talking to you and other undecideds on renewing season tickets. You guys should renew. Remember, there are guys like me out there hoping people with great seats choose not to renew. Gives guys like us chance to move into better seats. I’d feel bad taking your seats when success returns to our team. Seriously, you guys should renew…GO BOWS!

  43. Da Punchbowl Kid March 26, 2015 9:38 pm

    After looking at the salary chart – mahalo oneseason – you’d think think that upper campus could find a way to hire a guy like Amemiya. His skill set and reputation could be put to great use in athletics and elsewhere.

    Those are my last comments on this latest move. Truth be told, I’d hate to be the guy who tells anyone they must tender a “courtesy resignation” – but the folks here provide great food for thought. I will now watch and hope for the best like most of us.

    Good luck to Matlin!

  44. A-joe March 26, 2015 10:01 pm

    ST- Can we get a chance to talk with Matlin?

  45. cocobean March 26, 2015 10:38 pm

    3-P. I’ve sat in the same row since the stadium opened. I’ve moved closer to the aisle as folks in our group dropped out. I’m the last of the Mohigans. It’s so tempting to give in and watch the game with friends or family who have pay per view….they swear by it. If weren’t for the parking pass I probably would.

    #23. The UHAD couldn’t afford to pay a guy like Amemiya. Even at the AD’s salary he would’ve been taking a big salary cut.

  46. cocobean March 26, 2015 10:40 pm

    #45 should be addressing #43.

  47. pollypicador March 27, 2015 6:16 am

    Re-The new AD’s press conference

    I just listened to the new AD’s 13 minute interview with the media.

    He struck out.

    He uses the phrase “daunting”.

    He acknowledges that he’s humbled at the opportunity.

    And he sees that he needs to steward a change.

    He then later makes the admission that he may make mistakes…(oh really and why would one share such gloom with the ones his trying to make a good first impression on?)

    He follows that up and wishes to learn from those potential mistakes and cautions the public, too (basically to bear with him).

    He again uses the phrase how his new job is “daunting.” (Oh my, pinch me…is this for real…).

    He sounds, in my opinion, too much like that of an apprentice and not that of a journeyman (UH needed a person that projects like a journeyman).

    During his time at the podium he also made light of the fact that two former AD’s

    poked fun at how his impending health will take a hit because of taking the job.

    In my opinion the new AD has “Gomer Pyle” written all over him, where he sounds sincere, forthcoming and looks wide eyed. But something seems to be missing. For me I don’t see the new AD (not fair to use one press conference as a measuring stick…I know) as projecting the confidence to inspire the public’s support, trusts and respect. He did say that the Hawaii people are a giving people if they (basically) can get a good return on their investment. (Give him this much… his words may prove to be prophetic-I hope they are).

    I don’t know. I’m disappointed. I wanted to hear a war cry. Passion. Pep talk. Excitement. And to see a swing for the fences and a home run…a good impression…someone that’s sharp– instead I listened to how the new AD looks at the job and the forthcoming demands, duress and dauntlessness. Not a good start.

  48. 3-Prong March 27, 2015 6:41 am

    Cocobean: i see your dilemma…

    Maitlan coming up on Hi News Now soon.

    Have a Great Aloha Friday Everyone.

  49. cocobean March 27, 2015 7:24 am

    polly. What did you want him to say? That we’d be chasing championships?

  50. Shoko March 27, 2015 7:40 am

    Saw Matlin’s press conference and would agree that he came off a little timid in answering questions.

    “A lot of people say the biggest problem is the budget deficit. Well, that’s an issue but I think the real issue is doing the best with what you have and growing it.”

    Not sure how to interpret the above statement. It sounded as if he’s not going to put much emphasis on creating additional revenue streams to subsidize athletics but work with what is available. I don’t see how you’re going to grow with that kind of philosophy.

  51. pollypicador March 27, 2015 7:40 am


    He did say he basically wants to play his cards close to the vest as to not let his competitors gain from what he has up his sleeve. That was good.

    But still…I didn’t wanted to see a person on a bike with training wheels say how daunting the ride ahead of him might be. And la,de,da. I wanted to see a better first impression, confidence and projection.

  52. Stephen Tsai March 27, 2015 9:45 am

    New post: http://hawaiiwarriorworld.com/?p=29400

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