Whose credentials will add up as best choice for Hawaii’s AD?
WHEN Greg McMackin became the leading candidate to replace June Jones as head football coach at the University of Hawaii, there wasn't much debate.
Given the circumstances and the need for speed during the fever pitch of recruiting, McMackin's ascent to the throne was like an election in modern-day Russia -- Putin wins.
But the selection of the new athletic director for a program living paycheck to paycheck is another matter entirely. Even though all these candidates are properly credentialed, the list feels more like the usual suspects than the obvious choice.
Which begs the question: Isn't there someone out there who has been part of a successful mainland program with fresh ideas and high connections willing to come here and say, "We're going to fix this mess -- together?"
Instead, we have a solid, if unimaginative selection of candidates, most of whom have walked the hallowed halls of the UH athletic department with varying degrees of success.
Interim athletic director Carl Clapp is the early favorite. Like McMackin, he stepped in quickly to fill the gap after Herman Frazier was let go for failing to keep June Jones on board, even though Jones' departure had more to do with a broken system than the man assigned to run it.
But somebody had to pay for Santino's death and when president David McClain said to Frazier, "Tag, you're it," that put Clapp behind the desk in a heartbeat. And he's done a good job with the help of the current men and women on board.
The real issue for him is can he raise money, because he won't be the guy wearing the lamp shade crown at the Manoa parties. He is, however, the only one with any experience as athletic director in this group, including his six-year stint at Saint Mary's, and that should count for something.
Next up, Jim Donovan. This one's a little trickier, given he was Hugh Yoshida's right-hand man in the dark days of an administration that mishandled so many things that it would be hard to list them here. But, he was also a part of the Jones hiring and has kept afloat the Hawaii Bowl -- with the financial aid of Sheraton and ESPN -- and that should count for something.
ROCKNE FREITAS and Bob Wagner are currently Big Island boys with strong ties to the university. Both had good runs in the UH system that ended abruptly. Freitas is politically connected and could raise money with ease, but he has a few bags in the closet.
Wagner's relationship with the school is well documented. With that said, had anybody listened to Wagner in the early 1990s on how to run an athletic department, things would be in much better shape now. He knew how things worked way back when and understands the importance of facilities for a successful equation. And that should count for something.
Which leaves us with Marilyn Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano, whose career path at UH would make an excellent season for CBS's "Survivor." She has hung on tight when many sent her to the margins. She is highly qualified at certain levels, but is it enough to send her to the head of the class?
If this is the best of it, you could win or lose with any of these five. They all have their good points and slight drawbacks. It's just too bad you can't roll them up into one person and create a clear-cut choice.
Sports Editor Paul Arnett
has been covering sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1990. Reach him at email@example.com