Donovan might be UH athletic director
UH Board of Regents must approve the selection
STORY SUMMARY »
Jim Donovan will likely be named the University of Hawaii's athletic director next week.
Donovan's name was forwarded by Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw to the Board of Regents yesterday. The board must approve the selection.
Donovan, 48, is executive director of the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. He is a former UH football player and has worked at the UH athletic department, including as assistant and associate athletic director from 1993 to 2002.
He also was being considered to become a member of the Board of Regents, but Donovan removed his name yesterday from a list for consideration that had been forwarded to the governor.
Donovan was among five applicants interviewed by a search committee headed by Hinshaw. The others were interim athletic director Carl Clapp, Rockne Freitas, Marilyn Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano and Bob Wagner.
Donovan had applied to be athletic director in 2002 when his boss, Hugh Yoshida, retired. Herman Frazier was hired. Frazier was dismissed in January.
Frazier was paid $250,000 per year. KITV-4 reported yesterday that Donovan's pay would be similar and that the length of his contract would be five years.
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Riley Wallace wasn't always in Jim Donovan's corner.
The feisty former University of Hawaii basketball coach had an infamous run-in with Donovan when football coach Bob Wagner was fired in 1996, with Wallace backing Wagner, and Donovan, then associate athletic director, threatening to make it a 2-for-1 deal.
But now, Wallace is a Donovan fan. He said UH-Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw made the right choice when she forwarded Donovan's name to the Board of Regents yesterday as her choice to become the next athletic director.
"He's everything they need," Wallace said last night in a phone interview. "He's an ex-player, a UH graduate, got a master's in business. He has experience as an associate AD there and started a very good marketing program there. I think the coaches will like him, and he's got good connections with coaches around the country and with ESPN through the Hawaii Bowl."
Barring something completely unexpected, Donovan will become UH's 18th athletic director next week.
UH spokesman Gregg Takayama confirmed that Donovan is Hinshaw's choice for the position. "He was also the nominee of the screening committee," Takayama said.
It is expected to be a five-year appointment.
Hinshaw headed a search committee that also interviewed interim athletic director Carl Clapp, Hawaii Community College Chancellor Rockne Freitas, UH associate athletic director Marilyn Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano and Wagner, who is now Kamehameha-Hawaii athletic director.
Sources told the Star-Bulletin last week that Donovan shone during his interview.
Donovan declined comment yesterday other than to acknowledge that his name is on the Board of Regents' agenda regarding personnel transactions. The board meets Thursday and Friday at Honolulu Community College.
"I am aware my name has been forwarded to the regents," Donovan said in a brief phone interview. "But out of deference and respect to the university and the chancellor and the regents, I will make no comment until after the meeting next week."
Donovan removed his name yesterday from a list of people being considered for appointment to the Board of Regents by the governor. He remains executive director of the Hawaii Bowl for now.
Former UH football teammate Tim Lyons sent an e-mail to Hinshaw last month supporting Donovan, a copy of which Lyons provided to the Star-Bulletin.
Lyons cited Donovan's experience at UH and extensive connections among the state's business and political leadership as pluses.
"Jim Donovan has a demonstrated track record of developing and nurturing long-term relationships with key leaders in business and government which will be necessary for the department to achieve its challenging objectives," Lyons wrote.
Donovan replaces Herman Frazier, who was dismissed in January. Many found fault with Frazier's insular leadership style.
"I don't want to criticize Herman Frazier, but it seemed like in his job he was a little aloof," longtime UH volleyball fan Clifton Satsuma said.
Frazier was paid $250,000 per year. KITV-4 reported yesterday that Donovan would receive a similar salary. Donovan declined to confirm that.
Donovan, 48, is the living definition of "kamaaina." He has lived in Hawaii since coming here in 1981 to play football at UH. He married a local woman, Tracy Orillo-Donovan, and they have two teenage children.
"He has experience with getting more people aware of the program and everything. He one local boy but then has mainland ties," said UH volleyball fan Lori Wilhelm.
UH men's volleyball coach Mike Wilton was hired prior to the 1993 season, when Donovan was associate athletic director under Hugh Yoshida.
"Good," Wilton said. "I think he's a good choice."
Cindy Luis and Brian McInnis of the Star-Bulletin contributed to this report.
Profile: Jim Donovan
» Current job: Sheraton Hawaii Bowl executive director (since 2002)
» Other positions: UH assistant and associate athletic director (1993-2002), UH sports marketing director (1988-1993), Rainbow Stadium manager (1985-1988)
» Education: Bachelor's degree in geography, UH; master's in business administration, UH
» Born: Sept. 21, 1959, in Houston (raised in Anaheim, Calif.)
» Family: Married (Tracy), two children (Jacqueline, 15, Joshua, 13)
» Athletic background: Honorable mention All-WAC as UH offensive lineman (1981-82), previously all-conference at Santa Ana (Calif.) College and team MVP at Servite High School (Anaheim, Calif.)
» Other notable: President of own marketing and consulting company, m2c Inc.