Donovan hire lauded
Add WAC commissioner Karl Benson to the lengthening list of those voicing approval of the choice of Jim Donovan as Hawaii athletic director.
Donovan was confirmed by the UH Board of Regents on Thursday. He officially starts March 24, but will likely confer with Benson much sooner.
Benson worked with Donovan when the latter was the No. 2 person in the UH athletic department in the late 1990s until 2002. Their working relationship continued, as Donovan became executive director of the Hawaii Bowl.
"The WAC has been involved in (the Hawaii Bowl) for five years, so he's done an excellent job positioning that bowl," said Benson, at the WAC basketball tournaments.
The Hawaii Bowl has an agreement with the Pac-10 starting next year, giving the WAC representative a high-profile opponent.
Although this is Donovan's first job heading an athletic department, Benson said his connections in the islands and those he has developed throughout the NCAA makes him well rounded.
"He's a Hawaii guy, he knows the landscape and I think the last five years being in the bowl business has probably expanded his national connections, so I look forward to working with Jim," Benson said. "I'm happy for him and happy for his family."
Benson also said he is aware that the national forecast for lean economic times ahead will make a tough job even tougher -- but that's not just at UH.
"Any athletic director has tremendous financial challenges and he, like all of his colleagues, are going to be under the gun to generate new revenues and provide more resources to all the sports," Benson said.
Jason Kaneshiro contributed to this report.