Kalani Simpson Sidelines

Kalani Simpson

Frazier should try
to plug UH

AS you and every construction company in Greece are fully aware, the Olympic countdown clock is ticking fast. The summer games will be here before we can blink. And Hawaii's athletic director, Herman Frazier, a grand poo-bah in the USOC, is going to be getting more and more face time as the head of the U.S. delegation.

He'll probably do a few interviews. He's sure to show up on television a time or two. He'll be a name sports fans everywhere will get to know as the Opening Ceremonies draw near.

He can't blow it.

It's time to take him down to the Rain Bow Tique for an Olympic makeover.

Forget the U.S. uniform, or even draping himself in the flag. Even his own Olympic medals would be the wrong way to go, that's not the personal style we're looking for.

No, in every Olympic appearance, he should be draped in green.

In every interview, he should throw out more Hawaii references than Neil Everett on "SportsCenter."

His chef de mission chef's hat should be adorned with an "H."

I mean it. I'm serious about this. And let's not go for subtle, either, Mr. Frazier. A lapel pin is nice, but it won't get "Hawaii athletic director" attached to his name in the New York Daily News (I know because it didn't, in a May 15 story).

I can see how Frazier might balk at this. I know I certainly would if I were him. It sounds undignified. You can't do Olympic business while dressed for a tailgate party (though, if handled just right, it could certainly be pulled off, could become a trademark, even be something ordinary sports fans around the country would come to love about him; a good-natured running gag).

Let's not forget, this is the reason he was hired.

Now, I think with his ability and experience Frazier has the potential to become a great AD at UH. And I say that not because of anything to do with the Olympics or whatever medals he's won (that's nice, but unless he melts them down it won't balance the budget).

I just think, if he throws himself into the job, he's that good.

But at Alabama-Birmingham he had a multi-million dollar deficit, he had a horrific football sexual harassment scandal, and he had trustees hiring a senior associate AD he didn't want and openly threatening to do away with athletics altogether.

None of that may have been his fault. But neither was it fixed before he left, either.

(On the positive side, he took a courageous, unpopular stand and hired the basketball coach who just took UAB to the Sweet 16 -- brackets everywhere thank you.)

The Olympics -- that UH's AD would be a big man in the USOC -- got him this job.

It's why his bosses don't mind that he's splitting his focus as Athens approaches. (Yes, he's a workaholic, and a genius at time management, and a scheduling savant. But still yet ...) Because even on Olympic business, he'd be taking his day job along.

And yet, none of these national stories cite UH anywhere.

So throw on an "H" jacket, for that next interview. Mention it's because you're cold ... that you are from Hawaii, after all.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Kalani Simpson can be reached at


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