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Donovan out as UH athletic director

August 13, 2012 - Robert Collias
The University of Hawaii is now looking for someone to fill the seemingly constant hot seat that comes with the office that says "Athletic Director" on the door.

In a written statement Sunday, the school finally came to an understanding on the status of Jim Donovan, who had been on paid leave for the last month in the aftermath of the Stevie Wonder concert that never was. This is a sad loss for the school, IMHO, especially in the wake of the performance of the last two men to sit in Donovan's seat on a permanent basis.

Separate statements from the school and Donovan said that Donovan will stay at the school and continue to pull in more than $200,000 per year, but in a capacity other than AD. In the school's statement, UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple said Donovan has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

In a statement of his own, Donovan wrote, "I am very pleased that I have been cleared of any wrongdoing as I have always acted in the best interests of the university. I appreciate Chancellor Apple's efforts and the cooperation of the university administration to return me to active state and I look forward to working with Chancellor Apple."

Donovan will continue to collect his $240,000 salary for now, but when his contract expires in March, he will be reassigned to an as yet untitled position, the school said.

Apple will recommend to the UH Regents that they approve a three-year appointment for Donovan, $211,200 a year, which will be temporarily reduced to $200,640.

The school's news release said, Donovan will have "significant responsibilities" in designing, creating, marketing and communicating the university's mission to the public.

Apple said in the school's statement, "Jim is a gentleman who had conducted himself with great honor during this difficult period. I am delighted we have agreed to his return to full duty status and we are looking forward to a long-term relationship."

Specifically for Maui, this is the loss of the man who was instrumental in bringing the men's volleyball team here twice, the women's volleyball team here once for the first time in 21 years, and most significantly, the football team twice. Those visits may continue to happen, but now there is no guarantee — those visits did not happen under Herman Frazier, for example.

The UHAD is losing a man, in Donovan, who has worked on the lower campus since 1985, serving as baseball stadium manager, sports marketing director, assistant athletics director and associate athletics director before heading the department beginning in 2008. He was also in charge of the Hawaii Bowl after being passed over for AD when Frazier was hired — a valuable link to the bowl game that UH will play in most of the time it is eligible.

Rich Sheriff, the point man in the Wonder concert negotiations, is set to return to his job as manager of the Stan Sheriff Center today. The UH basketball arena is named after Sheriff's deceased father, a former AD for the school.


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