First UH-Hilo AD Candidate Meets Community
The next step in choosing the next athletic director at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo got underway Friday, when the first of two finalists for the position arrived on campus for a meet-and-greet and question-and-answer session.
Current Notre Dame de Namur Athletic Director Joshua Doody appeared on campus, meeting with a small gathering of about 30 people in room UCB 127. Those who attended were largely from the campus community or media members, with only a tiny handful of community members deciding to attend the 4 p.m. session.
Doody was a finalist for this position back in 2009, losing out to Dexter Irvin, who has since moved on to become the Director of Athletics at the College of Southern Nevada, a school that sponsors just three NJCAA athletic programs.
“To be honest with you, I think it’s a very unique, very special place,” Doody said to the small gathering in explaining why he was interested in the job. “It needs to be taken care of. It needs to be tended to. It can’t be tended to with a harsh hand or a heavy, swift change. We need to gradually change and nurture it into a strong, healthy environment.”
Not only does he call it a special place, but he likes the “slow pace,” which he compares to his time as a student at Humboldt State, where he said that there wasn’t much to do outside of activities on campus.
A highlight of Doody’s current tenure at NDNU is the community engagement that his athletic programs participate in. At UH-Hilo, that takes on a double meaning, not only doing positive work to improve life in the community, but engaging the community to be active in supporting Vulcan athletics. As seen by the small number of community members gathered together for Doody’s introduction, engaging the community will be a major task.
“At times, you’ve had great turnouts for contests, and at times, you’ve had terrible turnouts for contests,” Doody said of attendance at UH-Hilo events he has been to. “How do we make that consistent? How do we put the brand out consistently? That’s the challenge. That’s a challenge that’s fixable.
“Even though we don’t have the teams that are winning night-in and night-out, we do have stories to tell of our student athletes, and we’ve got to push those stories out.”
On the revenue end, Doody knows a little bit about what UH-Hilo’s athletic department goes through, minus the red-tape clutter of working through the state system and the disadvantage of having a Division I program at Manoa being a priority, and at times, a detriment.
UH-Hilo’s athletic department budget currently sits at $2.8 million dollars, a far cry from the approximately $34 million dollars its big brother currently operates under. A little less than $1 million of that budget goes to travel, since every road game requires, at minimum, one airline flight.
While the budget number at UH-Hilo is low among PacWest Conference standards, it doesn’t get lower than what NDNU works with. Although Doody did not disclose his department’s budget, he said it is the lowest in the growing PacWest. That fact is incredible given that the school sits in the money-deep Silicon Valley area in California.
“You think that there is money all around in Silicon Valley or in the Bay Area, but it’s only those who have it who have money, and it’s not going around,” Doody explained. “The Silicon Valley companies, they are not focusing on a university to give their money to…they’re out focusing on K-12, not the university setting.”
Patrick Guillen, the other finalist for the job, will get his turn on Tuesday at 4 p.m., also at UCB 127. Guillen was the former athletic director at Cal State University-Dominguez Hills.
In an earlier story highlighting the two finalists, Big Island Now cited published online reports that stated that Guillen had been placed on administrative leave, leading to his departure last year from the AD position.
Since the story was published, multiple sources, including one close to the UH-Hilo screening committee, told us that those reports were inaccurate, and that Guillen had left the school on his own.
Big Island Now apologizes for the inaccurate information.