Sports

Guillen Selected to Lead UH-Hilo Athletics

July 28, 2015, 4:51 PM HST
* Updated July 28, 4:53 PM
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The University of Hawai’i at Hilo will have an athletic director in place prior to the opening of the 2015-2016 intercollegiate sports schedule.

UH-Hilo officially announced that Patrick Guillen, former athletic director at Cal State Dominguez Hills, will become the school’s first permanent athletic director since Dexter Irvin left the school at the end of the 2013 calendar year.

Guillen was selected by UH-Hilo chancellor Donald Straney. The chancellor’s selection was approved by UH president David Lassner, but awaits approval from the Board of Regents, who has yet to place the agenda item up for the public ahead of its Aug. 20 meeting.

It is widely expected that Guillen will receive the board’s approval, especially since UH-Hilo announced the selection before receiving full clearance. Additionally, the university says that Guillen’s hiring will be made official the day after the meeting.

“Patrick brings a tremendous set of skills and leadership experience to the UH-Hilo athletic program,” says Straney in a school release. “He has a strong background in fostering excellence in student-athletes both on the field and in the classroom. He also has years of experience in effective fundraising and communication campaigns. He’s the right person at the right time to lead our Vulcan program forward.”

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For Guillen, it isn’t his first time to the islands, and he believes that will help him in knowing how to work with the community in putting the Vulcans back on the map.

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“I’ve been on the island many times for competition at Cal State Dominguez Hills,” Guillen explained. “There’s something special about the community of Hilo. Now that I’ve learned, since I’ve had much more interaction in this process, it’s not just the community of Hilo, but even more importantly, the people of Hilo. Once I was there going through the process in person…I was incredibly impressed by the people. Of course, when I was there interacting with everybody on campus and in the community, I just fell in love.”

Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, Guillen had been working as an independent consultant in the business industry. His only stint as an athletic director was the nine-year stint at Dominguez Hills, which started in 2005. His previous intercollegiate work was centered around sports information at Vanguard University and the NAIA Far West Region.

When Guillen spoke to assembled community members last month, he said that he wanted to reconnect those who remember the “old days” of Vulcan athletics, especially in basketball, with the current product. To do that, he believes it will take a team effort, not the effort of a singular AD, to turn things around.

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“There is a rich tradition at Hilo, and I know they are blessed with some great people in the department. I’m really looking forward to joining with them and working together,” said Guillen. “It’s going to take a community – the on-campus community and the external community – in Hilo to really get this program back to where the community deserves it to be.”

The budget will also an be an immediate topic for Guillen to address. He said last month that he wanted to talk with Chancellor Straney about getting additional support on top of the department’s $2.8 million budget. At the time, he said that at least $600,000 was needed to adequately fund the 12 programs offered at UH-Hilo, especially with approximately 70 percent of the budget allocated to travel expenses.

“Chancellor Straney has been, and continues to be, supportive in that regard,” Guillen said. “He is committed to get the Vulcans athletic program to the next level and to help us be successful.”

When Guillen officially jumps on board, he will have no time to waste in making an impact. The first athletic event takes place on Wednesday, Aug. 29 when UH-Hilo hosts a cross country event at the Naniloa Golf Course.

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