HONOLULU — Hawaii’s new athletic director says he plans to balance the program’s budget and strengthen its ties to the larger community.
Ben Jay was introduced at a news conference Thursday at the university’s basketball arena. He comes from Ohio State, where he was senior associate athletics director for finance and operations since 2006.
Jay said he sees Hawaii as an important part of the state’s economy, as the top college for sports in a state with no professional teams.
“We’re a positive engine for the economy,” Jay said. “We ought to touch upon that.”
Jay said he’ll spend his first days on the job learning as much as he can about the department, then reach out to school, business and community leaders to make sure the program is taking advantage of pride for Hawaii sports.
“I’ll be reaching out,” he said. “There will be faces on campus I think that will be surprised to see me.”
Jay replaces Jim Donovan, who was reassigned after a bungled Stevie Wonder concert that was to be a fundraiser for the athletic department. Donovan left the university altogether after taking a job to be the new athletic director at Cal State Fullerton.
Jay said he’s reviewed the internal audit report and knows the department’s employees are eager to move on and show the department in being run properly.
“As with anything in life you get beyond it,” he said. “Everything’s about teachable moments. We will make mistakes and we will learn from that.”
Jay said he plans to look for new revenues to reach a balanced budget. He said he wants the department to at least break even.
Jay will be paid $293,000 per year, with bonuses worth thousands depending on how well the football and men’s basketball teams perform and the department’s finances.