HONOLULU (KHON2) — University of Hawaii’s athletic director revealed details of who helped him hire and vet the new coach. David Matlin tells Always Investigating he turned to past players, and current and past sports officials, to help him make the quick pick.
Matlin sat down with June Jones on Friday afternoon hoping to get best of both worlds: Have a legendary coach back for a couple years, with up-and-comer Timmy Chang waiting in the wings to take over.
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“We talked to Timmy saying, ‘This is what my Plan A is. Would you be on board with it?’” Matlin said. “And he actually said yes, he would be. He thought there was a lot of upside to that.”
The downside came quickly. Talks unraveled. Jones walked out. They circled back to Chang.
“That was Plan B. So pretty immediately once it broke off (with Jones), then went immediately to that,” Matlin said. “Within an hour maybe we started because the whole thing was about getting a coach on board for our student athletes.”
Who came up with Plan A, Plan B and whatever else went into the rapid-fire hiring process?
“There are a lot of people you just call and talk to, so a lot of ad hoc,” Matlin said. “The people that were in the room were Lois Mann my associate AD, Derek Inouchi (director of media relations), and then Scott Chan, the former Aloha Stadium manager. Those were the three people that were part of the interview.”
KHON2 asked: “You didn’t mention (UH) President (David) Lassner? Was he involved ahead of the final hiring?
“President Lassner has to approve it,” Matlin said. “So what I do is after every couple interviews, I talked to President Lassner and update him and tell him where we’re at. President Lassner was geared to come in (Friday) in case we got to the point where we’re going to offer him (Jones) a deal, so we can maybe finalize it right then.”
Last week UH wouldn’t say who was in Matlin’s inner circle for hiring the coach. There were more than just the current and past officials and the un-official influencers.
KHON2 asked Matlin: “Who was on your advisory group or panel that helped you reach these decisions?”
“I can tell you one, there was more than one advisory group: the one that was in the room during the interviews, and then there was one in advance where there was a group of alumni players, they were more ad hoc,” Matlin said. “I met with them, I think was six to eight, maybe seven to eight players, just to talk about characteristics. So people who love the program, who played in the 2000s, really gave some good advice and good thoughts.”
UH shortened the standard 10-day minimum application window to 5 days, in order to get a coach in place ahead of player recruiting deadlines.
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KHON2 asked: “How much vetting and background checking into character or unknown issues were able to be researched before you made the offer to Chang?
“We, I feel like we did a lot of vetting. And you do that a lot of different ways,” Matlin said. “There’s some background checks you do. And there’s some obvious talking to a lot of people. Timmy was a known quantity. But we did. And you have discussions with them, just ‘What do we need to talk about?’ So I feel we did a thorough job on that.”