Saturday, December 08, 2012

Ben Jay named Hawaii AD

The University of Hawaii ended five months of turmoil, speculation and uncertainty for its sports programs by announcing Friday that an Ohio State University official will be its new athletic director.

Ben Jay, OSU's executive associate athletic director for finance and operations, will succeed Jim Dono­van.

Donovan was put on leave from his post as UH athletic director in July when the school launched an investigation into the promotion of a Stevie Wonder concert that never materialized. Although he would be cleared of misconduct, Dono­van never returned to his athletic director job, instead agreeing to a reassignment in Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple's office.

Apple chose Jay over Solo­mon "Solly" Fulp, the University of California's deputy director of athletics. An 11-member selection committee recommended Jay and Fulp as finalists.

UH announced the hiring at 3:19 p.m., when a mass email was distributed. Chang wrote in an email that Apple would not be available for an interview with the Star-Advertiser on Friday.

But in a video interview with Ka Leo o Hawaii, the UH student newspaper, Apple indicated Jay's "background in accounting and finance" was a factor in his hiring. Apple said Jay was in charge of a $135 million budget at Ohio State.

UH's athletic department budget is about $100 million smaller. The department has borrowed more than $10 million from a UH fund to cover revenue shortfalls the past decade.

"He is very aware of the deficit, and he has ideas on how to move us forward," Rainbow Wahine volleyball coach Dave Shoji said.

Jay said, "One of the things is taking on challenges. I think if you ask (Ohio State athletic director) Gene Smith or any of my former bosses, that's something I enjoy. I like to try to tackle issues."

Jay said he expects to begin at UH in January.

Jay's father was born in Peru, then moved to China, where he was married. The couple then moved to the United States.

Jay was born and raised in Columbus, where his parents owned a mom-and-pop store near the Ohio State campus.

He is an Ohio State graduate with a bachelor's degree in accounting and master's in athletic administration.
He has worked as a minor league general manager and was director of operations for the Cleveland Indians. He was an assistant athletic director at Fairfield University before working 12 years as the Pac-10 Conference's commissioner for business and finance. In 2006 he returned to Ohio State.

Jay and his wife, Ling, have three children.

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