University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Athletics Director (AD) David Matlin announced today (Wednesday, January 4, 2023) he is retiring from the university effective June 2, 2023. Matlin was named AD in March 2015 and under his leadership, the UH Mānoa Athletics Department has experienced unprecedented success, both on and off the playing field. While grade point averages and graduation rates of student athletes hit all-time highs, the men’s volleyball team captured back-to-back national championships, 30 teams participated in national postseason competition, the football team was invited to five bowl games, 14 teams won conference titles and 19 teams captured conference tournament crowns.
Matlin hired 16 head coaches, the most by any AD in school history, and is the only AD to hire three football head coaches (Nick Rolovich, Todd Graham and Timmy Chang), in addition to other flagship sports—men’s basketball (Eran Ganot), women’s volleyball (Robyn Ah Mow) and baseball (Rich Hill). He oversaw $35 million in facility upgrades impacting nearly all of UH’s 21 sports programs, while also increasing overall fundraising by $45 million in the last seven years.
This has been more than a job for me, it’s been the opportunity of a lifetime to work with some incredible people—our student-athletes, coaches, staff, university leadership, and of course our fans
“It’s been an honor to serve as the University of Hawaiʻi Athletics Director for the past seven and a half years,” Matlin said. “This has been more than a job for me, it’s been the opportunity of a lifetime to work with some incredible people—our student-athletes, coaches, staff, university leadership, and of course our fans—and I thank you all for the passion and dedication that each and every one of you give to our program every day. It’s with deep appreciation that I can say that I’m ready to retire as Athletics Director and pass the torch on to the next UH AD when I complete my 8-year term on June 2, 2023.”
Matlin also led the program through the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of Aloha Stadium, the football team’s home field, in December 2020. Working closely with UH leadership, Matlin oversaw the retrofit of the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex from 3,500 seats to 9,300 seats in time for the 2021 football season. He is also leading the effort to expand the Ching Complex to 15,000 seats in time for the 2023 season.
David has never wavered from putting the health and safety and academic success of our student athletes first. I can’t wait to see what successes and joys David’s next chapter brings…
“David Matlin has been a fantastic UH Mānoa Athletics Director and is truly going out on top,” UH President David Lassner said. “He is a highly respected senior AD and leader in the Big West Conference, the Mountain West Conference and nationally. David has navigated UH through multiple crises including COVID-19 and the unexpected loss of Aloha Stadium. He has strengthened our program financially by reducing costs where possible and creating new revenue streams. David has led us with integrity and responsibility through the initial upheavals in intercollegiate athletics that are now shaking the foundations of amateurism, including the introduction of the transfer portal and Name/Image/Likeness (NIL). He has given UH our exceptionally strong current cadre of head coaches who are at UH Mānoa by choice because they care deeply about Hawaiʻi and our university. And most of all, David has never wavered from putting the health and safety and academic success of our student athletes first. I can’t wait to see what successes and joys David’s next chapter brings to the Matlins.”
Other notable achievements under his Matlin’s tenure include:
- UH’s all-sport score of 986 reached an all-time high in 2021 in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate of student athletes, while seven UH teams were honored for their academic success.
- UH had its highest Learfield Directors’ Cup ranking (No. 68 in 2018–19) in 10 years for athletic achievement and a runner-up finish in the Dennis Farrell Big West Commissioner’s Cup in 2021–22.
- Secured one of the top multimedia rights partnerships among the Group of 5 conferences.
- Created partnerships with Hawaiian Airlines and Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority that helped reduce travel costs and brought in additional funding.
- Negotiated multi-million dollar TV rights agreement and radio broadcast rights.
- Represents UH at the highest levels of national governance, most recently serving on the Men’s Volleyball Committee since 2020.
Prior to UH, Matlin was a local business leader with more than 20 years of sports management experience in Hawaiʻi, including 13 years with ESPN, and seven as executive director managing the Hawaiʻi Bowl football game and Diamond Head Classic basketball tournament.
Matlin graduated from the University of Michigan in 1987 with a bachelor of arts degree. He holds a master of business administration from UH Mānoa’s Shidler College of Business. He is married to the former Dana Hatate and they have two children, Kisa and Ross.
“My heart is filled with gratitude as the University of Hawaiʻi has provided me with incredible experiences, friendships, and a top notch graduate education from the Shidler College of Business. Special thanks to President Lassner for his leadership and support of Intercollegiate athletics during these unprecedented times. There is much to do between now and the end of this academic year, so my focus will be on ensuring a smooth transition to the next AD and continuing the positive momentum we have built in all of our programs. Mahalo nui loa and GO ’BOWS!”
When he steps down in June, Matlin will be the fourth-longest serving AD in school history, behind Otto “Proc” Klum (1921–38), Stan Sheriff (1983–93) and Hugh Yoshida (1993–2002). It was his second stint with UH Mānoa after serving five years as an information officer primarily working with the ticket office.