UH athletics director David Matlin reflects on his tenure after announcing his retirement

Matlin stepped into the role in 2015, and says it's a bittersweet decision to leave.
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 4:30 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - University of Hawaii athletics director David Matlin said that it was his choice to retire.

Saying after eight years, the time was right for him to hand off the reigns to someone else.

“I’m sad, but it’s good that I’m sad because it’s been an incredible experience.” Matlin told reporters. “It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been incredible.”

Matlin’s current contract expires in the Spring, but he stopped talks of re-signing once he knew it was time to walk away.

“I didn’t want to extend if I wasn’t committed to stay.” Matlin said. “So, we’ve had conversations about that, but you know, I think it’s over in April and I’m staying till June.”

Matlin had been contemplating retirement for some time, but says he knew the time was right after taking his family to see the musical “Hamilton” and hearing a song about George Washington leaving the presidency.

“I was watching and I just said, you know, I just want to end well, I want to end well and, and I just, I really felt in my heart that it was time.” Matlin said. “I mean I’m still here till June and I don’t believe in lame duck, I believe that I’m the athletic director until June and I have work to do.”

Some of that work includes the Expansion of Ching Field, but right now Matlin is reflecting on his tenure in Manoa.

His regrets.

“I think I could have done a better job communicating rationale to people.”

His biggest challenges.

“I would say COVID.” Matlin said. “That’s also what I’m proudest about probably because our team, our staff, our medical team, you talk about rock stars, you talk about people that were on fumes, You know, and even our student athletes, everyone’s got to buy in and and we weren’t perfect, but gosh, did we care.”

And his greatest successes, one being the ability to give the majority of his hires a shot at their first head coaching gig.

“When you’re able to give someone, you know, whether it be Nick (Rolovich) or Timmy (Chang) or Mike Stevens or, you know, any of them, Robin Ah Mow I mean, you know what a great story.”

“We won’t know the impact we’ve had, but I know UH athletics has made a big difference for a lot of people’s lives, whether they’re on a team or a fan or supporter, and it’s been a blessing to be able to steward that.”

There is no current timeline on finding his successor