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Apple clarifies thank you remark

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 7:32 p.m. HST, Oct 11, 2012

University of Hawaii at Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple attempted today to clarify his testimony to a Senate panel last week when he said nearly all UH coaches “thanked him” after the removal of Jim Donovan as athletic director.

State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim sent Apple a letter Monday asking him to clarify some of his testimony to the special Senate Committee on Accountability. During the Oct. 2 panel session, Apple said, “in the interest of transparency, I’ll say something. I received a couple of weeks later (after Donovan’s removal) a letter from 43 of 44 coaches saying thank you for the leadership we have.”

UH officials later acknowledged that he was referring to an Aug. 28 letter signed by all but one head coach, asking Apple to “consider immediately appointing (UH vice president for student affairs) Dr. Rockne Freitas as our athletic director.” That letter made no mention of Donovan in the three paragraphs preceding the signatures, did not thank him for his leadership. It only touted Freitas, who had been named interim athletic director earlier in the month.

In a written response to Kim Thursday, Apple said he interpreted the coaches’ letter “to mean that they appreciated the leadership of the person whom I had appointed to the Interim Athletic Director position, and that they were happy about his being there.”

Kim (D, Kalihi Valley-Halawa) had asked him to "please, specifically, point out where the letter states that coaches remarked ‘thank you for the leadership we have.'" 

In his reply, Apple said, “I may be wrong, but I thought I stated in my testimony before your committee that it was my opinion that the coaches who signed the letter wouldn’t have appeared so overwhelmingly supportive of the Interim AD if there had been significant support of the previous AD. As I was paraphrasing rather than quoting verbatim from the letter, I was relying on my recollection of it, and, therefore on the impression it had left on me.” 

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