Toting a cardboard box into a nearly barren office, Ben Jay officially took over as athletic director at the University of Hawaii this morning, vowing to help the department win back public trust.
Jay arrived shortly before 8 a.m. to an empty desk and new email account after spending six years as a senior associate AD at Ohio State.
Jay said he feels tasked with rebuilding the department’s reputation in the wake of the so-called Stevie Wonder Blunder. "The department’s reputation was seriously injured by the Stevie Wonder concert and I think there’s a lack of trust and a lack of faith in our department and I want to make sure that I’m sending a message loud and wide (that) you will trust us again."
Jay said "we will bring back athletics at its best. We will operate at our best." Jay asks UH fans and alums to "keep on supporting us because we’re gonna need each and every one of you. That (support) will certainly go a long way in terms of where we move forward."
UH has been without a full-time AD since July 11 when Jim Donovan was placed on indefinite administrative leave in the wake of an investigation into the failed Stevie Wonder concert. UH vice president Rockne Freitas had served as acting AD until Jay’s arrival.