comscore President of UH’s ‘Ahahui Koa Anuenue stepping down | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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President of UH’s ‘Ahahui Koa Anuenue stepping down

  • STAR-ADVERTISER / JANUARY 2015

    Jon Kobayashi, who has been president and CEO of UH’s athletic fundraising organization, ‘Ahahui Koa Anuenue, since Jan. 3, 2014, is departing Jan. 13, 2017, the school announced.

The University of Hawaii’s athletic fundraising organization, ‘Ahahui Koa Anuenue, is looking for its second president and chief executive officer in just over three years.

Jon Kobayashi, who has held the position since Jan. 3, 2014, is departing effective Jan. 13, 2017, the school announced.

In an email to the organization’s board of directors today, Kobayashi said “I have decided to leave next month and will pursue an opportunity to resume my legal career in Honolulu.”

Kobayashi previously was general manager for a hotel in Washington state for seven years and was a partner in a Honolulu law firm for 13 years.

His departure from AKA comes in the wake of a critical independent audit presented to the school’s Board of Regents earlier this month.

In 2014 a realigned AKA moved into the athletic department after operating out of the UH Foundation and was tasked with adding new revenue streams for the department.

But a statement released by the athletic department earlier this month said, “The reality of achieving the financial improvements as quickly as anticipated have been challenging for a variety of reasons. As a result, while there have been successes in certain areas, overall fundraising has not achieved the levels originally anticipated.”

Athletic director David Matlin has told regents athletic fundraising was lagging $1.4 million behind the average of its peers.

In a statement released by UH Friday, Kobayashi said, “I am proud of the AKA team and what we were able to accomplish over the last three years, despite challenging circumstances, and I am deeply grateful for their hard work and commitment.”

Kobayashi said, “The decision to leave AKA was difficult but ultimately the right one for me and my family at this juncture.”

UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said, “The plan is to reevaluate the structure of the organization before moving forward with any staffing decisions. All of our stakeholders will all be involved in this conversation.”

Matlin said in a statement, “We appreciate Jon’s efforts and commitment to UH Athletics and AKA. We wish him well as he pursues his legal career and thank him for making a difference for our student athletes.”

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    • He can run back to his father’s law firm for security (I believe his father is a big-time Honolulu attorney, hence his ability to garner patronage jobs like Anuenue).

      • Easy to say but I don’t believe many will be interested in this position. Fundraising is a thankless responsibility where name recognition and networking ability is required.

        • How much money was he paying himself? Shouldn’t you know that first before saying not many will be interested?

        • Oxtail. Careful, careful. Are you saying he pocketed money illegally? If you have proof, then let the UH authorities know. I’m sure they’ll be very interested.

        • Unlike you, I make no assumptions except to get some clarity on how much he was making. Wouldn’t you want to know that too?

      • Both he and his father are good people with a good name, as another poster mentioned, fundraising is a challenging job, and Jon undoubtedly did as well as he could have.

        • I don’t doubt that he’s a “good person” who sincerely did the “best he could.” But there are people who are experts at this type of thing, and that’s one thing he was not. He may have done his best, but someone with subject matter expertise could have done better. That’s the problem with political patronage jobs — it’s NOT that the person is not a “good person” or won’t “try his best” — it’s that you end up with people who are not experts and don’t have as much subject matter knowledge as someone who was hired by merit. This isn’t a personal attack, it’s a professional one.

      • Both he and his father are good people with a good name, and as another poster mentioned, fundraising is a challenging job, and Jon undoubtedly did as well as he could have.

        • If that is as “well as he could do”, he didn’t belong in that job and probably only got it through family connection.

        • No one is disputing that he is a good person with a recognized name, We all know he got the position because of the family contacts and his good name unfortunately that was not good enough to get the job done as the State would have liked to believe. When it comes to fundraising you need to have professionals in that field to make an impact not a person who has a recognized name something this state does not understand. Jon we thank you for your service and good luck in your future endeavors. GO WARRIORS.

    • Allie, Allie, Allie, when will learn the importance of what an athletic department has on a major university such as UH.
      Your 10 years at UH surely has taught you something.

        • Columbia University, a top Ivy league school, has had a football team for a hundred years, but it hardly ever wins. This is a source of pride for the school, demonstrating to the world that it has its priorities straight and values academics over athletics. MIT and many other top universities have low-key athletic departments and no football programs.

          The ideal athletic department would be one that maximizes the participation of all students in physical fitness, competition and teamwork, with activities that do not harm health or academic or career success (i.e. low risk of brain damage).

          The Greek ideal of the scholar-athelete, a health mind in a healthy body, is not embodied in current college athletic culture, especially football, in which tens of thousands of intoxicated, sleep deprived, out of shape students cheer on a handful of elite athletes who are essentially unpaid professional atheists.

          Is it any wonder China and other Nations are eating oru lunch as the United States slides into a passive spectator culture of celebrity, with declining standards of individual health and education?

        • Athletics is entertainment for the public. It is fine for those who want to pay for it. But the mission of the UH is research, teaching and public service.

  • Kobayashi said, “The decision to leave AKA was difficult but ultimately the right one for me and my family at this juncture.” In other words, he was fired.

  • At least Kobayashi is taking responsibility for the failure. That more than anyone can say about anyone else at UH. It was the honorable thing to do, too bad Norm Chow didn’t do the same thing after the first 2 years. Kobayashi might have had a easier time fundraising for UH.

  • WHERE’S Wendy the arrogant lady from June Jones Era who told me on the the
    phone that those elderly people who supported UH Athletics over the years and couldn’t afford the premium seating and parking costs could watch PPV. Maybe that’s why they lost a lot of the support. VOTE FOR WENDY NOT TRUMP!

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