David Matlin has been named the new athletics director of the University of Hawai’i. UH Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman made the announcement on Wednesday, March 25 at a press conference at Les Murakami Stadium.
“I believe, during these challenging times for UH Athletics, that David has the proven executive leadership experience, vision and passion to stabilize and grow the program,” said Bley-Vroman. “We were searching for someone with the ability and agility to lead us through this complex and important period in the evolving national collegiate athletics landscape, and I am confident that we have found that person in David.”
Matlin said that he is honored and humbled to have been selected as UH’s next AD.
“This is honestly my dream opportunity and I understand that there are many challenges ahead,” said Matlin. “I am confident that with the support of the athletics department staff, UH leadership, and the entire state, we will be successful. I humbly ask the people of Hawai’i, and UH fans all over the world, for their support to ensure that UH Athletics not only survives, but thrives.”
As a former employee of the UH athletics department, an MBA graduate from the Shidler College of Business, and a local business leader with more than 20 years of sports management experience in Hawai’i, Matlin has a deep appreciation for the significance of the role that athletics plays in the success of the University and in the lives of the people of Hawai’i.
Matlin’s last 13 years of affiliation with ESPN and managing the Hawai’i Bowl, Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, and the Hawaiian Islands Invitational has allowed him to build relationships with NCAA conferences, athletic directors, and national organizations. He is one of nine members on the Executive Committee of the Football Bowl Association, which is the national organization established to promote, protect and ensure the quality of the student athlete experience for all college bowl games. Matlin is well respected among local and national constituents in the field of sports, specifically within intercollegiate athletics.
Matlin has over two decades of sports and entertainment marketing and management experience and has been involved with various entertainment events highlighted by the Major League Baseball World Series; the 25th Houston Astrodome Anniversary; the Miss Universe Pageant; NCAA men’s volleyball Final Four; and the NIT Basketball Tournament. He has been the Executive Director of the Hawai’i Bowl and the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic for the past seven years. He was also involved in other productions, such as Christina Aguilera, Howie Mandel and Ray Charles concerts, as well as the Broadway musicals “Annie” and “Annie Get Your Gun.”
This is Matlin’s second stint at the UH Athletic Department after serving five years (1994-99), as an information officer primarily working with the ticket office, while also enrolled in the school’s MBA program. While working at UH, he was instrumental in developing and integrating information technology to assist with sales and distribution of individual, group and season tickets for all of UH’s ticketed programs. He also implemented a point-of-sale ticketing, credit authorization and remote phone sales system which increased ticket sales from 300,000 to more than 600,000 in a two-year period. He helped to devise a strategic three-year plan which included online and remote outlet sales as well as interactive voice recognition for telephone sales.
Matlin graduated from the University of Michigan in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts. Soon after graduating, he started his career as a marketing operations manager for the Houston Astros. In three years, he created operating procedures for the stadium information systems, promotions and special events. He was also in charge of divvying up over $3 million in local, regional and national sponsorship programs. In his fourth year, at the age of 26, he was promoted as the youngest Director of
Sales in Major League Baseball. Matlin oversaw a staff of 16 and handled renewals and new sales of both group and season tickets, skyboxes and luxury suites. In just two years, new season ticket sales increased by 35%, and he was instrumental in developing the Diamond Level seating area which netted an additional $700,000 in ticket revenue in 1993.
After six years with the Astros, Matlin moved to San Antonio, Texas, where he was the assistant general manager/director of marketing of the Arts Center Enterprises and The Majestic Theatre. There, he honed his marketing skills in advertising and promoting Broadway shows, musical concerts and comedy acts.
Matlin became the vice-president of m2c and the director of operations for the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl in 2002. He has also provided management consulting for Panda Travel, Sodexo, and AIO Group. He focused his efforts on business development and client training. In 2008, he created DAKM Enterprises, Inc. and was named the Executive Director of both the Hawai’i Bowl and later the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. Matlin is also the president of Value Travel Hawai’i.
Matlin is married to the former Dana Hatate and they reside in Honolulu with their two children, Kisa and Ross.