HONOLULU — Craig Angelos, the senior deputy director of athletics at Long Island University, was announced Friday morning as President David Lassner’s pick to be the next University of Hawaii athletic director.
Angelos is a veteran athletic administrator with three decades of experience at seven universities, all in the Eastern Time Zone. Most notably, he was the head athletic director at Florida Atlantic University for nine years until he was removed from his post in 2012.
Angelos still faces a large step to be officially hired as David Matlin’s successor; he must be confirmed by the UH Board of Regents at its meeting on Thursday. Due to a change in the structuring of UH upper administration since previous athletic director hires, the AD is now selected by the president and given final say by the regents. Previously, the regents approved only the AD's salary.
Because of the state’s Sunshine Law, the agendas for public board meetings must be posted six days in advance.
The AD candidate, Lassner and regents are not allowed to comment to the media until the candidate is officially confirmed, UH said this week. UH hopes to have the new AD on the job on Monday, June 5. Matlin's last day is scheduled to be June 2.
However, UH released prepared remarks from Angelos and Lassner on Friday morning.
"If I receive the approval of the Board of Regents, my first order of business will be to meet with all of our stakeholders, starting with our student athletes, coaches, donors, alumni, staff and, of course, our fans," Angelos stated. "Though UH has unique opportunities and challenges being over 2,500 miles from the nearest Division I program, UH Manoa has a solid athletic program led by outstanding individuals that is in a prime position to continue to excel in today's rapidly changing world of collegiate athletics. I'm so excited to get started. Finally, I want to thank President Lassner for recommending me. It's truly an honor. If approved, I look forward to working with the entire community and making Hawaii my home for a long time."
Angelos was one of at least three names forwarded to Lassner as an option by UH’s eight-person search committee. There were more than 60 applicants, with eight to 10 receiving interviews from the committee, according to UH. Lassner, per UH, then conducted his own interviews with the forwarded finalists as UH conducted reference checks.
"I am deeply appreciative to the Search Advisory Committee, which screened scores of applications, conducted initial interviews, and recommended a stellar set of finalists to me," Lassner stated. "Mr. Angelos is the best qualified at this time to lead the athletics department and continue to build upon the department's foundation to advance Hawaii's only NCAA Division I program during this extraordinary period of dynamic change and challenge."
He has been the No. 2 athletics administrator at five institutions — Miami, Indiana, South Florida, Temple and LIU, the last of which he joined in November 2022.
According to Angelos’ bio, “He has overseen all areas, including student-athlete welfare, raising revenue through development, corporate and ticket sales, and supervised many sports programs, including football and men’s basketball.”
He was credited with helping FAU transition to full Division I FBS status; move into the Sun Belt Conference; and complete construction of an on-campus, 30,000-seat stadium that opened in fall 2011 for a cost of $70 million.
He also was given autonomy in hiring Carl Pelini as the Owls’ second-ever football head coach.
The opening of the $160 million Innovation Village at FAU, which included the stadium, is one of his most significant accomplishments, per his bio. It included 2,400 dorm spaces, retail and parking.
It reads, “He chaired the capital campaign for the university and led the charge on how to fund the project. He conceived an idea that led to a $12 million gift as part of the public-private partnership and closed a number of seven- and six-figure deals.”
However, his contract was not renewed by the university in 2012. Shortcomings in fundraising and marketing were reasons cited in reporting by the Palm Beach Post.
Angelos played baseball at BYU, where he got his undergraduate degree, and went on to play pro ball in Italy. He then got a degree from the Creighton University School of Law.
His other working experience includes time at Florida International University, the NCAA’s national office and a litigation firm in Los Angeles.
Note: This story has been updated with comments from UH confirming Spectrum News' earlier reporting. (May 12, 2023)