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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 12, 2010

'Go away' money soothes firing

By Lee Cataluna

All across the island chain, the cry rises up from the struggling, the tired, the over-mortgaged, the furloughed:

"I wanna get fired from UH, too!"

Dang it, but that's a sweet gig.

Seriously. Raise your hand if you could be everybody's buddy at first but then stink at actually winning games.

The trick is to look like a catch going into the job so they fall all over themselves writing a plush contract with a hefty buyout clause. It's the opposite of a pre-nup, where the assumption is that this love will never last. The University of Hawai'i buyout clauses assume that everything is going to be good times and sunshine and, well, rainbows.

So how do you get the gig so you can get fired and cruise for a couple of years on your "go away" money?

Well, how does anything ever happen at UH? Connections.

There are two things UH loves when hiring for high-profile positions: somebody homegrown who has "waited his turn" in a subordinate position for years; and somebody who used to play for UH who they can "bring on home" from the Mainland.

The third way to get hired for a great job at UH is to be a friend of Dan Ino-uye, but he doesn't dabble in the athletic department much. Of course, if you have a gold medal, you're in. You don't even have to come in to the office.

OK, so say you manage to get yourself hired. Then, all you have to do is lose and wait to get fired. If you want, you can use your time to get your players to do stuff like, oh, go to class and graduate. But that's not really what it's all about.

The basic idea works for administrative jobs, too. When there are no games to lose, the alternative is to tick off the regents, as when they dumped the university president who preceded David McClain (I'm not going to use his name because I think he has a Google News alert for himself and I don't want to add to his hit count). When you get canned from that kind of job, you don't get the bye-bye check straight up. You have to first turn in an independent study paper that takes you a semester to write. But then, cha-ching.

Then the real mastery is get fired without doing anything bad like whacking your players, because then you get nothing.

Sure, it would be a little bit shame to get fired, but better to be shame with money in the bank than shame and trying to stretch a can of corned beef to feed a family of five.