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Last three years' deficits: $1.4M per

HONOLULU -- The University of Hawaii athletic department
plans to cut spending and hire a financial officer as part of its
effort to stop a trend of three straight years of budget deficits
exceeding $1.4 million, officials said.

The plan was outlined Wednesday to the university's Board of
Regents meeting.

It comes as the department is projected to finish with a deficit
of about $1.47 million for the fiscal year that ends in two weeks.
The department reported losses of $2.47 million in 2002-03 and
$1.43 million in 2001-02.

"Let us make this work," athletic director Herman Frazier said
in outlining his five-year plan. "While this may seem bleak, we
have a way to get us there."

The first phase of the plan is to cut expenses, reducing the
next budget for the coming fiscal year to $18 million. The 19-sport
program is expected to spend $18.4 million this fiscal year.

Some of the immediate fixes include a reduction by two in the
number of football road games in 2004 -- which Frazier claimed would
reduce travel expenses by $200,000 -- as well as the reduction in
operating expenses.

Frazier said he has completely "rebuilt" the budgeting process
to put athletics on track to be in the black next year by up to $1
million, with expectations of netting $2.4 million annually by the
2006-07 fiscal year.

He predicts revenues to rise from $16.9 million in the current
fiscal year to $22.7 million in 2009.

Meanwhile, Frazier said the university administration has
authorized him to look beyond the university for a new chief
financial officer for the department as early as mid-July -- a move
supported by Jim Hasselman, a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers,
which handles the department's accounts.

"This operation needs a strong financial person," Hasselman
told the board. "Someone who's used to troubled situations."

Frazier said a salary level for the new post has not yet been
determined.