A Tough Act To Follow At HPU

HPU assistant AD for compliance Natasa Subotic, Sharky, athletics business manager Marjana Uzelac, head women’s tennis coach Lauren Conching and faculty athletics representative Barb Hannum at the recent NCAA cross country regionals in Kahuku. Photo from Bob Hogue

Barb Hannum was on the run again by the time I caught up with her. She had a class to teach, an international educators tour group to lead, a game to catch and many student-athletes to concern herself about. It seems the Hawaii Pacific University faculty athletics representative (FAR) is always in motion – and that’s a good thing.

“I have colleagues of mine who can’t believe I spend as much time as I do around the world of athletics, but it’s so gratifying for me,” says Hannum, who has been at HPU for 20 years, most recently as the liaison between faculty and the athletics department, plus she’s an assistant professor of applied linguistics and coordinator of various international programs. The last five of those years at

HPU also were spent on several trips a year to Indianapolis as a member of the NCAA Division II Management Council, the highest governing body in the NCAA other than the Presidents’ Council.

With her term expiring in January, I’ve been selected to take her spot as the PacWest representative. I sincerely have to thank her for her enthusiasm and passion in enduring a position that demands so much time and energy. The way she works, I know I have big shoes to fill.

“I was fortunate to get in on the ground floor of Life in the Balance,” Hannum says of Management

Council’s proudest accomplishment during her tenure. “I think what we did there (in D2), showing that athletics should be a part of the entire university experience, but shouldn’t be to the extreme of what sometimes happens at some D1 programs, is what we are all about. We emphasize the student in student-athlete. It’s all about balance in their lives and it should be.

“For me to be involved with all these student-athletes, to be at their games, to help them academically as their advocate, to see them grow – that’s my life in the balance,” she says proudly.

Hannum, who played college tennis while growing up in Decorah, Iowa, has passed on her love of sports to her two sons Josh and Conor. Josh is an Iolani graduate who played football for the Raiders and now plays on the gridiron for Pacific (Oregon.). Conor, a freshman at Iolani, participates in football, baseball and paddling.

Hannum moved to the Islands in 1980, and after a stint at Hawaii Loa, came to HPU in 1992. She’s worked with student-athletes and educators from countries all over the globe, and loves it.

“I lived in Libya when I was 11,” she recalls. “My dad was doing a survey for the oil companies, and was also setting up track and field opportunities. What I experienced there really triggered something in me and made a great impression.”

In her very busy days, you can see Hannum at all of her son’s games, and virtually every HPU athletic event. She doesn’t have to do that as the university’s FAR, but she does it because she loves it.

“We just had the regional cross country championships here (HPU hosted the race at Kahuku), and to see so many student-athletes giving their all and other student-athletes helping, and everyone pulling together, that was so fulfilling to me,” she says.

That’s Barb Hannum – being everywhere, caring about everyone, energetic and enthusiastic at every turn. There she goes – on the run again.