UNLV president denies reports of Livengood as new athletic director

Smatresk claims no offers or decisions have been made in search for athletic director

UNLV President Neal Smatresk is denying floating reports that a deal has been reached with Arizona's Jim Livengood to become the school's new athletic director.

"No offers have been made, period," Smatresk, reached by phone on Friday evening, told the Sun. "And I would know.

"As soon as I make an offer, the world will know."

Earlier in the day, Smatresk said that a pool of between six and eight candidates was decided upon by the search committee, and a new AD could be announced sometime next week. He also said, however, that no hard deadline was set.

On Friday evening, the Arizona Daily Star's Greg Hansen reported that the Arizona post would "almost certainly" be coming open, with Livengood expected to accept the UNLV job over the weekend.

Livengood has been the Arizona AD since January 1994. UNLV's position came open this summer when Mike Hamrick left to take the same job at his alma mater — Marshall.

Currently, Jerry Koloskie is serving as UNLV's interim AD.

The Daily Star's report was accompanied by one from the Las Vegas Review-Journal which claimed that a deal was both offered to Livengood and accepted, citing an unnamed source.

Smatresk, who will ultimately make the AD hire, immediately shot the report down.

"Really," he said, "no decision has been made."

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 33 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy.

  1. (twiddles thumbs) Wake us up when they hire an AD. By then, all the good football coaches should be taken.

    Good job Jim Rogers. We might as well change the school name to UJR-at las Vegas. We all know Livingood is your man.

  2. PLEASE dont tell me they are going to hire this guy.... if nothing else because he graduated from BYU.... what a horrible call. Arizona has never been successful at football... maybe UNLV admin really doesnt care about football and just wants to be a basketball school just like Uof A.

  3. Nooooo! Not Livengood! Anyone but him. He is going to RUIN our football program!!!!.....oh wait....

    And it would totally suck to have an AD that was in bed with JRogers! I mean what honestly does he have to offer? He's donated more $$ to his favorite school than anyone save Oprah. Loser. He'll never make it to Oprah status!

  4. what does sufferin think?

  5. Ryan, glad you survived the Tuesday Afternoon Massacre last week.

  6. "Arizona has never been successful at football"

    Really? That's an ignorant statement.

  7. sufferin? Really? Who cares?...you may as well want to know what every bi-polar, schizoid, homeless person thinks as well! Newsflash, RebelRobert/sufferin'lame#(*&#, is just a worthless, self-aggrandizing, critic of everything that isn't 100% his own wacked-out-in-the-head creation.

    Oh...and who really cares if the guy is a BYU alum...if he was so tied to that school, why didn't his kids go there?...and to say that he killed football is laughable as he's lead a $100 million stadium renovation campaign....and his school's team is going to a bowl in consecutive years.

    Another thing, Roger's is one of UNLV's largest donors. Lets just say he's the one pushing this guy's name....well? When you put up as much as he has for our school, sometimes you get to influence certain decisions....you don't have to like that, but you don't donate millions of dollars to UNLV either.

  8. Correction for the Sun---The RJ had the story up at least 30 minutes before the Arizona Daily Star.

    Sometimes the truth hurts................

  9. Um.... I fail to see the problem here:

    - 15 years of Pac-10 experience (and contacts)
    - National championships in multiple sports
    - Title IX credentials
    - Picked up from a messy situation with Lute to get a good coach
    - Likes Lon Kruger

    Yeah, so the Stoops thing wasn't a golden hire, but it wasn't a bad hire, either... the team was a few points from going to the Rose Bowl this year. Not saying I'd like to see the Curly Stoops get hired (especially with Mo underachieving for years and Larry botching overtime games with the Rose Bowl on the line), but I'm fine with this guy as AD as long as he can raise money and get the school in a position to hire a decent football coach.

  10. Also, does anyone think Smatresk makes this hire without Lon Kruger's explicit blessing?

  11. You're right, logic. I stand corrected above.

  12. BringtheRain-You've got Livengood pegged pretty well. Bottom line is that UNLV is overachieving with the hire. I also agree that Kruger has to be included with this move.

    Even if the football program at Arizona wasn't back on track until recently, They have continued to average around 50,000 fans per game and stay in profit.

  13. if he really wants to get things done then he is a good hire but there is no way to guarantee it :(
    also..why can't this story be about Bjork?! he will then have the balls to get Franchione or best option.

    I think Bjork is best choice, he can get things done and brings in $$$. he can help us return to glory days and make basketball team top 10 and football team over .500

  14. The ONLY reason for a Pac-10 AD to be leaving for UNLV is that he knows or has been informed in the most direct manner that he will be replaced/fired (remember Hamrick?). Bottom line on Mr. Livengood...nice guy, too old to tackle this mess. Moos worked for this guy and handled ALL of his fundraising. Moos is THE guy but way too smart to get involved on any level with Smatresk.

  15. For the Sufferin Fans from RJ site "Sufferin' Succotash wrote on December 05, 2009 02:33 AM:
    Did it say he is 64 years old?

    That is not what UNLV needs.

    If Livengood is the next Rebel Athletic Director you can kiss this Athletic Department goodbye!

    A 64 year old man starting a new job?

    You are kidding me right? 64 years old. That is when you move to Florida and go on Social Security, not become the new UNLV Athletic Director.

    You can look at his picture and see that the man is tired. 64 years old!

    GET REAL."

  16. I hope this doesn't turn into a pissing match between the new Pres. and Mr. Rogers. We all know if the Pres. wants an extension on his contract he better pick Livengood as the next AD. If not he will not be to far behind Mr. Ashley.

  17. I don't care if the guy is 60+. As long as he and his spouse are healthy that shouldn't matter. If he was 64 with a heart condition then it would be a foolish move. We're not talking about our head coach, we're talking about the AD.

  18. Sufferin...I think the reason you weren't "fooled" by the scoreboard change at halftime was that you were not at the game (probably heard about this through the grapevine). Anyone at the game knows the scoreboard was changed to "Reno". BTW - Anyone who knows UNLV knows that we DO NOT refer to UNR as Nevada.

    Go Rebels! First 6-0 start since 1992!

  19. If UNLV does not hire Bjork or Moos it will be the wrong hire. Those are the only 2 that should be on the radar. We don't need somebody coming in here and screwing with Kruger because they have an ego to feed.

  20. These comments are laffable "Oh no the world will come to an end!" Did you all even read the article? No AD has been hired yet. I swear, these comments are something out of a teenage magazine. Livengood doesn't look too bad in my opinion either, I'm with Bringinrain on this one and JW. Also, wtf does kruger have to do with football?

  21. I don't know how people cannot be disgusted with the UNLV administration by this point. How did people of such low intellect get into such high places of leadership? Who has been paid off? This ought to show the entire community that this admin is not committed to winning at football here in Vegas. We all knew including Smatresk that Koloskie wasn't going to be the AD why have you waited so long to make this hire? With no Ad in place, no head coach in sight this is going to end very badly for this program. Do you mean to tell me that during this scrambled search for an AD and HC that all of this is going to magically fall into place in the final seconds before midnight? Smatresk lacks leadership and this is how I know - After the Wyoming loss Koloskie should have been called into Smatresk's office and told if you want this job "fulltime" Sanford is gone today or I will replace both of you tomorrow!! Had he done that UNLV wouldn't be in this position right now. Does anybody really believe that someone is going to come in here and make this Titanic float with precious time slipping away? Smatresk is acting like there is no rush at all and that all is well. Smatresk is just an imagery of this wussy, spineless, pansy, don't want to offend anyone generation and he is going to srew UNLV and whatever football fans are left and then they wonder why people could give a rats a$$ about UNLV football.

  22. I hate this idea. We need a young guy with new ideas. Experience is over-rated all it will get us more of the same.
    Arizonas programs are underacheiving and so will UNLV if we get this geezer.

  23. The naysayers are idiots. Oh yeah- a "young guy with new ideas" not someone who's proven he can do it going against the top Pac-10 schools.

  24. "idiots" is taking it easy. This man will not be a COACH. as the previous posters name implies, logic should rule

  25. Haha, RebelFan4Life, I was thinking the same thing about it being changed from "Nevada" to "Reno" not whatever Sufferin heard about.

    BetOnBlack, you seem to imply that being a good leader means making brash, knee-jerk decisions.

    I disagree.

  26. Akbball fan and others:

    These aren't decisions that can be made quickly. Quick gets you any number of those crummy ADs UNLV had in the 1990s. Quick raises scrutiny that you didn't do enough to try and recruit a minority or a woman to the position. Considering their time frame they did this as quickly as they could.

    We don't know who applied, but we get a feeling for who was interested (and there was *no* indication beyond an initial report that Moos was interested).

    Sounds like Koloskie might have gotten the job if Livengood hadn't expressed interest. But when you have an experienced athletic director who guided a top-tier program -- and it's hard to dispute that U of A is a top-tier program -- calling and expressing interest, you have to listen.

    And when that candidate happens to be on good terms with your best coach and your top booster, you probably have to give him the job, assuming he hasn't left a trail of wreckage at his past stops (which this guy has quite obviously not done).

    I still fail to see the problem here.

  27. This has "Nick Saban" written all over it.

  28. Smatresk can deny this all he wants but footballcoachscoop.com is reporting that the Livengood hire is a done deal for UNLV. If this isn't true they could be sued for false information that is stating to be true. Do you mean to tell me that at 64 this guy is the long term answer as the AD?

    @snyderm:
    Sometimes leadership demands you make hard decisions that will not be popular. Real leaders dont give a rip about what people think. When there is indecision you don't know how to lead. There would have been nothing knee-jerk about firing both of these clowns. If Smutresk would have had his finger on the barely beating pulse of this program he would have known what to do. What an embarrasment!!

  29. Make the hire of Moos or Livengood now!

    We went from Jerry being given serious consideration to now being able to get a D1 BCS Pac 10 AD? We better be thankful for this opportunity!

    After going through - Finfrock, Charlie the paper boy, Robinson free loading and Hamrick the non personality.

    We should be so lucky to get one of these guys. They would blow out all of the old boy guys out of the department, overhaul marketing, finally figure out how to get locals to really care, remove the favored nation status of local media outlets who are also in the pocket of UNLV and get us a real football coach. They would not let a JC program in baseball steal the thunder of UNLV's Baseball program. They would not put up with a Head Basketball Coach having to go outside of the University to get a PR campaign due to not having talent inside of the organization!

    Major league College Sports can come to UNLV with either guy. A football game experience which is not about dirt parking, no college football scores given and a BYU Alumni President as your voice of the program as he roots for the Cougars to succeed.

    Boy does that sound better than where we were at with the 2 local candidates and Jerry!

  30. Livengood would be a great hire. Much better than any of the locals. He's done a good job with the Arizona sports programs. He kept the faith with Mike Stoops and the football team was in the mix for the Rose Bowl until just recently.

    I hope UNLV doesn't turn him down because of his age. Age discrimination is a bad thing.

  31. Sixty-four ain't exactly that old. Even if the guy only hangs around for six more years, that could be long enough to settle things down, stabilize the budget, build some new relationships in the community and get things set up for a solid replacement.

  32. Are you serious? This guy is 64? That's all UNLV can get is people on their last legs before retirement? What a F#$%-ING joke! I hope the buffets and golf courses don't prove too much of a distraction, like they did for old JR--or was it failing health...

  33. Reports just came out today that Smatresk is really concerned why Livengood's contract at Zona wasn't renewed and why he wasn't retained and the talks have went from it being a done deal to more information about his time at Zona being discussed and looked at closely. Reports are that if Livengood gets this job he is going to hire the Zona's defensive coordinator as UNLV's next HC.

    Please hire Associate AD Bjork from UCLA he has raised a ton of money for the UCLA program and he is much younger. He would hire the best available HC for this program.