Livengood: ‘I could see working 7, 8, 10 years’

Arizona athletic director not ready to retire, pushing for UNLV AD post

Image

Tiffany Brown

Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood answers questions on Tuesday morning from the public and media at the UNLV Student Union. He is one of three finalists for the AD post at UNLV.

Updated Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009 | 1:01 a.m.

UNLV AD Search - Livengood Public Forum

Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood answers questions on Tuesday morning from the public and media at the UNLV Student Union. He is one of three finalists for the AD post at UNLV. Launch slideshow »

Reader poll

Which of the three finalists would you choose to be UNLV's next AD?

View results

With a contract at Arizona that expires June 30, athletic director Jim Livengood has no intentions of riding off into the Southwestern sunset just yet.

The third and final candidate to come to UNLV to interview for the school's athletic-director vacancy said as much in his Tuesday morning public forum at the student union, citing that he does not expect his contract at Arizona to be renewed or extended.

"I'm not interested in retiring," Livengood, 64, said early in a 50-minute session with both the public and the local media. "I'm interested in working.

"I could see myself working 7, 8, 10 years. I'm healthy, I feel good, I've got a lot of enthusiasm, I love what I do. Sometimes the age is not a function of how you feel."

UNLV President Neal Smatresk is expected to announce the school's new athletic director — a choice between Livengood, Washington State senior associate athletic director John Johnson and former Oregon athletic director Bill Moos — on Wednesday.

Smatresk said in a text message to The Sun on Tuesday night that no developments would come until the morning. Calls placed to each of the three finalists went unreturned.

Should Livengood get the call from Smatresk at some point on Wednesday, he, like the two other finalists to meet the public before him, said his first order of business would be the UNLV football program.

That involves getting it on solid ground, but first and foremost finding a new coach.

"The immediacy right now, as far as a financial model, the immediacy of getting that done and getting that started, is paramount," Livengood said. "This is a better school and a better job than many people think. It's the director's responsibility to articulate that, as to why this is a great job right now at this juncture in terms of somebody's career and so forth."

Livengood made sure to point out that he still has plenty of hunger left in the tank after 16 years at Arizona.

For example, he said that, when it came to fundraising, one of his biggest priorities would be getting out in the community to reach out to donors rather than doing so behind a desk.

"It's just about relationships," he said. "It's about starting relationships and building relationships. That part of it — you have to do it outside of the office. It's not about sending e-mails, it's not about sending form letters. It's about seeing people."

Livengood later added that he'd look to include current interim athletic director Jerry Koloskie in those efforts, along with former UNLV quarterback Steve Stallworth, the general manger of the South Point Arena. Both were prime local candidates for the position at one time.

"I don't know Steve, I don't know Jerry as well," Livengood said. "But anybody in this job right here who didn't use those would be making a major mistake."

Livengood was also asked about swirling rumors that, should he land the job at UNLV, he would bring in Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes to be the Rebels' next football coach.

At one time, Arizona defensive coordinator Mark Stoops was a subject of similar rumors, but he last week accepted the defensive coordinator position at Florida State.

"Do I think he's a good football coach? Yes," Livengood said of Dykes. "He's done a remarkable job at Arizona. But, I also said I think in some context, this job might require head coaching experience."

While Livengood wouldn't reveal names of potential coaching candidates, he appeared to have solid perspective on just how crucial of a hire it would be.

"One of the things that really becomes intersting in this profession is you're normally judged on your hires," Livengood said, looking back on poor hires — such as John Mackovic at Arizona — and good — such as Mike Price at Washington State.

"The football coaching search, in my opinion, not who the candidates are, but the football coaching search, in my opinion, this window of opportunity that exists right now at UNLV, for the Rebels, is really a critical one," he continued. "I'm not smart enough to know whether there are going to be any more chances, but I do know right now there's an open window, and this next football coach needs to be, has to be — it's imperative — that he's successful."

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: 46 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. I could see him being fired and still drawing a taxpayer funded paycheck in a couple years. It's all about your perspective.

  2. alright..... time for the ryan greene report card of fun. guess we can pick the categories... hmm... gut feeling... experience... track record... little help boys... from my humble perspective i feel you liked johnson, moos then livengood or am i speaking out of my bottom.

  3. unlvrunrebs ... Your wish is my command .... It's coming shortly.

  4. Please don't hire Livengood. We don't need Jim Roger's puppet as the AD. Arizona isn't renewing his contract. That should tell us something. John Johnson is the best pick of the 3 candidates. Let's hire him and get a football coach hired. Enough already.

  5. All 3 have some qualities that I like a lot but....I would have to say that Moos' ability to obtain funds and make great hires throws me over the top. Although, I wouldn't have picked any of them before the last cut. Not that I'm anyone important to the situation but that's just my opinion.

  6. sorry.... just a suggestion

  7. This is exciting. Livengood gets the best face award.
    Johnson seemed to have the best impact impression
    Moos made the stongest points.

    All in all, each AD must already get the fact that there is a need to have a buzzing football program.

    I like Moos because when it comes to football, it seems like he gets the picture. It plain and simple. If you football progam is not hot then your school is not hot.

    Kansas can be number 1 in basketball forever but Texas will always be thought to be a better program based on the football history and current success alone.

    UNLV has a chance to be great right away because of the fact that when they beat ASU they got buzzing and landed some great recruits.

    Marcus Sullivan how played running back (over 1600 yards and 22 TDs)and was recruited to convert to H back was Las Vegas Ath. of the Year in LVRJ as a senior. Also set records in the 4x400 relay team. He and Irshad Stolden 10.4 in the 100 as junior, both grey shirted and are speeders. They both can take it to the house based on speed and spin moves.

    Bradley Randle will bring that Knowshawn Moreno excitment to the field. He also rushed for 1,600 and 22 TD.
    Herring is a star and throws one of the prettiest and catchable ball you will ever see. He has a juke you out you socks move that works evertime and has great vision and accuracy.

    Jordan Barrett is a stud at LB that played TE and was recruited by the Fighting Irish.

    Courney Bridget, AKA Primetime, the 6'3 now 195 hard hitting and fast stepping DB with Q Pionter on the other side should be a solid secondary.

    Move Starr to saftey and give him a shot at going pro at the Free or strong position.
    Alex De Jack em up showed he can really play if given the proper atmosphere like he had in the final game vs SDSU.

    Move BJ Bell to linebacker. Oh my. He can back flip and power cling 300 plus. His pursuit is insane if you have ever seen it. He will hawk you down with that speed and motor.

    When the next coach comes in and sees the talent at UNLV he will be overwhelmed and happy GOD willng.

    It is all written. I believe these underdog Rebel deserve to have a winning spirit. The talent is here without the new recruits. The entire freshman class minus Mark Barefield redshirted.

    All this to say. Let's be excited for what may come.

    It is true that the Rebels could play with more passion. That will come with a better stage with the first game vs Wisconsin and a coaching change.

    Any AD will be exciting because they all know the football program is key to there success as well as the University.

  8. Oh yeah. Give the Rebels all Black Uniforms with Red numbers. A Rebel would lift rocks if they had to. No excuses about facilities. We got those recruits because the Rebels won. A warrior can care less about a wack wieght room.
    Coming from Compton, i had some teamates who murdered people in high school. We had a no program, rusty wieghts and a beat up field. We smashed people on friday night though. Be a Rebel for real and bring that spirit on the field. If we spoil youth with the excuse of facilities and all, they will use that sub consciously and consciously. I hope the next couch makes these guys into real Rebels on the field. We have the talent. Now bring out the heart.
    Let's GO

  9. You know what, I'll go into this all more in-depth once it's all said and done, but if you want my gut reaction? Well, I'd say Moos. It's tough. I liked all three on the surface. I think his football track record at Oregon is pretty impressive, to say the least. But, again, there's plenty more than what you see on the surface, and that's for the President and others to evaluate. I'll continue to report the facts for you, though. I have no problem doing that :)

  10. Larry Kehres for coach!

  11. Just from reading this article I don't like Livengood. He appears to be missing that magical "it" you know what I mean. Johnson appears charasmatic and excited but so was Sanford, he was always excited. WSU has done nothing for a while so that should be factored in. If resumes, experience, and national success mean anything anymore then Moos is the most qualified for this job. (Moos is the best of the worst IMO)...

    @UNLVbcs: Where ya been bra?

  12. I'm pretty underwhelmed by Livengood's presentation. OTOH, I thought Moos said all the right things. To me it's a no-brainer. I just hope the fix is not in.

  13. How about having two AD's?

    I'm talking about Penn and Teller. After all, they're local and certainly have the magical "it" that a previous is so enamoured with.

    More so, it's a given that it will take a supernatural effort to elevate UNLV football to an acceptable level. Who better than the "Clown Princes" of magic to resurrect this dead program?

  14. @ Ryan Green we know there is more to it than is at the surface. The thing is you are the most raw of all the reporters of UNLV football. That means that what you report and quote from the canidates is regarded as the meat with no fat surrounded.
    I'm sure Livengood interviewed well by the looks of the nice photo.
    Moos straight up gets it. He seems to be in tune with how heavy it is on the to do list to have a great football program.
    It also seems like Moos see that you have to pay a coach well even if its not in the budget. He may know how to get the money. If that coach needs to be fired right away, he may know how to raise the money for that buy out as well.
    He claimed to be a risk taker.

  15. @BetonBlack
    I read all of your post fam. Get em. I wish i could have seen the one they deleted. HaHa
    Meet you on the 50 yard line one day Champ.

    @logic_should_rule
    UNLV has talent. The Miricle was that 09 recruiting class.
    Coaching means so much. You can have a allstar
    franchise team on Play Stations John Madden football with Palamalu at Strong and Bob Sanders at free safety and still loose to the Raiders if you don't know how to call plays on Defense and Offense.

    I heard the former head coach would motivate the team by saying if we win this one no practice on sunday. The team would win with that simple motivation. The team looked pretty good even against SDSU this year with what ever the motive for that win was. My guess is they balled out for the seniors.
    Coaching is big.
    The players would loose and act like they were used to it because the staff acted the same. Like well we lost another close one. At least we were close. That is all Coaching. I heard the coaches would not say anyting (sometimes) after a loss.
    I heard the players would joke around in the wieght room on sunday after a loss.
    I heard one coach taught that you should line up for the 40 yard dash like a D End instead of having your foot as close to the line as it is comfortable to make up the most ground in the 40 on your first step.

    I'm simply saying that this stuff comes down to coaching flaws. It rubs off on the squad. If your general is weak hearted the warriors behind can sniff it.

    Pop Warner coaches could have helped motivate the Rebels better than some of the personalities that lead the team into war past season. We all know this.
    So if this is fixed, it will not be a question of talent. I wouldnt Coach Mike Tyson to thow jabs at 20.
    But i would coach Herring to throw the deep ball to a guy like Payne.
    Yeah...
    Moos on mine. I hope he calls nike for some all Black Jerseys like Oregon has. Red numbers. ALL Black Helmets.
    Yeah.
    Randle, Herring, Barrett, Sullivan, Bridget, Bell, Starr, Stolden, Pointer, DeJack Em Up, Bring the Phillip Payne.

  16. I'd have to say of the 3 candidates, I liked Moos the best as well. I think Livengood is using the good ol' "leave them before they leave me" approach. He knows he has no job after June. Why else would you give up being the AD of a Pac-10 School for the same position at a lesser school in a lesser conference (not saying MWC is bad, we're just not there... yet).
    I liked what Johnson had to say as well, but part of me thinks this would be a stepping stone for him. He has AD experience from Washington State, but was essentially demoted. Why did that happen? I fear he'd use any success he brought to UNLV as AD to move back to a bigger school in a BCS conference.
    Then we have Moos. Obviously the whole Nike tie-in helped tremendously at Oregon, but he still made it happen. I just have to look at the simple fact that if he doesn't get this job, he is still retired and doesn't really have to work. That shows me that he really wants to get after it at UNLV and really sees potential for huge success. I am interested to know who he is thinking of bringing in as football coach. We know that Johnson would likely bring in Rob Akey from Idaho (not too excited about him) and Livengood would most likely bring in Sonny Dykes (kill me now). Obviously all three probably have deals with coaches in place so that within a few days of being named AD, they can name a coach. I just like the "professionalism" of Moos that he didn't just start throwing out names, he just said, "I've talked to some people and we'll see how it goes."

  17. great points guys... i want the guy that will name randall and LJ as assistant AD's. awesome, now i'm fired up for football season... ugh

  18. I don't think Randall wants to be AD. He is willing to be an advisor or consultant, but i think he may be to occupied with his church. I want the guy that will hire Stallworth as AD.

  19. i agree with the 1st poster.who ever gets hired will be good for a minute then he'll have to go and will get paid off for his lucrative contract.it seems to me these guys make obscene amounts of money for what they contribute to the school.i mean all you ever hear is how broke unlv is.how can they justify paying these guys.

  20. I said it last week if Livengood gets this job "the fix was in" and UNLV football will be officially over forever. Sonny Dykes for HC are you kidding me?

  21. @JahReb,

    Exactly.... The worst possible candidate is the most qualified for the UNLV job. I know it's not official yet but it's "official". Jim Rogers is telling Scumresk to make the Livengood announcement today or tomorrow and give the other two a happy meal. What a disaster!! If it's not Livengood then I will come back and apologize....

  22. Scratch this dude, he can't count. I checked, it is 7, 8, 9....not 7, 8, 10.

  23. Met all 3 candidates, all 3 have different attributes but pretty equally strong. Livengood was most personable, can tell very hospitable and genuinely open and truthful. Moos knows his stuff, knows how to run a successful program, "knows" people, can get it done. Johnson was very approachable and also knows what it takes to get a program running.

    I wouldn't want to make the choice myself. I'd say any of the 3, we will be good with.

    On a side note, whenever someone applies for a dean position at unlv, I wish the public would say something. Hiring anything in athletics, and people come out of the woodwork thinking they know it all.

  24. footballcoachscoop.com is reporting that the deal is being finalized between UNLV and Livengood and that Livengood will be announced the new AD today along with Sonny Dykes the new UNLV (HC).

  25. Tell me your kidding! I really hope that is just bad journalism by somebody who is misinformed.

  26. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.....................................................

  27. Anybody see Outside the Lines on ESPN Sunday morning? Where they documented that Florida State recruited players who were totally deficient in learning skills, and were functionally illiterate. In college. Despite personal tutors. One professor assigned to their tutoring said several players had a 3rd or 4th grade reading level. And that there is a player in the NFL playing for the Chargers who is incapable of reading a basic book?

    This is the real challenge facing AD's and coaches. It would seem the better the team, the lower the education level required for players to be enrolled. The state schools in the South are the worst offenders-I'm not sure about USC and others on the West Coast. But the point is simple-If you want skilled players with a reasonable educational background for college, do you want to end up like Notre Dame, who haven't won a national title since 1986? Or do you go for the gold, with learning disabled and totally disinterested players, who, if they don't make it to the NFL, will end up at Mickey D's with a useless college diploma?

    This is UNLV's challenge. Since UNLV isn't exactly a top 50 academic institution, I fear we'll be going down the same road as the Southern states, winning at any cost. That's the choice our new leaders face. What's your choice?

  28. Bet, I just read it, and the report says on Dec. 6, they released that info. Again, wait for the official announcement. It has not been made yet.

    Ned, Smart players make better players IMO.

  29. @sofaking,

    If you catch the correct context of the site it says they were the first to report that Livengood was going to be named the new AD and this was reported back on 12/06. They are simply restating that they were the first to announce this 10 days ago. They are reporting that it will be announced today along with Sonny Dykes. (I aint mad at ya)...

  30. @Ned,

    Thats why the ivy league is great at football.....

  31. @BetOnBlack,

    I wouldn't jump into what that site says just yet. They have had several false reports in the last month -- such as Harbuagh to KU, Butch Jones to Marshall, etc. -- and they all conveniently are supported by anonymous sources. I'd say let this play out. I don't think, no matter who the AD is, that Sonny Dykes will be your next head coach.

  32. Ryan - Neal promised us an AD by this morning. What's going on? I bet its Livengood. He is still under contract and a buyout could be holding this up.

    Meanwhile, looks like Hauck is headed to SJSU. The longer we wait, the less options we have.

  33. @Rebelious1

    I'm still expecting something to happen today. Trying to dig and see what I can find, but all brick walls so far. Gonna keep plugging. As for potentially losing out on Hauck, I wouldn't fret over it. There's still plenty out there ...

  34. My #1 choice is still Koetter, but Hauck was my #2.

  35. I'd still say Franchione is the best fit.

  36. Fran was my 3rd choice. Koetter is familiar with the west coast, is younger, better win % as a DI HC and now has NFL experience to share with recruits.

    He also has had 2 top 10 picks (Terrell Suggs and Levi Jones). For all of Francione's "great recruiting", I don't think he has EVER had a 1st round pick. That says he doesn't develop talent as well as he should.

  37. Uh, pardon me if I'm wrong, but Fran recruited Brian Urlacher and Ladainian Tomlinson ...

  38. @Ryan,

    My gut tells me it's Livengood though. I'm not not saying that the site is 100% accurate but they did report Charlie Strong as the next L-Ville coach like 6 days before it actually became official. Is that just the law of averages kicking in?
    To me it wasn't coincidence for Livengood to be the last candidate to hold a forum right before the decision (IMO). He's already moving his stuff into Jerry's old office wearing a Groucho Marks disguise "ssshhh" don't tell anybody....
    I hope Sonny Dykes isn't even in the discussion, nothing personal against Sonny but he isn't ready for this job....

  39. I'm pretty sure Pat Sullivan landed Tomlinson and Fran inherited him.

  40. Sounds like Moos has been offered the job and is in contract talks at this time! I wonder when the press conference will be?

    Now the question is who will he bring in as a football coach...

  41. @rebelz

    Source? Reference material?

    Oh, and the press conference will be tomorrow.

  42. Ryan - We were both a little off. LT was not recruited by Fran, as Jeff said. But he did play his last 3 years under Fran. When I was looking it up I didn't account for the fact that the 2001 draft is players who played college in 2000.

    Urlacher was recruited by Fran but only played his Frosh/Soph year under him. His last two years were under Long.

  43. Johnson is the best candidate and fit for UNLV!!

  44. I'm an Arizona Wildcat just curious to see if Livengood was picked AD today. Obviously the decision will be made Thursday the 17th.

    After reading the Sun and your comments, UNLV should go with the choice of the people on this board and in Vegas and select Oregon's Moos.

    Appears Moos sees the potential and sincerely likes and wants the challenge.

    Livengood was lame duck here at Arizona where many are still ticked about how legendary UofA basketball coach Lute Olson was treated and then Livengood designated Kevin O'Neil interim coach while Lute was on medical leave which didn't go over because he conflicted with the players and he's now at USC.

    The final almost mishap was when Livengood called in USC's Tim Floyd to talk about UofA basketball and the next thing you know Floyd resigns from USC because of infractions.

    Hopefully Moos will get the nod so UNLV football can start fresh with an experienced head coach and not Sonny Dykes. Trust me. He's not ready! Dykes' offense is much too inconsistent. As a matter of fact UofA football is winning because of the talent they've recruited more than coaching.

    Talent like Juron Criner of Vegas' Canyon Springs and Keola Antolin from Bishop Gorman.
    Pac-10 or not, you shouldn't lose both local kids to the UofA or any other school.

    If Moos gets it, if I were him, I'd forget about Dirk Koetter who never defeated USC or Cal when he was at ASU, Francione or any of the names. Learn from John Robinson who you ran for being 2-9.

    I would go for Appalachian State's Jerry Moore, 178-73 all time conference wins and 205-121-2 overall. I know you're thinking what, Division IAA? But winning is habit and if he's winning there, and could take his Division IAA team into the "Big House" and whack Michigan, he'll do wonders with UNLV. Besides he was also head coach at North Texas and Texas Tech years ago, so he's grown as a head coach and he's still in his late 40s. Good luck Rebels.

    By the way, I enjoyed watching your Rebels take it to our rival ASU 2 seasons ago. But the Cats and Sean Miller owe you.

  45. Livengood making the comment that he would be reaching out to Stallworth and Koloski seems to be such a kiss butt statement. I would be offended if I was not considered good enough to be in the final 3 and then used as a platform by one of the finalists as their method towards working in the community using them as an asset. Sorry Jim - you blew it with that answer. I would not give him any help and he would need to get off the golf course and make it happen himself. He also has a conflict of interest, none of which has been reported, with a business entity working with UNLV at the moment.

    Go with Moos, he gets it. Johnson has a football Coach that has won 3 games in 2 seasons with no fire being lit from the administration after letting go of a coach 1 win away from going bowling 2 straight seasons. Sound familiar UNLV fans? What would Johnson do if the same scenario happened at UNLV? Handle it in the same manner that is being done at WSU by giving excuses?

    Sanford gave excuses and could not coach. Same goes for the WSU current football coach at he is on a staff that is sitting by watching it happen.

    Moos had Bellotti and turned it around up in Eugene. He does not need to have this job, he wants it. Livengood is at the end of the rope, while a great AD candidate to use locals in consideration as a method to help HIM turn it around was the wrong answer. We need new solutions, otherwise Stallworth would be in the final 3.

  46. @ coolcat

    winning is not always habit like you say. June Jones anyone?