Published Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009 | 3 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009 | 1:01 a.m.
- AD hopeful Moos talks potential football success (12-15-2009)
- UNLV AD candidate Johnson comes through clean at public forum (12-11-2009)
- Smatresk: AD decision should come Tuesday (12-9-2009)
- Former chancellor backs Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood (12-8-2009)
- UNLV president denies reports of Livengood as new athletic director (12-4-2009)
- Search committee to narrow UNLV athletic director list (12-1-2009)
- Franchione emerges as potential early candidate for UNLV football post (11-19-2008)
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."