Groundwork set in search for UNLV athletic director

Insiders say they don’t expect the process to last beyond Christmas

Neal Smatresk

Neal Smatresk

The first of what might not be many athletic director search committee meetings took place Tuesday afternoon at UNLV.

Gerry Bomotti, the chair of the committee of about a dozen and the university’s vice president of finance and business, said it was mostly about organization and procedures.

The committee also finalized the wording of the announcement of the position that will be posted on the UNLV and Nevada System of Higher Education Web sites today.

“And we received our charge from the president,” Bomotti said.

The Nevada Board of Regents appointed Dr. Neal Smatresk, 58, as UNLV’s new president in early August.

A few weeks earlier, Mike Hamrick left his post as UNLV athletic director for the same position at Marshall, his alma mater. Longtime UNLV administrator Jerry Koloskie took over in an interim capacity.

The 90-minute search committee meeting took place in the UNLV Student Union. Smatresk was there for about 20 minutes.

“He really wants us to go out and help him find the best possible pool of candidates for the AD postion,” Bomotti said. “He gave us his thoughts and I think he captured everything he believed was important.

“He’s just trying to do the best job for the university. It’s an important position, a high-profile position, and he wants to get a person in who will lead the department. He said, ‘Hey, find some good people.’ ”

The priority deadline for applicants is Nov. 30, and the search committee will meet again Dec. 1.

“If someone gets an application in Dec. 5, we’ll still be able to review it,” Bomotti said. “But we’re asking people for priority consideration. On Dec. 1, we’ll talk about the candidates and get an assessment of what the pool looks like.”

Members of the committee can make their own recommendations.

“If they know of two good candidates they can contact the chair, which is me,” Bomotti said. “We’ll consider all those people if they have interest. I think it’s pretty straight-forward.”

Koloskie wants the job.

“I’ll do what’s right for the department, first and foremost,” he has told the Sun. “I can tell you right now, I’m pretty confident that if I’m given the opportunity to sit in this chair, I’ll represent UNLV athletics very well.”

South Point Arena director Steve Stallworth and MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy have worked at UNLV and are believed to be, with Koloskie, strong local candidates.

Both Stallworth and Kunzer-Murphy have met informally, either for lunch or in a casual environment, with Smatresk in recent weeks.

“I do believe there’s local talent and good local people,” Smatresk has told the Sun. “Are they qualified to run a Division-I, NCAA-compliant program? Is their experience in that realm?”

Per university guidelines, however, a national search will be conducted and the committee findings will be forwarded to Smatresk for his consideration.

Several insiders said they don’t expect the process to last past Christmas.

“It will happen as soon as possible,” said one source.

The committee includes Daren Libonati, the executive director of the Thomas & Mack Center, Sam Boyd Stadium and Cox Pavilion; UNLV women’s basketball coach Kathy Olivier; swimming and diving coach Jim Reitz; and men’s soccer coach Mario Sanchez.

Also on the committee are Eric Toliver, an associate athletic director in charge of compliance; equipment director Paul Pucciarelli; academic faculty representative Mike Clauretie; and Larry Hamilton, who is on the administrative faculty and works in human resources.

UNLV basketball coach Lon Kruger and prominent booster Cliff Findlay, the area automobile magnate who played center for the Rebels in the late 1960s, might be sought for their input.

What is certain is that one of the major moves of Smatresk’s tenure as UNLV president will be one of his first.

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  1. I have to agree with you on this one sufferin, this has disaster written all over it. I am just as qualified as any of the names on this committee, heck I would conduct a better search then those losers. I can predict right now what is going to happen - Pres. Smatresk is going to hire some AD from Bafoon State or worse yet one of the local idiots and they in turn will fire Sanford and hire another no name stiff from Shmuck State and the tradition of losing will continue for the rest of our lives....

  2. Imagine that Sufferin hit it on the head. If Koloskie is selected I can guarantee the RAF will not see a dime of my money. He has already shown me what a loser he is with his lame, lame duck comments. Ladies and gentle men it is not about winning and we are competitive. Right. Koloskie do us a favor and pull out now before you destroy what is left of an already critically injured program. Stallworth would be the only local I would even give an interview to , and then his chances would be slim. We need a proven "winner" (got that Koloskie), a leader who can right the ship.

  3. Hire Steve Stallworth.

    Steve knows how to get things done correctly.

    No thanks on Tina Murphy.

    Tina is very nice but would make a horrible A. D.

  4. Checked both sites but didn't see an announcement posted. Will check again later.

    I'll throw in, just to stir the pot.

    I'm no less qualified to run a Division-I, NCAA-compliant program than Strip Stallworth or TKM.

    I have less experience in that realm than Jerry K., but even I would have had the good common sense to dump Sanford weeks ago, which K apparently did not.

  5. UNLV Athletics is still a prominent enough Division I program to lure some quality candidates for the AD job, right? Right? Yeah, I'm nervous too. Here's hoping they find another Brad Rothermel, rather than the second coming of Dennis (Witch Hunt) Finfrock or Mike (I Thought That Hole In The Ground Was My Sphincter) Hamrick.

  6. I agree with Southern, the department is not in the dire state that Sufferin is alluding to. Yes football is horrible, but men's basketball will be top 25 this season with a return trip to the tourney. I believe there will be a good list of candidates with which to choose from. I also like the timing; if a candidate is hired by Christmas the Sanford firing will give the program time to hire a coach in time to let him begin off-season duties.

  7. Need an individual with NCAA, track record of getting work done and done well, knowledge about all athletics to some degree, connected, what else am I forgetting...

    Not the easiest to search in this economic climate right now, and don't forget that there are more sports than just football and basketball (if you are looking for winners...M. Golf is ranked, M. Swimming hasnt lost yet (still start of season).

    Who would YOU put on the commission?

  8. Robert, you're an ass. E.T. and Pooch are good people who've been around the program a long time and they're highly passionate about UNLV athletics. I feel BETTER knowing they're invloved.

  9. Referring to yourself in the 3rd person is the worst way to communicate and sound intelligent...

  10. Rofl, freaking for real sofaking!

    Then again Sufferin discredits himself when he says we've seen the best of Lon Kruger.

    I think he'll owe everyone else an apology at the end of this season...

    But I'm just speculating...too.

  11. I'm glad to see E.T. and Pooch on the search comittee

    Both of them are wonderful and dedicated men of honor

  12. Proper way to hire an AD? How about the proper way to voice your opinion without saying someone has LOSER tattooed on his or her forehead? Any chance you're a disgruntled ex-unlv employee, robert? Thought so

  13. ok sufferin isn't the brightest one..he thinks Kruger should be fired..and the sweet 16 was luck..im sure the final 4s kruger has been to with other schools is luck too..

    im sure this guy didnt get into unlv when he applied back in his day..haha

    and is this guy Eliminate_UNLV_Sports on the RJ site? read what that guy wrote on the hawkins article! its hilarious!!

  14. Larry Kehres for football coach.

  15. Well I think they should remove the interim pres for not personally firing the football coach. Da coach was given substantial resources to make a decent showing and it gets worse every year.

  16. LARRY JOHNSON FOR AD!!!!!!!

  17. I see nothing wrong with the committee names listed. Specifically Mike Clauretie a Finance professor in the college of Business. As a former UNLV student (c/o 07) I had the pleasure of taking one of Dr. Clauretie's finance courses and talk about a guy passionate about UNLV students, Finance, and UNLV athletics. Not only were his classes totally awesome and interesting (if you had to take finance then you rushed to get in Dr. Clauretie's class)but he would often spend a little time talking about the basketball program, the previous or current nights game and he even came to class often wearing something with UNLV basketball written on it. Great professor and a smart and passionate guy.

  18. @rev

    1. Substantial resources for UNLV football? Are you serious? We have one of the lowest inputs for football in the conference and we're not exactly the SEC. Substantial? I'd like to know where this abundance of funding/resourses has come from.

    2. The football team has not come close to progressing the way we all had hoped but they have not gotten worse every year. As for this year, whether they surpass 5-7 is not yet known.

    If you're going to bash the coach, AD, president and/or program.....it's your right, just use facts please.

  19. Dear Fast Camron:

    Ok, so the coach has 80 athletic scholarships and the ability to recruit - then he has to form the team - from what I know an admirable job is done shaping the character and educating the people who actually come here. However, 5 years is long enough. The coach has to develop athletic skills and it is not being done. There were in other posts some facts about the relative power rankings of teams and UNLV was worse each year. Yes, by some measurements the team has won a few more games in the 4th year and maybe this year. They have performed poorly. There is no AD to bash. The president is an interim and only lately decided to search for an AD after the horrible performance of the team. I think that is factual. Is it as much as other schools? Don't know - it mostly is not dependent on the state I hope you are making your financial contribution. Ok, so fire the President - at least he has some responsibility for this abysmal showing.

  20. Rev

    5 years is long enough, I agree. And for that he will be dismissed.

    Sanford has actually recruited above average for the caliber of team that UNLV is. What he has done with that talent is what has got him into hot water.

    As for power rankings, I don't put much stock into them. There are other people's opinions, not facts. Records are facts. Recruiting talent is a fact. Even if we don't get a highly rated recruiting class, all can tell if there is talent or not. And there is no dispute that we have more since Sanford has been here.

    Fire the President? For what responsibility should he accept for the football teams showing? He didn't even hire the AD that hired Hamrick. Man, think about that. Doesn't that sound a bit hastey? He just got here for heavens sake. 3...4 months and he should be fired for saving what little money the university has by not firing Sanford in the middle of the season? I don't know if you know, but if they fire him now, they would have to pay more for his buyout than if they waited till after the season ends. Plus, he hasn't even had the chance to hire a new AD. Gotta give him a bit longer than a few months. It's not like the 5 years Sanford was given. I want a successful football program as much as the next guy, but let's be rational.

    BTW, on top of paying state mandated taxes for UNLV, I purchase season tickets every year (thus I'm a donor) so yes, I'm doing my part and always have.

  21. You can't look at some guy who gets burned out, retires, then wants back because he miss'es the action and nobody pays attention to him anymore. MOOS

    You can't restrict your search to 702 area code, Good-'Ole-Vegasboys, who have either never been involved in major college athletics or were decades ago. (TOO MANY TO COUNT) I watched with interest how Hawaii filled their head coach and AD (don't even think Hermie Frazier) jobs last year by going local, now a year later the programs in the toilet, even the Rebels beat 'em.

    Find the fool who is in position and doing well, yet finds his or her job boring and looks for more money and greater challenge. Look first at a BCS school where the guy at least knows the enemy and how to play them (other BCS schools). It's getting too hard for non-BCS to schedule BCS, example Washington breaking their contract with BYU, a person from a non-BCS school can't help improve the Rebels college football profile.
    PS-Get rid of Sanford first so the new guy won't have the distraction and can find his own coach. #2 Start to act like a big-time program, build the on-Campus stadium, dump the high school uniforms, establish traditions.

  22. I totally agree with the post above. Sorry, but UNLV needs to get someone with BCS Conference experience not a local. They might be good people, but they all seem to be connected to people who continue to run UNLV throughout all of these bad times. I dont understand how there are Coaches who have been at UNLV less than 2 years on this panel? I dont know why that there are not some people from outside this local circle on this committee. Where is the real experience of how a big time athletic department is run among this group. Sure there are some loyal people who have been at UNLV for a long time. How about some new voices to provide some perspective about how to get it right?

    Get a BCS guy please!