Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009 | 2 a.m.
In Today's Sun
- Former Rebels quarterback seeks 'ultimate' UNLV job (9-3-2009)
- Jerry Koloskie named UNLV’s interim AD (8-27-2009)
There’s still no official list of candidates for the vacant UNLV athletic director’s job and probably won’t be until spring. But since the Sun last published an unofficial list of local possibilities in July, the three names that keep popping up most in news stories and talk on the street are those of Las Vegas Bowl Executive Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy, South Point Equestrian and Event Center General Manager Steve Stallworth and interim UNLV Athletic Director Jerry Koloskie.
Of the three, only Koloskie isn’t a UNLV grad, but he has been a vital part of the Rebels’ athletic program for more than 25 years.
Kunzer-Murphy and Stallworth are considered sports business types whose contacts and experience in the areas of media, marketing and sponsorships could be seen as invaluable, especially in a flagging economy. As a UNLV associate athletic director for more than a decade, Koloskie has hands-on experience regarding how an athletic department should operate.
Under Kunzer-Murphy’s stewardship, the Las Vegas Bowl has played to sellout crowds and recently landed a lucrative multiyear, multimillion-dollar title sponsorship from MAACO auto paint and body shops.
As general manager of the Orleans Arena, Stallworth was responsible for staging a college basketball game featuring NCAA juggernauts Kansas and Florida, the first time programs of such magnitude agreed to play ball in an arena connected to a casino.
Koloskie was named UNLV interim athletic director. According to athletic department insiders, he had been doing most of the work anyway in his long-standing role as associate A.D.
Though all three have expressed interest in the job, only Stallworth has campaigned for it publicly.
“I love the business of sports,” Stallworth said during a three-hour interview with the Sun. “Taking the same sports principles and applying them in business, that’s where my strengths are.”
Kunzer-Murphy has told her inner circle that becoming UNLV athletic director would be her “dream job.” Koloskie has more or less said the same thing to his confidants, indicating that everything he’s done in athletic administration up to now was in preparation for becoming a full-fledged athletic director.
Although UNLV President Neal Smatresk has indicated there will be a national search to find a replacement for Mike Hamrick, who resigned as UNLV athletic director in July, both he and James Dean Leavitt, the chairman of the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, are impressed with the potential local candidates.
“I do believe there’s local talent and good local people,” Smatresk told the Sun in a recent interview before issuing the following qualifier: “Are they qualified to run a Division I, NCAA-compliant program? Is there experience in that realm?”
Leavitt said he has met informally with Kunzer-Murphy and Koloskie and is planning to chat with Stallworth soon.
“It’s got to be someone who is creative, someone who is dynamic,” Leavitt said. “They need to be charismatic because at the end of the day they need to tell the UNLV story, and that implies a certain personality.
“Some of the local people we have right now have demonstrated absolute excellence and commitment and, quite frankly, fidelity to the Las Vegas community.”