Tina Kunzer-Murphy first woman to head UNLV athletics

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy cheers the Rebels on during their game against UNR Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013 at Mackay Stadium in Reno. UNLV defeated UNR 27-22 to reclaim the Fremont Cannon.

Nevada regents today unanimously approved Tina Kunzer-Murphy as UNLV’s permanent athletic director.

Kunzer-Murphy, appointed interim director in July, is the first woman and the first UNLV alumna to head UNLV athletics.

“I want to thank the Board of Regents for the tremendous support that they’ve given to me and to UNLV Athletics,” Kunzer-Murphy said in a statement.

“I also want to thank President Neal Smatresk for this unbelievable and humbling opportunity to work on behalf of our 450 student-athletes and their talented head coaches,” she said. “We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but it’s a great thing to wake up every morning knowing that you get a chance to make a real difference at your alma mater in your own hometown.”

Kunzer-Murphy will receive an annual salary of $240,000, with the potential to earn $10,000 performance bonuses.

Her contract includes benefits, such as a car, 12 tickets per game for all UNLV sports and an annual $25,000 bonus for each year UNLV wins the Governor’s Cup in a friendly rivalry series that pits UNLV and UNR in 15 sports.

Her three-year contract will start Jan. 1 and end Dec. 31, 2016.

Kunzer-Murphy replaces former UNLV Athletic Director Jim Livengood, who suddenly retired earlier this year.

Kunzer-Murphy comes to the position with extensive experience in UNLV and Las Vegas collegiate athletics.

She began as a UNLV student-athlete, competing in women’s tennis. For 15 years, she rose through the university’s ranks from head coach of women’s tennis to assistant athletics director to director of sponsorships for alumni relations.

Kunzer-Murphy also managed the Western Athletic Conference football championship and basketball tournaments for Las Vegas Event Inc. and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

In addition, she spent 12 years as executive director of the Las Vegas Bowl for ESPN Regional Television Inc. Before that, she was general manager for the ESPN Regional Institution Project for UNLV’s department of intercollegiate athletics.

Kunzer-Murphy was inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and was honored as Las Vegas’ Sportsperson of the Year in 2011.

She earned two degrees from UNLV — bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1975 and a master’s degree in education in 1977.

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