Rebels athletics:

Board approves contract extension for UNLV interim athletic director

Tina Kunzer-Murphy will be in place at least through the end of 2014 and multiple Regents asked that she be moved to the full-time position

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Steve Marcus

Tina Kunzer-Murphy will continue to serve as UNLV’s athletic director, as the university announced Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, it would extend her contract.

The Nevada Board of Regents this morning approved an action to extend UNLV interim athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy’s contract to the end of 2014. The extension comes with a $10,000 pay raise to make her annual contract $180,000.

“Thank you so much for this opportunity,” Kunzer-Murphy said. “I’m committed to UNLV, this community and the wonderful state of Nevada.”

Many Rebels coaches attended and spoke in support of Kunzer-Murphy at the Board’s special meeting at the UNLV Student Union.

“The coaches are 100 percent behind Tina Kunzer-Murphy,” UNLV basketball coach Dave Rice said.

Many regents spoke in favor of Kunzer-Murphy’s extension — “If I could vote twice, I’d vote twice,” said Regent Cedric Crear — and Regent Jason Geddes suggested the board see an agenda item in December for a full-time contract. Regent Allison Stephens casted the only nay vote, saying she couldn’t approve the item because it was originally stated that the interim would not be considered for the full-time position.

Kunzer-Murphy was named the interim athletic director in May and took over on July 1. She replaced Jim Livengood, who is still being paid by the university as a consultant through the end of 2013.

UNLV President Neal Smatresk was adamant from the time he conducted the initial search that the interim would not become the full-time athletic director. Once she was named, Kunzer-Murphy echoed that sentiment at every turn, including comments like, “You won’t see me sitting in that chair.”

While still technically true, the approval will keep Kunzer-Murphy in place for at least a year and a half unless a permanent AD is hired before then. However, it’s more likely that Kunzer-Murphy would be moved into that full-time position before then.

Smatresk said his options going forward are to conduct an internal search and seek a waiver to keep Kunzer-Murphy in place at a full-time salary or to relaunch a national search. Last week Smatresk called off the most recent search to announce his decision to keep Kunzer-Murphy in place.

Smatresk said he had a feeling which one of those would be best but wouldn’t say which one that was. Watching him smile and congratulate Kunzer-Murphy, who received a near standing ovation from supporters and regents, it wasn’t hard to figure out his preference.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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