Former chancellor backs Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood

As UNLV nears AD hire, Rogers says he never tried to force his hand

Click to enlarge photo

Neal Smatresk

Beyond the Sun

Despite erroneous reports that University of Arizona Athletic Director Jim Livengood had been offered and accepted the same position at UNLV on Friday, he’s still thought to be a strong candidate for the job.

A search committee is combing through candidates to find one to recommend to UNLV President Neal Smatresk, and former university system Chancellor Jim Rogers is lining up Livengood.

But, Rogers emphasized Monday, “I have never jammed anybody down anyone’s throat. I would never call up Neal Smatresk and say, ‘You better hire this guy, or else.’ ”

Smatresk said Monday that no decisions had been made, following his statement on Friday that the “world will know” when he makes an offer.

That offer, he said, could be made in the next few days.

Rogers said he had a brief conversation with Smatresk, a longtime friend, at a recent holiday party and inquired as to how the search was going. Smatresk asked what Rogers thought of Livengood, and Rogers said he praised his aggressiveness, experience and creativity.

“Neal didn’t say if he had five people he was looking at, or 50,” Rogers added. “And I didn’t ask.”

Rogers said Livengood had called him late last week to ask whether he thought he would be a good fit in Las Vegas. “And I told him that he would be a good fit in the town — that he’s very open, aggressive, friendly, and I said, ‘I think you would fit very well with the people here.’ ”

Rogers said he does not support interim athletic director Jerry Koloskie or Steve Stallworth, general manager of the South Point Arena, for the UNLV job.

“We need somebody from the outside with a real fire in his belly and experience in the national athletic field,” Rogers said. “Do I have a horse in this race? Only to the extent that if they’ve got somebody better than Jim Livengood, they should hire that individual. If they don’t, they should hire Jim Livengood.”

Gerry Bomotti, who is heading the search committee for UNLV’s new athletic director, said Monday that they are “on the clock for a whole bunch of reasons.” The top reason, obviously, is UNLV’s need to hire a new football coach. It will be the first order of business for the new athletic director, who should be known sooner rather than later.

He said that, by his projection, he could see Smatresk potentially naming a finalist or finalists “sometime this week.”

“I think there’s a lot of progress,” Bomotti said. “We have talked to some people.

“I do think that he certainly wants to get this hire made as soon as possible.”

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  1. get this thing done and get Franchione in here....
    ...we cant wait too long or he will be gone.

  2. Don't be fooled, Rogers is the one calling the shots on this one. He doesn't have to call up Neal and say hire this guy. If Smatresk doesn't hire who Rogers wants then good ole Jim will send him packing just like he did the last 2 Presidents. He has all the power over at UNLV and it's his way or the highway. If he wants Livengood then it's over.

    Why is a search committee even needed when behind the scenes Jim Rogers is the committee, president, ad, and maybe even basketball coach if he could be.

    One wealthy man is hiring the AD and it sure isn't the President of the University.

  3. come on Jim Rogers isnt the basketball coach lol are you kiddin me you went a lil too far on that one.

    I understand you trying to make your point, but a little exageration..

    maybe the General Manager of the team..

  4. The fact they are considering an arena manger as the new AD says it all. UNLV has a long, long way to go to get where it wants to be.

    Livengood, while not a competent arena manager(sarcasm), plays with the big boys in college athletics. Could UNLV do better?
    I doubt it.

  5. Have they learned their lesson yet?

    They should ask Rogers his opinion and then do the exact opposite of whatever he says.

    Remember the last UNLV President was personally picked by Rogers.

    Enough said..........

  6. According to UA sources, Livengood doesn't know what he's doing when it comes to hiring coaches. Let him balance the budget but the President needs to handpick the football coach.

  7. Good reporting.

  8. "According to UA sources, Livengood doesn't know what he's doing when it comes to hiring coaches."

    Sources? Maybe the janitor?

    Nobody bats 1.000 He hired football coach Mike Stoops. Arizona just finished 2nd in the Pac-10. He also just hired Sean Miller who doubtlessly will restore UA to the basketball elite.

    Hell, if Livengood isn't good enough for UNLV, hire the arena manager. Since he's not a Rogers pick, he should be just fine............

  9. Reports are that when Livengood is named the AD that he is going to bring the Zona D-Coordinator with him as UNLV's next HC.

  10. didnt he hire lute olsen

  11. and wouldn't Livengood have brought in the new bb coach from Xavier.

    Stallworth probably has more fire for the job than any of the candidates. y'all need to figure out what you want and stop contradicting yourselves.

    in my opinion Franchione is not the answer for our football team.

  12. I'm sorry if my memory serves me incorrectly, but isn't Jim Rogers the man who was calling to end both the football and basketball programs just a few months before the 06-07 season began? I'm not 100% sure, and normally would do my research before posting something like this, but Im almost positive it was. Why would anyone listen to a guy who was calling to end the basketball program two years into a coaches tenure when it's head coach had a tremendous record of turning/restoring programs from the bottom up? Rogers is a pr**k who needs to get over himself and stop acting like he's still relevant.

  13. Uh, Rogers didn't pick Ashley as the president.

    Rogers actually recommended the OTHER GUY, the former general and head of West Point.

    The search committee, in its infinite wisdom, picked Ashley instead.

    Rogers didn't call for an end to football.

    In 2006, after another disastrous football season and after a 4-2 start to basketball after two seasons of 17-14 finishes, Rogers issued a memo publicly warning the programs to get their acts together and improve their performance or he would personally make changes if the president and AD wouldn't or couldn't.

    Since then, Lon Kruger has won 75% of his games. Football however has still stunk.

    Rogers has more money than everybody on the search committee put together. That doesn't mean he's always right, but it does mean HE IS NOT STUPID. And maybe that means the search committee needs to listen carefully to what he has to say.

    While I have reservations about Livengood, if a smart guy like Rogers wants him, maybe he's worth considering?

  14. Rather than bash Livengood, I'd like to know who the other candidates are in serious contention for the AD position. Livengood's age might suggest he's coming out here for the golf courses (i.e. John Robinson), but he is the current AD of a high profile Pac-10 school. Correct me if I'm wrong, but some of the former blogs on previous posts here suggested the new AD at the very least have the kind of pedigree this man has in spades.

    I'm not defending Livengood, just curious about the other finalists. Can anyone dig up some other names, or is the Livengood contract more or less a done deal?

  15. @NevadaSouthRebFan,

    The 4 names that kept coming up in the running for this job were - Moos-Oregon, Bjork-UCLA, Stallworth & Koloskie. Livengoods name wasn't even mentioned in the final 4. Somehow Livengoods name was pulled out of a magical hat out of nowhere. Something smells real fishy about this Livengood talk. At 64 do you mean to tell me that Livengood is the long term AD answer for UNLV?

    I personally would like to see Bjork get this job, he has raised a ton of money for UCLA and & I believe he is only 37. Bjork is the associate AD at UCLA, I have been around business long enough to know that when you have the title of associate in anything you are doing all the hard work and the head man gets all the glory.

  16. I hear you Bet,

    Thanks for the info. From the look of it, we'll have our answer either way very soon. Let's hope, for the sake of the university, the best candidate is hired out of whatever pool exists. Do it for the sake of the student base and community, not to satisfy any possible nepotistic impulses by the Chancellor.

  17. Bjork for AD, I'm with BoB on this one as well.

  18. As long as he doesn't bring Mark Stoops with him, I am ok with Livengood.

  19. Hey Logic, Livengood was NOT responsible for hiring Miller. Boosters were behind that. Livengood was botching that whole hiring situation and making UA look stupid until he was FORCED to hire Miller.
    Bjork for AD.

  20. Remember folks Livengood wanted Tim Floyd for the UofA bbal coach job. Even after all the OJ Mayo/USC mess was swirling around. Kind of shows his judgment eh?...

    Needless to say, it looks like the guy knows how to run a profitable and clean athletic department. But probably doesn't have good PR with alumni and boosters when it comes to picking coaches. Good think UNLV lacks a strong, powerful and united Alumni base...The guy does have experience and its not like we can get any worse in football, no matter what coach he would choose to hire. I've become numb to the situation at this point. Just hire somebody already and get us a FB coach!

  21. Lenny-Ridiculous that boosters can hire a coach. The only place that I've read that Livengood didn't hire Miller is on these boards. Forced to hire Miller? Laughable if your claim wasn't so stupid.

    SMB-Yes he did want Floyd after the Mayo mess? Your timeline is way off.

    If you want a proven AD, he's a good choice otherwise UNLV will have to go with a asst. AD from a big school and hope he can perform.

  22. if you dont think boosters can lure a coach to a program you know nothing about college sports. Livengood is a bad deal to most UNLV fans. We need a guy on the way UP not on the way DOWN.

  23. It's pretty clear when high-profile coaching hires happen, the AD doesn't have a ton to do with it - the guys cutting the checks do. With that in mind, get a guy that's aggressive with fundraising and looking to build a name that will get him a better, higher paying job after a number of years of certified success.

    Seems like Ross Bjork fits those qualities better than anyone else on the list.

  24. Rogers only wants Livengood because he has been writing the man checks for some time. Not that I can say that Livengood would be fantastic or terrible, but I think it is fairly obvious when a former Arizon alum (Rogers) is pushing for somebody he has been hand writing donation checks to for years. Maybe he trusted what Livengood was doing and that contributed to his willingness to dish over the cash, but I have a hard time believing that his push is just simple good faith in the man. I think Rogers loves the idea that he already has pull with Livengood and can use that to his advantage (in whatever that may be) down the road. At least Livengood has a proven track record. I don't care what Rogers has to say, let the new AD's history do the talking. I imagine Livengoods is more than suitable for UNLV.

  25. Time is wasting, unbelievable we still don't have an AD. It's been how many months? Let's make a decision and get a coach.

  26. unlvrunrebs --You really don't get it. The calim is that Livengood was FORCED to hire Miller. That's just ranting by morons here.