Kreigh Warkentien hired as UNLV’s director of basketball operations

Warkentien is the daughter of former Jerry Tarkanian assistant Mark Warkentien

Updated Tuesday, May 17, 2011 | 9:39 p.m.

To say Kreigh Warkentien landed her dream job would be an understatement.

Hired as the UNLV basketball program’s director of basketball operations Tuesday, Warkentien comes back to a program she grew up around. Her father, Mark Warkentien, served as an assistant coach and administrator on legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian’s staff during the program’s glory years.

Kreigh Warkentien recalls taking some of her first steps in the Thomas & Mack Center in developing a passion for Rebel basketball she’ll bring to her new position. She was the final hire on new coach Dave Rice’s staff, filling a position that is strictly administrative and involves no coaching or recruiting.

Rice was part of UNLV’s back-to-back Final Four teams, which Mark Warkentien coached on.

“I was born a Rebel,” Kreigh Warkentien said. “To me, this is more than a job. It is much bigger. I love that coach Rice is coming home to coach the program. I feel like I am coming home, too.”

Warkentien will be the liaison between the coaches and UNLV administration and will serve as the program’s academic coordinator. At some schools, the director of basketball operations partially serves as another coach; that won’t be the case at UNLV.

She previously worked in Arizona State’s program, where her duties included academic support, overseeing travel, equipment, recruiting and training table budgets. She is a 2009 graduate of Arizona State, where she also worked as a student manager.

She also previously worked in game operations with the Portland Trailblazers of the NBA.

“Her experience with the academic support area and administrative side of how a college basketball program operates will benefit our players,” Rice said in a statement. “I am excited about this hire and know she will do a great job.”

Additionally, her godfather is Tim Grgurich, who was Tarkanian's top assistant during the glory years and currently on staff with the Dallas Mavericks. That gives her plenty of knowledge about the history of the program and its significance in Southern Nevada.

“The community here is great,” she said. “They have an attachment to the program that I totally understand. I know what Runnin’ Rebel basketball means to the city of Las Vegas.”

Mark Warkentien, who is the New York Knicks’ director of pro player personal, has several stories about his daughter growing up near the program. He often used players — such as Chris Jeter of the 1990 national title team — as her babysitter.

“It is just a dream deal,” he said. “Literally, she was born a Rebel. I can’t believe how lucky we are.”

The fact that Kreigh Warkentien, a female, landed a job traditionally filled by men isn’t lost on the family.

“You will find a lot of presidents, athletic directors and coaches who talk about diversity,” said Mark Warkentien, who worked at UNLV from 1980 to 1991. “The three guys at UNLV believe in it. They saw the job meant more to her than any other applicant. She will bring that type of energy to the program.”

Rice, who was hired last month, has also hired former San Diego State assistant Justin Hutson, ex-Wyoming coach Heath Schroyer and former Rebel great Stacey Augmon.

Additionally, Rich Hilliard has been retained as the program’s video coordinator, a position he has held for five years. His title will be changed to director of student-athlete development.

“Rich has done a great job in the video coordinator role and will continue to do so,” Rice said. “I was aware of the quality of his work from being in the league and also because of the high recommendation that coach Kruger gave. We plan to get Rich involved in many areas of our program and expand his role to help him reach his goal of becoming a coach."

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  1. How many taxpayer dollars for her salary?

  2. Here we go again with the "eliminate sports" crowd. Go troll somewhere else.

  3. How many teams have a director of basketball operations that you wouldn't mind dating?

  4. @FRM: How about "get a life"?

  5. For the last time unlv basketball is a surplus. Get a life.

  6. Hey Ryan, does she schedule the potential future games? Or is more managerial day-to-day stuff?

  7. From my understanding, she won't be dealing with scheduling as much as Shep did.

  8. I can only think of one important, burning question after this wonderful she single?

  9. flydazemfzh - Right? I just hope she doesn't date the players. She's young.

  10. She is more than capable of handling this job. A lot of the responsibilities she will have here she was doing in some capacity at ASU. Another big part of what she brings is the connections her father and her godfather (grg) have. Another really solid hire!

  11. While salary and perks for athletics personnel are a staple of articles in other states, I've noticed they are never given in Las Vegas.

    When public funds are used to hire and pay these folks it is appropriate to list them for the public. If it's a private school it's none of my business but UNLV is a state school funded by taxes and especially in these times when education dollars are hard to come by and we are cutting staff, operations cost and more, it seems as though funding 'rich competition packages' for non degree programs is not money well spent.

    Some will say big three athletics programs bring in big money, especially from alumni and if they pay for themselves and more, have at it. However, I have yet to see any proof that monetarily these programs are a win, win deal. Especially when then cost of scholarships are taken into account.

    Too many of these collegiate sports programs are little more than taxpayer funded training grounds for pro teams and their drafts, and feel good items for alumni sports addicts. I love college ball but not enough to spend tens of millions on them when we are laying off teachers who provide part of the path to a degree.

    Maybe flushing out the top tiers of administrative personnel who make these decisions and spend their lives building empires and replacing them with some business folks with a track record of success would be more cost effective. There are plenty of folks on staff already who know how to educate and can provide applicable advice.

  12. The information is there, all you gotta do is look.

    If you have more questions, why not email them?