Rebels athletics:

UNLV announces former bowl director as interim athletic director


Steve Marcus

Tina Kunzer-Murphy will be the interim athletic director at UNLV, it was announced Monday, May 20, 2013. Last year Kunzer-Murphy stepped down after a 12-year run as executive director of the Las Vegas Bowl.

Tina Kunzer-Murphy will be the UNLV interim athletic director effective July 1, 2013, university President Neal Smatresk announced Monday.

Kunzer-Murphy, who has been the director of alumni sponsorship and development for UNLV Alumni Relations since January, previously spent 12 years as executive director of the Las Vegas Bowl. She resigned from that position in August 2012. Kunzer-Murphy was one of many possible candidates previously discussed for athletic director before withdrawing her name before Jim Livengood was eventually hired in 2009.

“Tina Kunzer-Murphy has agreed to step into the role of interim athletic director on the heels of Jim Livengood’s retirement,” Smatresk said in a statement. “Tina brings a wealth of experience to UNLV and I am truly grateful that she will be serving in this critical role.”

A UNLV graduate, Kunzer-Murphy worked within the UNLV athletic department in various roles from 1977 to 1992, going from the head women’s tennis coach to senior assistant athletic director. After that, she became the senior associate athletic director for a year at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif.

From 2000 to 2005, Kunzer-Murphy was the general manager for the ESPN Regional Institution Project for the UNLV athletic department.

In 2008, the Sun named Kunzer-Murphy one of the Top 10 Most Influential Sports Professionals in Nevada. A 2007 inductee to the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame, Kunzer-Murphy also has managed the Western Athletic Conference football championship and basketball tournaments for Las Vegas Events and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Smatresk said last week that he didn’t plan to consider the interim hire for the full-time position, which likely won’t be hired until at least September.

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

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  1. Didn't anyone ask why she "stepped down" from ESPN?

  2. I have a hard time believing that this will be temporary. The only way I could see this being temporary is if they hire a UNLV alum as the permanent athletic director such as Steve Stallworth.

  3. Maybe I missed it, but Livengood resigned effectively immediately? Any reason why he didn't stick around until a successor was named? And any links or anything as to why Livengood left so abruptly?


  4. I like to apply for that job where you can have a losing season after losing season....only winning a game here and there...and get paid over $300k a year.

    Please AD.....give me that job.

  5. Relax guys. "Interim" means she's just a talking head for the ones that actually make the decisions. The search is still going on for a real AD.

  6. I have a feeling it's going to be a rocky ride for a bit. Our 2 best players have left, 1 to the draft 1 to another school. We also lost the A.D. and now are going with an interim until we can get someone to accept a "low ball " bit to take over this program. It only seemed like a year ago when things were looking so promising.

  7. Congrats Tina! Hopefully they'll remove the interim title soon.

  8. Damn, this is a went from a bad situation to worse. More bad times in store for our school if we don't get it together and hire a real AD.

  9. Ohhhh WOW , My prayers have been answered. Livengood felt so guilty about hiring his BYU buddy that he had to step down. Maybe others will follow suit and LEAVE right along with him,,, not mentioning any names but thier initials are Dave Rice.

  10. @fedup2here (Kenny Rogers) - How come you never complain about Kathy Olivier? She made $437,000 (almost as much as Rice) in 2012, and she has a career losing record. She's the one who needs to be fired. She makes more than the football coach. They can find somebody for a third of that price to lose just as many games.

  11. This is just the good ol' boys circling the wagons and, as Graney in the RJ said, installing a puppet that doesnt threaten their oligarchy.

    Livengood's whole long term mission was to drag this university's athletic dept, kicking & screaming, into the 21st century. Make it totally self sufficient by increasing fund raising, building the stadium, & controlling the T&M that NO STATE FUNDS would be necessary to fund athletics. Then hopefully become BCS eligible & get the windfall TV money that comes with it. All of which would benefit the University & academia for DECADES. It is the model that most Pac 12 schools & other BCS schools exist under now. They are self sufficient.

    But that would require a long term vision, willingness to reform the system & bold leadership at the top. Which, obviously, we now know we dont have. UNLV is being left behind. We shall forever remain podunk as long we have bureaucrats more concerned with protecting their turf & their piece of the shrinking pie...than they are with growth & progress. And that is EXACTLY what is happening here.

  12. Good old boys club still exists - even as they have a caretaker as Interim GM. The large amounts of conflicts of interests that existed back to the John Robinson days - paying people who then paid you is all a part of it.
    The entire department needs a clean slate, as doing good by serving the interest and writing checks to a certain non committed few for the few while watching football drown has not been a winning recipe. UNLV Grads, local Alums and local football fans can not be asked to spend gobs of money to then hang out with the so called special ones of Vegas who are only there due to the connections that they provide to those in power.
    The even mention of DJ Allen - nice guy, who got inside UNLV Athletics due to helping Kruger's book, is just not the answer. Jerry Koloski, is been there for so long - what new ideas has he failed to present or implement under any of these past regimes? If it goes local - Stallworth has to be given the look, if it goes out of market it needs to go to a #2 at a Football Power School who can quickly evaluate right and wrong done in making UNLV Football go. Not an AD from a MAC School. The town wants to support football, but not how it is laid out right now - from Coaching to Marketing to scheduling quality home games out of town for money grabs.