Barring making interim athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy permanent, the idea for someone local to sit in the AD’s chair at UNLV is a concept whose time has not yet come.
Don Logan and Steve Stallworth — two sports executives with a long history in Las Vegas — are not being considered for the vacancy created back in May when Jim Livengood stepped down.
Why? Neither Logan nor Stallworth applied for the position.
“They never contacted me to sit down with them and discuss it,” Logan, the president of the Las Vegas 51s said Monday from Lehigh Valley, Penn., where he’s attending today’s Triple-A Championship Game.
Stallworth, who runs the South Point’s profitable Equestrian Center and Arena, said he had talked to a couple of members of the search committee and was told he was nominated to apply for the position. But he said he never talked to UNLV president Neal Smatresk directly, and he, too, elected not to go through the process.
“For me, the timing’s not right,” said Stallworth, who was a candidate before Livengood got the job in 2009 . “My son’s playing football at (Bishop) Gorman and I like having the freedom to go watch him play.”
Stallworth and Logan both said they already have good jobs and are involved with projects within their companies that they don’t want to walk away from at this time.
“We’re currently involved in a $35 million deal to build a new bowling center and equestrian facilities and I want to see those projects through,” Stallworth said. “And to be honest, at the end of the day, my life is good. I love working for (South Point owner) Michael Gaughan.”
Logan feels the same way about the new owners of the 51s, who have entrusted him to revive the franchise and be the point man on building a new ballpark in Summerlin. The 51s just completed their most successful season in more than a decade, winning their division of the Pacific Coast League with an 81-63 record and making their first postseason appearance since 2002.
“I’ve got a group of guys who paid $20 million and who have entrusted me to run it for them,” Logan said. “I owe them the opportunity to get the ballpark built, build on what we did on the field this year and not leave. I can’t do that to my investors.”
Both Logan and Stallworth believe in the university’s athletic future, but their active participation will be limited to coming to football and basketball games.
“College athletics are a business,” Logan said. “It’s a bottom-line business — wins and losses. You’ve got to run athletics like you would a business to be successful.”
Stallworth said: “You need to have someone who can come in with a vision and sell hope. You need someone who has an external focus but someone who can work inside and mend some fences and boost morale in the athletic department.”
Last Saturday, UNLV interviewed Randy Spetman, the former athletic director at Air Force, Utah State and Florida State. Chris Peterson, the current AD at Arkansas-Little Rock, and John Johnson, the associate AD at Washington State are reportedly also on Smatresk’s short list. Neither has been brought in to interview yet.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twiiter @stevecarprj.