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Nevada Athletic Commission tabs finalists for top post

The process to select Keith Kizer’s successor as executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission is entering the final round.

Five finalists were identified Tuesday, from a list of nine candidates, to be interviewed by the NAC on April 12. Kizer resigned Jan. 10, and the commission has been working to fill the vacancy since. Initially, approximately 350 applied for the position, which has an annual salary of $94,000.

The finalists are:

■ Bob Bennett of Las Vegas, a retired FBI agent and current boxing judge in Nevada.

■ Andrew Foster of Sacramento, Calif., currently the executive officer of the California State Athletic Commission.

■ Michael Martino of Reno, a NAC inspector, former interim executive director of USA Boxing and coach of the UNR boxing team.

■ Jeffrey Mullen of Germantown, Tenn., a former mixed martial arts judge and current executive director of the Tennessee Athletic Commission.

■ Mark Smith of Las Vegas, a commercial airline pilot and mixed martial arts and kickboxing judge.

“All the candidates are phenomenal,” NAC chairman Francisco Aguilar said. “I’m very pleased with the quality and the integrity of the finalists.”

Aguilar said a hire could be made April 12.

“If we have consensus, we could hire someone that day,” he said. “But if we have two candidates that are really close and that we both like, we may need to bring them in for a second round of interviews.”

The commission met in closed session for about 15 minutes to determine the number of people it wanted to interview. Anthony Marnell III, the newest member of the commission, suggested that five be interviewed. Commissioner Pat Lundvall then offered the five names to be interviewed, and they were unanimously approved.

“It was a tough decision,” Lundvall said. “They all have honor, integrity and experience, and they are team players.”

The interviews, to be conducted in public at the Sawyer Building, are expected to last 25 minutes per finalist. Each candidate will get 15 minutes to sell himself to the commission, with the commissioners getting 10 minutes to ask questions.

The finalists have undergone background checks, and the commissioners have been reviewing their resumes since the field went from 16 to nine a couple of weeks ago.

“Everybody’s checked out fine,” Aguilar said. “We’re ready to proceed and find our new executive director.”

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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