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Raiders’ new president draws rave reviews

Updated July 7, 2022 - 7:08 pm

New Raiders president Sandra Douglass Morgan got a ringing endorsement from the city’s other major league franchise owner on the day of her historic hire.

“She’s extremely intelligent and very practical,” Golden Knights’ owner Bill Foley said. “I’d say she’s street smart. Very organized. She’s a high quality person. She called and asked me about the position and I told her, ‘It’s a great opportunity for you. You should take it.’ I think it’s a great fit. She’ll bring a lot to the party. I don’t know the Raiders except from afar, but it looks like there’s been some turnover. I believe she will bring stability to that organization.”

Morgan sits on the board of Fidelity National Financial, of which Foley is the chairman. It’s just one line of an impressive résumé Morgan has built throughout her illustrious career.

The Eldorado High School grad has made a mark on many prominent Nevadans along the way.

“I knew Sandra had a bright future when I appointed her chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board and I am incredibly proud to see her breaking barriers in the NFL as the first Black woman president in the league. She’s a fantastic pick for the team,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement. “I know she’ll continue to make Nevada proud. I look forward to working with her to create more jobs for Nevadans, grow our sports economy and keep Las Vegas the sports capital of the world.”

While running a major franchise is a unique experience, it’s not Morgan’s first venture into the sports world. The UNR alum, who got her law degree from UNLV, had a major oversight role of the sports betting industry during her time on the NGCB and also did a stint on the Nevada Athletic Commission in addition to her role as vice chair of the Las Vegas Super Bowl host committee.

Related: How a ‘boys club’ Raiders culture fueled turnover, lawsuits and harassment claims

“She’s so bright,” former NAC executive director Bob Bennett said. “She’s special. She’s such a quick study with the uncanny ability to take in the facts and make the right decision. She’s a leader who I was honored to work with on the Nevada State Athletic Commission and a winner in every sense of the word.”

It’s one thing to have praise heaped upon her by former colleagues, but those she was tasked with overseeing share similar opinions.

“She’s such a strong woman who brought a real business sense to the commission,” said Marc Ratner, the UFC’s vice president of regulatory affairs. “I really enjoyed meeting her and working with her. She brings with her some real credibility and a very strong tie to the community and the whole state of Nevada.”

It’s one of the things that Raiders owner Mark Davis noted about Morgan after announcing the hire on Thursday.

“You don’t hear a negative word about her and that’s hard to do because she was on the Gaming Control Board and she had to deal with every one of those (casinos) outside this stadium,” he said. “She was tough enough to do it, yet do it in a way that they thought they were best friends. I really think that’s an ability she has that’s unique.”

Derek Stevens owns three downtown casinos that fell under Morgan’s jurisdiction during her time with the NCGB. He raved about her leadership and fairness at the helm of the agency, particularly during a difficult time in the industry.

“It was a pleasure to work with Sandra Douglass Morgan during the pandemic and during the final year of construction for Circa,” he said. “I highly respect her and believe Mark made a great choice for president of the Raiders.”

Former NCGB chairman John Moran agrees.

He said the Raiders are “very lucky” to land Morgan, who he called a straight shooter. Moran believes she will be able to fix any perceived problems in the organization.

“She’s just fantastic, a bright lady, well prepared,” he said. “She does what is right and can fix anything they need. She is the type of person who will roll up her sleeves and dig right in.

“Aces up all the way. She’s going to be perfect.”

He won’t get any disagreement from former NFL player Don Morgan, the new team president’s husband.

Informed of the rave reviews his wife has drawn from so many who have crossed paths with her over the years, he was not surprised.

“She’s done things the right way,” he said. “She’s paid her dues. She’s been involved with our community and earned her great reputation. And this awesome opportunity. We were college sweethearts and just seeing her work her way through the industry, I’m just super proud of her.”

Review-Journal columnist Ed Graney and reporter Jim Barnes contributed to this report.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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