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Nevada Board of Regents gets out of coach-hiring business

The state’s higher education board has given Nevada’s college presidents more authority over the hiring of high-profile coaches.

The 13-member Board of Regents on Thursday voted unanimously to change a rule that gives the panel the power to hire candidates for top coaching vacancies, such as those for the UNLV football and basketball teams and any head athletic coach position offering $1.2 million in compensation.

Under revised rules, that job is now in the hands of college presidents, who will be held accountable for such hires when their jobs are evaluated. The rule also applies to UNR coaches.

Thursday’s vote stems from a proposal by board Chairman Rick Trachok, who told the Review-Journal in May that he hoped to put the onus on university presidents to ensure athletic departments are balanced. UNLV President Len Jessup lauded the suggestion, saying it would streamline the hiring process.

“I think this is a great step forward,” Trachok said after Thursday’s vote, which passed with little discussion.

The state’s hiring process for coaches was criticized earlier this year when UNLV hired Chris Beard, the Rebels’ short-lived basketball coach who left for Texas Tech 19 days after taking the job. Before then, the board’s hiring process dragged on for weeks after UNLV had already picked him for the job, drawing frustration from Beard.

After Beard left, UNLV moved quickly to hire Marvin Menzies, who was approved by the board in less than a week.

“We should give the authority to the presidents,” Regent Sam Lieberman said at Thursday’s meeting. “They pay the person, they supervise the person and they should be accountable for the person.”

Contact Ana Ley at aley@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5512. Find her on Twitter @la__ley.

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