Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood is in Las Vegas to interview for UNLV’s vacant AD position, several sources said Friday.
Livengood, 64, is believed to be a late entry into the search, but information has been scarce regarding the process because search committee members signed nondisclosure forms.
One source, speaking on condition of confidentiality, said Livengood had been offered the job and accepted. But UNLV president Neal Smatresk denied that, saying, “No one’s been made any offer, and I would certainly know, and I mean it quite sincerely.”
Calls to Livengood’s office and cell phone were not returned.
Livengood has been Arizona’s AD since January 1994 and in 2006 was named the Division I-A Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
The Wildcats’ program has been ranked in the top nine nationally six times under Livengood. Arizona won NCAA championships in men’s basketball (1997), softball (six times), women’s golf (1996 and 2000) and women’s swimming (2008).
Sources said UNLV interim athletic director Jerry Koloskie and South Point Arena general manager Steve Stallworth also are expected to interview this weekend. Koloskie and Stallworth declined comment.
Smatresk would not specify who was interviewing because he has been adamant about maintaining what he jokingly called “the illusion of confidentiality.”
“We may or may not go with any of them,” Smatresk said.
Whether Livengood interviewed Friday or early today was not known. Arizona’s football team plays at Southern California at 12:30 p.m., and Livengood was expected to attend the game, Arizona athletic spokesman Tom Duddleston said. Duddleston said Livengood was not aboard the team’s chartered flight to Los Angeles on Friday.
It would be natural for UNLV fans to wonder why a sitting AD with nearly 16 years overseeing a successful Pacific-10 Conference program would leave for a school in a lower-profile, non-Bowl Championship Series conference such as the Mountain West.
Indeed, Livengood’s job status has been a hot topic in Tucson, mainly because his contract expires June 30 and he has not received an extension. His base salary is $280,000.
It’s not known why an extension hasn’t been offered. There have been no published reports of discord between Livengood and the school administration or unhappiness among prominent boosters. But it seems apparent the parties are ready to part company.
Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen wrote in a blog Friday that Livengood appeared as good as gone, stating, “Livengood beats the posse out of town and gets to start anew at a school in desperate need for what he does best: balance a budget.”
Balancing budgets has been one of Livengood’s strengths. He has kept the athletic program in the black throughout his tenure despite the fact it does not receive state funds. Arizona’s total athletic budget is $43 million; UNLV’s is $24 million.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or 702-387-2914.