UNLV interviews ex-Lady Rebel Olivier

Kathy Olivier, a former UNLV women’s basketball star who went on to a long and successful career as UCLA’s coach, interviewed Thursday for the Lady Rebels’ vacant head post.

Olivier coached the Bruins the past 15 seasons, going 232-208 with four NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 1999. She resigned, after going 16-15 this season, to move into administration.

The former Kathy Ricks was an honorable mention All-American at UNLV in the 1979-80 season.

An attempt to reach her for comment Thursday was unsuccessful. She said in an earlier interview she was loyal to UCLA but returning to UNLV would be tempting.

“This is the one job and city I would look at,” Olivier said March 30. “It makes sense. Vegas was very good to me, and I learned a lot and became the person I am because of Las Vegas.”

UNLV athletic director Mike Hamrick wouldn’t comment on specific candidates.

“Our candidates are outstanding, and each and every one comes with tremendous credentials and background,” Hamrick said. “Some are outstanding head coaches.”

A source familiar with the search, who requested anonymity, said four of the six finalists are head coaches, one is a former head coach who is an assistant, and the other is a top assistant for one of this year’s Final Four teams.

The source said Olivier was the first person interviewed on campus.

“I think she’s an outstanding coach,” said Dan Ayala, who coached Olivier at UNLV. “She’s a great recruiter in a very tough conference (Pacific-10).

“She’s got an outstanding reputation in the community. I think her strength would be working with the local coaches. There are plenty of players in the community to give her a good nucleus each year.”

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at or 702-387-2914.


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