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UNLV to promote interim AD to athletic director

Updated January 2, 2022 - 6:54 pm

UNLV is removing athletic director Erick Harper’s interim title, making him the permanent successor to Desiree Reed-Francois, sources with knowledge of the situation said Sunday afternoon.

Harper was offered the job last week and athletic staff was told Sunday that a formal announcement would be imminent, sources said.

University president Keith E. Whitfield is expected to make the announcement official this week.

Harper becomes the 15th athletic director in UNLV history, succeeding Reed-Francois, who departed in August for the same position at Missouri. He was named the interim athletic director on Aug. 13, having worked 31 years in athletic administration, including the last nine at UNLV.

He was selected from what one source said was a “really competitive pool” of candidates.

“Sitting in this chair, you have an opportunity to impact the lives of student-athletes,” Harper told the Review-Journal in October. “I know that sounds like a cliche, but somebody did it for me so I want to pay it forward. I think I have an opportunity to influence some of the next leaders of our country.”

Harper started at UNLV in 2012 and had previously worked with the Rebel Athletic Fund. He was also the sport administrator for football and women’s golf, and was previously an athletic administrator at Arizona, where he worked from 2003 to 2011 as the associate athletic director for football operations.

He began his career in athletic administration at his alma mater, Kansas State, where he worked from 1990 to 2003 in a variety of roles, including development, marketing and compliance.

Harper was also a starting defensive back on Kansas State’s football team, for which he played from 1986 to 1989 — earning letters in all four years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1992 and has since added a master’s in organizational management and leadership from Ashford University.

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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