JIM LIVENGOOD RETIRING AS UNLV ATHLETICS DIRECTOR
UNLV President Neal Smatresk today announced the retirement of UNLV Athletics Director Jim Livengood, effective June 30.
“It is with deep regret that I announce Jim Livengood is retiring,” Smatresk said. “Jim has been a wonderful athletics director. He has dramatically increased private support and helped restore UNLV Athletics as a national brand. UNLV and Rebel fans will miss him. I wish him luck and an enjoyable retirement with his family, friends, and grandchildren.”
The retirement concludes a run of 28 consecutive years as an athletics director for Livengood at four different institutions — UNLV, Arizona, Washington State, and Southern Illinois. He is a past chair of the NCAA Division-I Men’s Basketball Selection Committee and was named the 2006 Division I-A Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
“With the academic year coming to an end, it’s the time of year in this profession when you need to make these types of decisions about either going forward full-speed or making a change,” said Livengood, 68. “This has been something I have been contemplating for the past year. It’s time I step aside and allow someone else to take the lead with the Rebels and keep moving forward. I’ve enjoyed my time in Las Vegas and I care deeply about UNLV, but it’s the time in my life where my focus needs to be on my wife, kids, and grandkids. I’ve been blessed to be an athletics director for nearly three decades. You can’t ask for much more than that in a career. And I’m proud to end my AD career as a Rebel.”
Livengood was named UNLV’s director of athletics Dec. 17, 2009. During his tenure, Livengood led the construction of the Mendenhall Center, the state-of-the-art basketball practice facility that opened in January 2012. Livengood also selected Dave Rice as head coach of the Runnin’ Rebels men’s basketball team in 2011. In his first two seasons, Rice led the team to a total of 51 wins (a program record for a coach after two seasons) and two NCAA Tournaments as well as saw the largest crowds fill the Thomas & Mack Center for UNLV basketball games since 1991. Livengood also oversaw the hiring of new coaches in football, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s golf, women’s volleyball, and cross country.
During his three and a half years at UNLV, Livengood also will be remembered for playing a crucial role protecting and growing the Mountain West Conference.
“Jim Livengood’s contributions to intercollegiate athletics and most recently the Mountain West will be remembered forever,” said Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson. “During his tenure at UNLV, no conversation ended or a decision was made until we heard his opinion. He is a tremendous voice and friend in all aspects.”
Under Livengood’s leadership, UNLV student-athlete graduation rates have improved. As of fall 2012, 12 teams achieved a cumulative team GPA of 3.0 or higher and in the past year the Mountain West Conference recognized 126 Rebels for academic achievement.
Livengood also was an effective fundraiser and made increasing UNLV’s exposure locally and nationally a priority. Under his leadership, Rebel Athletics tripled its private fundraising revenue.
Prior to his UNLV post, Livengood was director of athletics at the University of Arizona for 16 years. He was also director of athletics at Washington State University (1987- 93), director of athletics at Southern Illinois University (1985-87), associate director of athletics, development and public relations at Washington State University (1980-85), and held several high school coaching positions (1969-1980).
Livengood and his wife, Linda, have two grown children and four grandchildren.