"We play for Vegas," was the promotional slogan that was come up with for the 2016-17 UNLV men's basketball season. It could have just as easily been, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Sitting UNLV Athletic Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy has made herself the most unpopular Rebel administrator post Robert Maxson, and it has everything to do with the way she botched former UNLV head coach Dave Rice's firing and the subsequent hiring process. Due to her very public follies, UNLV went out and had its worst ever season under new coach Marvin Menzies.
It was reported that Kunzer-Murphy would be staying on until June 2017, and that a search committee would be brought in to find her successor. Barely any information has leaked out regarding potential successors, but Inside the Rebels has learned that a familiar face could very well be the next Rebel AD. Mark Warkentien, who is currently the New York Knicks Pro Personnel Director, was Interim GM for the Cavaliers, was Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Denver Nuggets and was also an assistant under Jerry Tarkanian has emerged as a viable candidate for the job.
Sources close to the situation have indicated that Warkentien (Who was the NBA Executive of the Year in 2008-09) is willing to come in at an affordable price and he has allied himself with such names as Jim Livengood, Bob Miller and Tim Grgurich. Apparently his top priorities are to usher UNLV into a P5 conference, return the Runnin' Rebels to glory and to focus in on fundraising.
Right now UNLV is on the cusp of riding the Raiders' coattails into a state-of-the-art NFL stadium. Rebel football coach Tony Sanchez will also be breaking ground on the game changing Fertitta Football Complex soon. UNLV needs an AD who not only knows Vegas, but has ties to its illustrious past in order to get where they need to be; Power Five. Mark Warkentien checks those boxes. His business savvy with the NBA is the kind of thing UNLV needs, and needs badly.