Kunzer-Murphy will transition to position with UNLV Foundation beginning July 1, 2017
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tina Kunzer-Murphy has agreed to a six-month contract extension and will continue to lead the department until the conclusion of the 2016-17 Academic Year in June. Kunzer-Murphy will then transition to a new position, focused primarily on fundraising, with the UNLV Foundation beginning July 1, 2017. Her original contract expires in December 2016.
The announcement was made Monday by Kunzer-Murphy and UNLV President Dr. Len Jessup.
“I was asked by President Jessup to continue serving as Director of Athletics until the conclusion of the 2016-17 academic year and appreciate having the opportunity to do so,” Kunzer-Murphy said. “I am fortunate and grateful to work with such an outstanding team of coaches, administrators and support personnel – all dedicated to serving our student-athletes and the wider university community. While we have accomplished a great deal together, there are exciting challenges ahead and I look forward to what we will achieve during the remainder of this academic year.
“I moved into this position in 2013 on an interim basis to help serve the University that I love so much. By the time I finish my work as AD in June, I will have had the pleasure of leading my alma mater’s Athletics Department for four wonderful years. I was here both during challenging times and thrilling milestones for the Rebels and am proud of our accomplishments on and off the field.”
“Tina’s unwavering commitment to UNLV, our athletics program, and our student athletes is simply unmatched,” said UNLV President Len Jessup. “Under her leadership as athletics director, our programs have been successful in competition, in the classroom, and in the community. As the first alum to lead UNLV Athletics, Tina has been and remains a stalwart ambassador for our university and we look forward to her continued service.”
A lifelong Las Vegas resident who earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UNLV, Kunzer-Murphy has been leading the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics since July 1, 2013. Among the many accomplishments the department has experienced during her tenure as AD are:
• Significant improvements in academic performance, with all 17 sports now eligible for postseason competition; a marked improvement in the APR and grade point average for UNLV football; six programs (men’s golf, women’s golf, men’s basketball, women’s soccer, women’s tennis and volleyball) earning perfect APR scores of 1,000 for the most recent academic reporting year; and a Federal Graduation Rate that is 20 percentage points higher than the general student population at UNLV;
• Record-breaking fundraising, including the largest single gift in the history of UNLV Athletics – a $10 million pledge from the Fertitta Family to lead construction of the Fertitta Football Complex. That closely followed the announcement of the largest gift — $2 million by a donor who wished to remain anonymous – ever pledged specifically for Rebel Football;
• Fundraising for, and construction of, the Anthony and Lindy Marnell III Baseball Clubhouse. The $3.75 million, state-of-the-art facility will enable UNLV Baseball to consistently challenge for championships in the Mountain West and beyond;
• The establishment and formal recognition of the Runnin’ Rebels Club and Rebel Soccer Foundation, which provide critical financial and operational support for UNLV men’s basketball and men’s soccer, respectively;
• Further facility upgrades for men’s and women’s tennis, women’s soccer, men’s golf and academic advising;
• Careful management of financial resources, resulting in year-end surpluses in back-to-back fiscal years (FY 2015 and 2016);
• No major NCAA or Mountain West infractions;
• The appointment of new head coaches in football, men’s basketball, baseball, women’s soccer and men’s and women’s swimming;
• Four Mountain West team championships in 2015-16 – men’s golf, women’s golf, men’s tennis and women’s tennis – the most in a single year since 2007-08;
• Claiming the Governor’s Series trophy in the annual athletic and academic competition with the University of Nevada, Reno every year since its inception;
• An emphasis on building strong partnerships with campus entities such as the Consolidated Students of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (CSUN) and the Graduate & Professional Student Association (GPSA); and, greater collaboration with community leaders and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), which has led to a series of football games with Historically Black Colleges and Universities;
• A renewed commitment to community service throughout the Las Vegas Valley, which led to more than 9,000 hours of volunteer service by UNLV student-athletes, coaches and administrators in 2015-16 – an increase of more than 600 percent from the previous year;
• Streamlining of administrative operations, which has led to more than $200,000 in annual savings and one of the most diverse leadership teams in NCAA Division I Athletics (two women and two African-Americans among the five senior positions within UNLV Athletics).
Kunzer-Murphy’s emphasis on upgrading UNLV Football included making a national splash in December of 2014 when she hired Tony Sanchez as head coach. Sanchez has brought unprecedented positive national coverage to the Rebels as the program has enjoyed upgrades on and off the field, including signing arguably the best recruiting class in school history in February.
Kunzer-Murphy has been a fixture in the Southern Nevada sports community for more than four decades. A graduate of Valley High School, Kunzer-Murphy first attended Southern Utah, where she lettered in swimming, before transferring to UNLV to compete in both tennis and volleyball at her hometown university. She earned her bachelor’s degree in physical education from the school in 1975.
Soon after earning her master’s in education in 1977, she was hired as head coach of the UNLV women’s tennis team as well as director of its cheerleading program. When the school dropped tennis for financial reasons in the early 1980s, she was thrust into a management role under then-athletics director Brad Rothermel, and eventually worked with the football and basketball programs, among others, during the department’s wildly successful run through the PCAA/Big West Conference. Named UNLV’s Senior Women’s Administrator in 1981, Kunzer-Murphy oversaw the entire Lady Rebel athletic program, as well as various support groups such as the Rebel Football Foundation, the Rebel Golf Foundation and the Women’s Sports Foundation, which she helped create.
During more than three decades of service in intercollegiate athletics, Kunzer-Murphy has held various positions of leadership with UNLV, University of the Pacific, the Western Athletic Conference, ESPN Regional Television and the Las Vegas Bowl, for which she served as Executive Director from 2002-12. During her tenure as Executive Director, the bowl game enjoyed six consecutive sellouts from 2006-11, record-high TV ratings and team payouts en route to elevating itself into the national college football landscape.
A 2007 inductee of the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame, Kunzer-Murphy in 2010 became the first woman to serve as Chairman of the Football Bowl Association. In summer 2011 she was honored as Las Vegas’ Sportsperson of the Year. Kunzer-Murphy returned to work for her alma mater in January of 2013 when she was named Director of Sponsorships and Development for the UNLV Alumni Association.