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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Farewell to Livengood

Rodney Haas / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Rodney Haas
Rodney Haas / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Former Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood said he never thought he would need a send-off.

But UA coaches, student-athletes and other athletic department administration said their goodbyes to Livengood Wednesday morning in the Jim Click Hall of Champions, thanking him for his 16-year tenure.

Livengood took the same position at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in December and was replaced by his former assistant, Kathleen “”Rocky”” LaRose on an interim basis on Dec. 17.

“”Financially, he’s a wizard and he’ll do the same in Vegas, as long as he stays away from the blackjack table,”” John Perrin, senior associate director of athletics, said in his speech.

The mood was lighthearted and LaRose led the gathering by opening the microphone to anyone who wished to speak. Livengood’s emotions ran high as he occasionally wiped away tears.

The ceremony, which lasted a little more than an hour, saw volleyball player Paige Weber, head softball coach Mike Candrea and head women’s basketball coach Niya Butts, among others, praise Livengood for always putting student-athletes first. Butts, in particular, thanked Livengood for hiring her to rebuild the women’s basketball team.

“”Not a lot of ADs in the country would have taken a chance on a 30-year-old, first-year coach,”” Butts said to the small crowd. “”I will do my very best to make you (Livengood) look like a very smart man.””

After a video montage of Livengood through the years, the new UNLV athletic director reminded his former staff to always stick together, have fun and fight through the tough economic times.

“”I’m getting a feeling now (at UNLV) how special this place is,”” he said. “”It will always be a great day to be a Wildcat.””

Livengood said he has looked at homes in the Las Vegas area but hasn’t had time to buy a house. He is currently living in a hotel.

He said the biggest challenge in Las Vegas parallels what he faced at Arizona.

“”The financial issues that exist here are the same ones that exist there, having to do what the state’s going through, the economy,”” Livengood said. “”That’s just part of it. Other than that, we just need to stay positive and keep working on it.””

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