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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Livengood to UNLV; LaRose named interim athletic director

    Associate Athletic Director Kathleen “”Rocky”” LaRose was named the interim replacement for UA Athletic Director Jim Livengood on Thursday after Livengood was officially announced as the AD of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

    “”My experience in 16 years at the University of Arizona has been nothing short of phenomenal, both professionally and personally,”” Livengood said in a press release. “”To complete a period like this, with so many high points and other dramatically difficult moments, is truly satisfying.

    “”I’m proud to have been a Wildcat,”” he added. “”The hard part will be the separation between me and the hundreds of people with whom I have worked so closely at the University of Arizona.””

    Arizona President Robert Shelton announced LaRose’s interim position at a 3:30 p.m. press conference outside the university’s administration building Thursday. Earlier in the day, Shelton met with athletic department leaders and head coaches.

    “”(At the meeting) we talked about the next stage and going forward,”” Shelton said. “”Rocky is highly regarded by all the coaches, by the athletic department and indeed by the whole university. Rocky will be stepping in, I assume, in the middle of next month as soon as Jim’s departure date is fixed.””

    Livengood, 64, who has served the UA for 16 years for three presidents — Manuel Pacheco from 1994-97, Peter Likins from 1997-2006 and Shelton from 2006 until present — did not receive a contract renewal from Shelton this year.

    His UA contract will expire on June 30.

    “”Jim and I had a number of conversations starting last spring about a contract renewal,”” Shelton said, adding that there was not one reason why Livengood and the university decided to part ways. “”We decided this was the time to make a break, this was a time to make a change.””

    Shelton did not name any potential suitors for the athletic director position but did say he would begin an immediate search to find a permanent replacement.

    “”We need to get going right away. It’s more important to find the right person than to go quickly, so we’ll go quickly and find the right person,”” he said.

    Among the list of skills a new hire would require, Shelton said they would need to be fiscally competent, able to recruit top-notch coaches and also able to handle graduating student athletes, all while “”valuing the ethics of (the) institution.”” He added that a hire could come from within the UA athletic department but he will also conduct a national search.

    Meanwhile, LaRose, 52, will be challenged with creating continuity between the Livengood era and his permanent successor, a position she said was both humbling and exciting.

    “”I’m very grateful to President Shelton for showing confidence in me, and I am looking forward to this challenge,”” said LaRose, who has been at Arizona for 31 years and has worked her way up the ladder from softball coach in 1979 to associate athletic director.

    LaRose said she saw her position not as a fill-in role but rather as a “”caretaking”” one.

    She denied that it would play as her own audition for a future job and said she looks to seek continuity in the athletic department, especially regarding Livengood’s Vision Arizona plan, the university’s Master Plan to improve the athletics facilities, starting with Arizona Stadium’s north end zone.

    “”We’re going to keep moving,”” LaRose said. “”We can’t risk taking steps backwards.

    “”I’m tremendously honored to be the connection between the past and the future,”” she added. “”(Livengood and myself have) been working together as a team. … We know what the initiatives are. Obviously, Vision Arizona, the Master Plan, the north end zone are our future — we need to continue that momentum.””

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