About the University of Nevada, Reno

Founded in 1874 as Nevada’s historic land-grant university, the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) has consistently delivered on the promise of providing the citizens of Nevada with a better future through offering a truly unique campus experience that continues to build on its heritage of access to education. As one of eight institutions part of the Nevada System of Higher Education – two research universities, one state college, four community colleges and an environmental research institute – the University is recognized as a top National University by U.S. News & World Report, one of the country's top research institutions by the Carnegie Classification and a Carnegie Engaged University. Over the past decade, the University has continued to achieve institutional records in practically every metric associated with success, accomplished in large part due to the investment of $850 million into a leading-edge academic experience with exceptional faculty, student services and vibrant campus life that promotes its diverse students' cognitive growth and academic achievement. Located where the Sierra Nevada meets the high desert of the Great Basin and immediately adjacent to Reno’s vibrant and growing downtown region, UNR’s verdant 290-acre main campus, consisting of 180 buildings, 60 research facilities, 12 museums and galleries, 13 schools and colleges, offers something for all of its 20,000+ students and 7,000+ faculty. The record growth of the modern UNR, is in direct contrast to the first few decades of the University’s existence. Through its commitment to world-improving research, UNR provides outstanding learning, discovery, and engagement programs that serve the economic, social, environmental and cultural needs of the citizens of Nevada, the nation, and the world.

About UNR Athletics

The University of Nevada, Reno is a member of the Mountain West Conference sponsoring six men's sports teams and ten women's sports teams. As one of only two teams nationally to use the designation, the Nevada Wolf Pack is coming off of a record year of success ranging from 2022 NFL Draft Selections to NCAA post-season championship appearances in Women’s Cross Country, Men’s Tennis, and Women’s Golf, just to name a few. At UNR, student-athletes are powered by knowledge on and off the playing fields. From the classroom to the court, its teams are known for their discipline, rigor and achievement. The mission of the Athletic Department is to guide and support the transformation of its student-athletes – academically, athletically, and socially, by preparing them for a life of leadership and service. In continuing alignment with educational mission of the institution, members of the Wolf Pack strive each day to live the Nevada Way through continuing to strengthen the connection with members of the community to share a passion for the Pack.

Position Overview

Reporting directly to the President, the University of Nevada, Reno seeks a dynamic, entrepreneurial, and community driven individual to lead, manage, and advocate for the University's 16 NCAA, Division I Intercollegiate Athletics programs. The Director of Athletics is tasked with providing innovative and strategic leadership for the Athletics Department and working collaboratively with the President, as well as other senior administrators, to support the overall goals and objectives of the University. Additionally, the Director of Athletics will be responsible for establishing a strategic plan to ensure responsible fiscal management, commitment to academic and programmatic integrity and support, development, supervision, evaluation and retention of student-athletes, coaches, and staff. Candidates should possess a strong commitment and understanding of how to represent, direct, and position each program within the University, community, NCAA, and Mountain West Conference, through the establishment and development of positive and professional relationships with alumni, university personnel, community organizations, state affiliation, and corporate organizations.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop, communicate and implement a clear vision and strategic plan for athletics department success in fundraising, facilities development, and the recruitment, retention and promotion of student-athletes and athletics personnel while aligning with University goals and objectives.
  • Provide strategic leadership toward goals related to competitiveness, student academic achievement, student-athlete experience, compliance, financial management, and event attendance that reflect the mission and values of the University as a whole.
  • Demonstrate core competencies in the areas of leadership and vision, the development of a strategy to advance that vision, and the management and oversight of a complex organization that is operationally efficient and financially sound.
  • Support the University’s educational philosophy and the Athletics Department as a loyal, energetic, and highly visible University representative.
  • Possess high political acumen with the ability to navigate and manage the evolving landscape of collegiate athletics and the role it plays within higher education to include, but not limited to: new legislation, the monetization of sports/NIL, regulatory industries, state and federal mandates, digital media streaming and T.V. revenue, and the Wolf Pack fanbase – locally, nationally, and internationally. 
  • Develop and sustain a championship culture throughout the athletics department that empowers and propels coaches, student-athletes and staff as they compete for championships. 
  • Recruit, mentor, support, and supervise a diverse pool of strong, ethical, and talented coaches and staff to foster success.
  • Promote and exemplify an environment that fosters each student-athlete’s health and welfare, academic and athletic achievement, campus involvement, and overall growth and development, to maximize each student-athlete’s positive experience at the University of Nevada, Reno.
  • Ensure that the department operates in a manner that values diversity, equity, inclusion and well-being for student-athletes, coaches, and staff.
  • Lead with the highest standards of integrity in all athletic, academic and business matters, with steadfast commitment to gender equity and consistent progress toward an equitable department and culture.
  • Meet with donors and prospective donors and actively engage in on-going fundraising activities, as well as promote the athletics program, internally and externally, throughout the University community. 
  • Develop strategic marketing to increase visibility, exposure and season ticket sales for all sports.
  • Ensure budgetary and fiscal accountability of the athletics department in order to adhere to a balanced budget through enhancing revenue generation and monitoring spending.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with a diverse group of faculty, administrators, staff, student body, alumni, friends, booster clubs, and the local community regarding athletics at the University of Nevada, Reno. 
  • Provide full compliance with all applicable State, NCAA, Mountain West, Federal, and University rules and regulations.
  • Responsible for compliance with all of the regulations of Title IX related to Athletics in the administration of all intercollegiate athletic programs, policies, and procedures.
  • Participate actively in conference meetings and activities.


  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master's degree or other post-graduate degree in athletic administration, education, business, or related field preferred.
  • Eight to ten years of senior level athletics management experience in a higher education setting or the equivalent.
  • Strong track record with fiscal/financial planning, budgeting and reporting.
  • A proven record in fundraising and development.
  • Demonstrated commitment to academic integrity.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion including Title IX opportunities.
  • Successful recruitment, retention, and development of coaches, athletics administration, and staff.
  • Comprehensive understanding of intercollegiate athletics administration, student-athlete development, and NCAA compliance.
  • Demonstrated interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work effectively with a diverse range of stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain and develop relationships with executives, board members, student-athletes, sponsors, fans, donors, and the broader University community.
  • Demonstrated administrative competence, and a record of strong organizational, leadership, management, communication, and financial planning skills.
  • Experience as an NCAA, Division I athletic administrator is preferred.

Application Process

The University of Nevada, Reno invites nominations and applications or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the University. Applications must include a cover letter, resume or curriculum vitae, list of references, and brief statement (one page maximum) about how you would contribute toward UNR’s mission of creating a culturally inclusive environment as the Director of Athletics. For full consideration, application materials should be submitted to Parker Executive Search’s website by May 27, 2022. Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made.

For additional information, please contact:

Daniel Parker, Vice President and Managing Director

Grant Higgison, Principal

DeLaina Jordan, Senior Associate

Taylor Middleton, Associate

Parker Executive Search

danielparker@parkersearch.com | ghiggison@parkersearch.com | djordan@parkersearch.com  | tmiddleton@parkersearch.com

770-804-1996 ext. 118 | 770-804-1996 ext. 119 | 770-804-1996 ext. 124

NSHE is committed to providing a place of work and learning free of discrimination on the basis of a person’s age (40 or older), disability, whether actual or perceived by others (including service-connected disabilities), gender (including pregnancy related conditions), military status or military obligations, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin, race (including hair texture and protected hairstyles such as natural hairstyles, afros, bantu knots, curls, braids, locks and twists), color, or religion (protected classes).

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