Nevada Athletic Director Knuth Explains Challenges

April 7, 2016

Like most NCAA Division I athletic directors, Doug Knuth has a lot on his plate at the University of Nevada. Recently, he sat down with the Nevada Sagebrush and discussed several of his challenges in more detail.

As reported by the Sagebrush, one of Knuth's toughest jobs is ensuring that he keeps high-quality coaches around. This can be tricky, he admitted, because he doesn’t have the resources some Power 5 programs have:

“We all try to figure out how to keep our most talented people and keep them happy and keep them on staff as long as possible,” he said. “From a leadership and management perspective, the key is you have to figure out people and understand what motivates them and interests them. Is it money, or winning or is it quality of life? There’s all kinds of reasons people enjoy their jobs and work where they do, and that’s part of my job is to figure out what makes people tick.”

Knuth also talked about the inherent challenges that come with hiring new coaches, especially those who are not proven at the D-I level.

“It’s a role of the dice every time,” he said. “The key is to reduce the risk in hiring. You never get it 100 percent right, but the key is understanding who you are and what you stand for as an organization and then hiring people who fit that organization.”

Prior to coming to Nevada, Knuth worked at the University of Utah for several years. There, he was in charge of external relations for the athletic department. He shared how numerous factors, including timing, and existing infrastructure are required for fundraising to be a success.

“A lot of what we do in fundraising is driven by ticket sales…At Utah, my timing was probably pretty good but we had a lot of success in football. We put systems in place and put people in place in order to maximize revenue off of football’s success.

“A perfect example is [at Nevada], in 2010, Colin Kaepernick’s senior year. Nationally ranked. Beat Boise on ESPN, then playing in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. All those things happen and the next season Nevada sold just 200-400 new season tickets…because we didn’t have the right systems and people in place. We probably sold over a thousand season tickets last year and we went 4-8 the year before and 7-6 last year. That’s customer service and supporting our fans and creating a good atmosphere.”

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