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Tina Kunzer-Murphy, interim Athletic Director, UNLV
Administrators at UNLV recently announced the appointment of Tina Kunzer-Murphy as interim atheltic director. She joins a small but growing group of female athletic directors. Before that, she broke barriers by becoming the first woman to lead a major post-season football bowl game.
But she started out as a Las Vegas girl with a familiar dream.
“Actually, growing up here, I wanted to be a dancer. Both my parents were hotel people. My father was a butcher and my mother was a waitress. They were both hard working hotel people for all their lives,” says Kunzer-Murphy. She wanted to have a career on the Strip as a showgirl.
Alas, she says she didn’t fit into the “tall great-looking beautiful dancer” mode. So she started to explore her affinity for sports. She got into athletics at Southern Utah State College, but this was pre-Title IX and she didn't have access to scholarships.
Just as well, perhaps. “I always liked to play sports but I don’t believe I was ever very good at them.”
Kunzer-Murphy worked under Jerry Tarkanian, when, she says, the budgets that athletic departments enjoy today weren’t there.
“You walked into his office and he had a tin desk, he didn’t have the mahogany desk,” says Kunzer-Murphy. “I look back, it was fun, absolutely.”