Director of Athletics
University of Nevada
Year seven of the Doug Knuth era of Nevada Wolf Pack athletics comes on the heels of high success in key sports, a number of facility upgrades, record high community engagement and attendance, and a continuity of head coaches that combines to form high hopes as the Wolf Pack enters the 2019-20 athletics season.
Knuth became Nevada’s eighth director of athletics in April of 2013. As special assistant to the president and director of athletics, he brings more than 25 years of professional experience and achievement in athletics administration.
In six previous seasons, Knuth has guided significant achievement in the department’s academic successes, investment in facilities and resources and led the department to multiple team championships as a member of the Mountain West Conference.
Among department highlights as the 2019-20 season begins: Nevada is coming off its third straight Mountain West championship in men’s basketball and the ushering in of a new era of Wolf Pack hoops with the hire of proven winner Steve Alford. The Pack also posted its best win total in its Mountain West football history in 2018 with eight wins and a victory in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. The Wolf Pack women’s basketball team is arcing upward, having reached the 2018 MW Championship game and playing in six conference tournament games overall in two years under Amanda Levens. And the Wolf Pack’s track and field/cross country programs have seen a spark, with four-time All-American multi-sport star Nicola Ader and the re-birth of the men’s cross country program in 2019.
Nevada retained every head coach from 2017-18 to 2018-19 and the continuity and consistency afforded by only one head coaching change in two years has positioned the Wolf Pack for growth across the board.
Recent facilities upgrades on campus include new fan-friendly video scoreboards at Hixson Park (softball) and Don Weir Field at Peccole Park (baseball), as well as a new outfield fence at Peccole. Phase two of the Lombardi Center renovation is underway and that will provide enhanced locker room facilities, not just for basketball programs, but for every Wolf Pack sport without a dedicated facility. Phase one was the construction of the new strength and conditioning complex and the featured Ramon Sessions Basketball Performance Center.
Nevada’s student-athletes continue to thrive and grow and there’s no greater evidence than the results in the classroom. The Wolf Pack has posted record numbers of graduates under Knuth’s tenure as the Wolf Pack’s scores in the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) and Academic Progress Report (APR) are at record highs. Nevada’s student-athletes have recorded 10 straight semesters of a cumulative 3.0 grade-point average of better. Last year, Nevada brought home the Mountain West Community Service Award for the second time in three seasons.
Knuth has overseen all of Nevada’s Mountain West championships to date, with all six coming from coaches hired by Knuth – baseball in 2015, swimming and diving in 2016, and three straight men’s basketball titles beginning in 2016-17. And Knuth’s second hire for the Nevada baseball team, T.J. Bruce, delivered another conference championship in the spring of 2018.
In early 2013, University President Marc Johnson selected Knuth following a national search that featured a pool of talented, diverse candidates. The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents and the regents approved his recommendation on March 14, 2013. Knuth received a three-year extension, on March 4, 2016, and a new five-year deal that went into effect in September of 2018.
“Doug Knuth has performed admirably during his tenure as the Wolf Pack’s director of intercollegiate athletics,” university president Marc Johnson said in September, 2018. “Under his leadership our student-athletes are making progress toward and achieving their degrees at record levels. Engagement with our community through Wolf Pack athletics has never been higher. And, on the playing field, our teams continue to perform at an exceptionally high level in the Mountain West Conference.”
Previous facilities accomplishments at Nevada include the $11.5 million renovation to 50-year-old Mackay Stadium in 2015-16. The initial piece of the project was completed in 2015 and the major phase was in place for the 2016 season — a new stadium club, loge seating and the addition of chairback seating in seven sections to increase the fan gameday experience. The launch of the Ramon Sessions Basketball Performance Center revitalized a former campus recreation center building. And the 2018 football season saw the opening of Jensen Plaza, a grand new entry point to Mackay Stadium.
Knuth has also brought on board new facilities for the tennis and track programs, with six new on-campus tennis courts at the McArthur Tennis Complex and a new throws facility developed on the eastern edge of campus, next to Hixson Park. And a sparkling new silver and blue track circles Chris Ault Field at Mackay Stadium. The projects came on the heels of new FieldTurf installation at Wolf Pack Park, locker room upgrades for women’s soccer, track and field, cross country, football and both basketball programs, as well as an enhanced indoor golf training center.
Prior to Nevada, Knuth spent the previous eight years at the University of Utah as the Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Relations. He led Utah to record fundraising in each of the last seven years. He led the Utes’ fundraising, marketing and ticketing efforts and oversaw the corporate partner program and athletics licensing/merchandising. He was also the primary liaison to University Development and Advancement. Knuth served as a member of Utah’s senior staff, participating in strategic planning, objectives and goals and policies and procedures in addition to administrative oversight over the sports of women’s basketball and men’s and women’s tennis.
He successfully launched a $150 million comprehensive athletics campaign and doubled the Utes’ annual fund in five years. Knuth also took a leadership role in the strategic planning process of Utah’s $1.2 billion university capital campaign. He is a member of the prestigious I-A Athletic Director’s Association Fellows Program, served on the NCAA Tennis Committee from 2007-10 and has held leadership roles in the National Association of Athletic Development Directors since 2010.
Prior to Utah, Knuth served as the assistant athletics director for development at Michigan State for five years and was responsible for the annual giving program. He also managed major gifts associated with the expansion of Spartan Stadium through suite and club seats sales.
He started his career in athletics administration and fundraising at the University of Connecticut and also spent time at the University of Massachusetts and Ohio University. Knuth earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Connecticut in 1994 where he was also a four-year letter winner and captain on the men’s tennis team.
He holds master’s degrees in sports administration and facility management from Ohio University (1998) and business administration from Northwood University (2002). A native of Fairfield, Conn., Knuth and his wife, Marci, married in 2019 and their family shares five children.