Stadium's Jeff Goodman and Brett McMurphy ranked the 12 best athletic directors in the Group of 5 based solely on their football and men's basketball hirings, and Nevada's Doug Knuth made the list.
Knuth was ranked 11th, and was one of the three Mountain West athletic directors to make the cut, including Utah State's John Hartwell, who was fourth, and Hawaii's David Matlin, who was 12th (the Rainbow Warriors are a football-only MW school).
Stadium's rankings were a limited look at the job done by athletic directors.
"These grades are based on the success of the (football and men's basketball) coaches hired, difficulty of opponents in their respective conferences, bowl appearances, NCAA Tournament trips, conference titles and national championships won," Stadium wrote. "The grades do not take into consideration any fundraising or building of facilities by the athletic directors. Also, each athletic director gets credit for a coach’s hiring at each school — even after the AD moves on to another university and the coach remains at the original school."
Knuth has made three hires in football and men's basketball since joining Nevada in April 2013. He hired Eric Musselman (to replace David Carter) and Steve Alford in basketball and Jay Norvell (to replace Brian Polian) in football. Musselman went 110-34 with four conference championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances in four seasons. Alford went 19-12 in his first year with the Wolf Pack. Norvell is 18-20 in three seasons, including two bowl berths.
Knuth's men's basketball coaching hires earned an "A-" while his football hire earned a "B-," per the Stadium rankings.
"Doug Knuth came on board in 2013 after eight years as a senior associate AD for external relations at Utah," Stadium wrote. "He hit a home run with the hiring of Eric Musselman, who was 110-34 and went to three NCAA Tournaments in his four seasons in Reno before leaving for Arkansas a year ago. Knuth then hired former UCLA head coach Steve Alford to take over for Musselman, and Alford was 19-12 this past season. On the football side, Knuth hired veteran assistant Jay Norvell to replace Brian Polian. Norvell struggled in his first season, but is 15-11 with a pair of bowl appearances in the last two seasons."