Influential Las Vegas sports and entertainment executive Dennis Finfrock died Saturday at 62 after a lengthy struggle with Parkinson’s disease.

Finfrock was the first executive director of the Thomas & Mack Center at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and began his career at UNLV as head coach of the wrestling program. He later was named assistant athletic director and then was tabbed to run the new Thomas & Mack Center.

The arena quickly became one of the top-grossing buildings of its size in the country. Finfrock was also instrumental in making UNLV’s football stadium, the Silver Bowl, profitable through capital investments and by adding a wide range of concerts and other events to its schedule. During his nine years as executive director, Finfrock was also a key player in moving the National Finals Rodeo from Oklahoma to Vegas, where it remains today.

Finfrock moved over to the new MGM Garden Arena in 1992, where he was VP of special events at the MGM Grand Hotel. Finfrock helped put the MGM Arena on the sports and concert touring map during the era, signing Mike Tyson to a multi-fight deal as Tyson rose to the top of the heavyweight boxing ranks, and hosting some of the top-grossing concerts ever at the arena.

Over the course of his career Finfrock mentored many live entertainment executives, including Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events; Mark Prows, VP of MGM Grand Garden Arena; Steve Stallworth, VP of the South Point Hotel & Casino; Chris Baldizan, VP of entertainment at Mandalay Bay Aren and Daren Libonati, current executive director of the Thomas & Mack Center.

“Dennis believed in people,” says Libonati in a prepared statement. “He was a confident man who always had the big picture in front of him. I'm so grateful for all the experiences and memories we shared together.”

Finfrock was a prominent member of the International Association of Assembly Managers (IAAM) on both the district and the national level. He served as IAAM President in 1996-97. His son Jason Finfrock, is associate marketing director of the Thomas & Mack Center.

Dennis Finfrock gifted his body to the Medical Education & Research Institute of Nevada for research. At his request, no funeral services will be held. The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, any donations be made in his name to MERIN. Address information is available below.

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