Mark was born on April 16, 1953 to Gerald Paul and Nancy Belle Warkentien (Yarger) in Huntington. Although Hoosiers at heart, Mark and his family moved to Riverside, California in the mid-sixties, where he graduated from Romona High School in 1971 (later he was inducted into their sports hall-of-fame). Mark went on to graduate with a degree in Physical Education, Teaching and Coaching from Cal State Fullerton in 1976. He returned to school at the age of 60 to complete his master’s degree in Sports Leadership through the Sports Management World Wide (SMWW) program at Concordia University of Chicago.
Mark’s first coaching gig came when legendary Coach Bill Muligan hired him as an assistant coach for the UC Irvine Anteaters. During the 1980-81 season, the Anteaters had their first-ever winning record in men’s basketball. Following that success, hall-of-fame Coach Jerry Tarkanian offered Mark the opportunity to join arguably the most dominant college basketball program of the 1980s and early 1990s, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. Mark had an eye for talent, and landed many top recruits for the program. His best recruit coming out of Las Vegas though was his wife Maureen “Moe” Warkentien (Trivisonno). Mark and Moe were married in 1985, and went on to have their daughters, Kreigh Dannette and Aubrie Jane. His second biggest accomplishment of the time was when the Runnin’ Rebels won the National Championship in 1990. Following his college coaching career, he worked as NBA executive for almost 30 years, most notably, in 2009, he was named NBA Executive of the Year.
Mark had many accomplishments in his life, but he loved nothing more than to talk basketball with young up and comers, or to be honest, anyone who would listen. He was known as “Mookie” to his family, “Steiny” to his closest friends, and “Wark” by the basketball community. Whatever you knew him as, you always knew he had your back. Mark was preceded in death by his mother, Nancy, and father, Paul, and his grandmother “Minnie” (who was probably one of his favorite people in the world). He is survived by his wife, Moe, and his two daughters, Kreigh and Aubrie, his brothers, David (Laly) Warkentien and John Warkentien, his sister, Jane (John) Dodd, and many aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces.
Mark always wanted to help others get better. He had a brilliant mind, curious spirit, and quick whit about him. In true Steiny fashion, we will end this obituary with one of his favorite quotes, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt. Mark cared about all those he came in contact with and helped many in their careers. In his spirit, please continue to care, and be the type of helper he was best known to be.
Services will be postponed until April 16, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada where a celebration of life will be held for what would have been his 70th birthday. More details to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation or any college basketball program you feel strongly about.