Welts to Continue as Suns President and Chief Operating Officer
Suns President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts will remain in his position with the team through the 2008-09 season, as announced today by Suns Chairman Jerry Colangelo and Manager Partner Robert Sarver. Welts joined the Suns in July 2002, and is currently in his fourth season with the team.
In making the announcement Sarver said, “We are as proud of our business organization as we are of our basketball organization and today’s announcement means that Rick will be leading our ‘off the court’ team through 2009.”
“Our goal for the Suns is to have the best possible people in place in every part of our organization, and Rick’s reputation as one of the industry’s top talents speaks for itself,” Sarver said.
Welts commented, “Jerry recruited me to the Suns, and I’m honored and appreciative that he, Robert Sarver, and his partners have expressed confidence in me to lead our terrific staff going forward.”
Welts’ NBA career started in 1969 as a ballboy for the Seattle SuperSonics and he was the team’s director of public relations when the Sonics won their lone championship in 1979.
He joined the NBA league office in New York City in 1982, and when he departed in 1999, he was serving as the league’s executive vice president, chief marketing officer and president of NBA Properties. Welts is credited with the creation of the NBA All-Star Weekend concept in 1984. He was in charge of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics “Dream Team” marketing program as agent for USA Basketball. In 1998, Brandweek magazine named Welts “Marketer of the Year,” for his role in creating and launching the WNBA together with WNBA President Val Ackerman.
In addition to his Suns responsibilities, Welts oversees the club’s interests in the Phoenix Mercury (WNBA), the Phoenix Roadrunners (ECHL), and US Airways Center.