Hawks Announce Multiple Promotions And Hires In Basketball Operations

Travis Schlenk Promoted to President of Basketball Operations and General Manager
Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

ATLANTA, GA -- The Atlanta Hawks today announced multiple promotions and hires within the Basketball Operations group, including the promotion of Travis Schlenk to President of Basketball Operations and General Manager.

In addition to Schlenk’s announcement, Atlanta has elevated Chelsea Lane to Vice President of Athletic Performance and Sports Medicine, Dan Martinez to Vice President of Team Operations, Derek Pierce to Vice President of Player Personnel, Dotun Akinwale Jr. to Director of Scouting, Mike McNeive to Director of Player Personnel, Daniel Starkman to Senior Manager of Basketball Operations, Nick Ressler to Manager of Basketball Operations, Paul Jesperson to Assistant Video Coordinator, Chris Mast to Data Scientist, Athletic Performance and Sports Medicine and Connor Smith to Assistant Athletic Trainer.

“We are extremely pleased with the direction that Travis and our entire basketball operations team has us heading as a franchise. He has used the draft to build an impressive young core, hired one of the NBA’s top young coaches in Lloyd Pierce and positioned us to have the cap space, draft picks and financial flexibility needed to have long-term success in the NBA,” Hawks Principal Owner Tony Ressler said.

Additionally, veteran NBA scout Stephen Giles has been hired as Pro Player Personnel Scout.

In his third season leading Hawks’ Basketball Operations, Schlenk is a veteran of nearly 20 years in the NBA. He joined the Hawks after 13 years with Golden State, including the final six as Assistant General Manager. During his time, the Warriors reached three consecutive NBA Finals, winning two Championships. He was previously with the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and University of Georgia. The Selden, KS native earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Management & Human Ecology from Bethel College and a Master of Education with an emphasis in Sports Administration from Wichita State University.

Lane, who was previously the team’s Executive Director of Athletic Performance and Sports Medicine, joined the Hawks last season from the Golden State Warriors, where she spent three years. The Australia native and University of Sydney graduate was previously with High Performance New Zealand, working with the country’s Olympic athletes.Martinez, in his 20th NBA season and third with the Hawks, came to Atlanta as the team’s Senior Director  of Team Operations following 17 seasons working in public relations with the Golden State Warriors. Prior to the Warriors, he spent four seasons working for the San Francisco Giants. Martinez is a graduate of University of California, Davis, and is a native of Petaluma, CA.

Pierce, who continues in his role as General Manager of the College Park Skyhawks, was previously Atlanta’s Pro Personnel Scout. Currently in his third year with the Hawks, he has also spent time with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Washington Wizards, Golden State Warriors and Indiana Pacers. A native of Traverse City, MI, Pierce has a Finance degree from Michigan State University and a Master of Sports Administration from Florida State University.

Akinwale Jr. is in his fifth season with the Hawks and was previously Manager of Scouting. He came to Atlanta from the Orlando Magic, where he was a Basketball Operations Coordinator. He played collegiately at Thiel College (PA), where he graduated with a degree in Business Administration. He’s a native of Germantown, MD.

A longtime member of the Hawks’ front office, McNeive was most recently the team’s Director of Basketball Operations. In his 26th NBA season and 17th in Atlanta, he has also served as an Assistant Coach and Director of Pro Personnel during his stint. McNeive has also spent time with the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle Sonics and Orlando Magic. He is a native of Freeport, IL.

Starkman began with the Hawks as a seasonal assistant in 2015 before being promoted to several different positions within basketball operations. He was most recently Manager of Basketball Operations. He is a graduate of the University of Florida, where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration, while also serving as a student manager for the men’s basketball team from 2011-15.

Ressler joined the Hawks prior to last season as Basketball Operations Coordinator after working as an Analyst with Tishman Speyer, a Commercial Real Estate firm in New York. He also has experience with WME/IMG, Wasserman and the NFL Network. Ressler majored in Finance, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

Jesperson, who spent last season with the Hawks as a seasonal Player Development Assistant, played collegiately at University of Virginia and University of Northern Iowa before playing professionally in the NBA G League (with Rio Grande) and in Spain. He’s originally from Merrill, WI.

Mast, previously the team’s Seasonal Assistant, Sports Science, joined the Hawks in 2017. He has prior experience with the Charlotte Hornets as a Basketball Analytics Intern. Mast earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Analytics from Georgia Tech. He is originally from Cleveland, OH.

Smith was an intern for the Hawks’ Athletic Performance Team last season. He’s also spent time with Sparta Science, Stanford University, the San Jose Sharks and Loyola Marymount University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training. Smith is also a Certified Athletic Trainer and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

Giles returns to the Hawks, where he spent 2008-11 as an Advance Scout. He has also spent time in scouting with the Warriors, Nuggets, Magic, Knicks and, most recently, Cavaliers. Giles is also a former college assistant coach, including stints with Marquette, Florida State and Georgia Southern. The Dunn, NC native is a graduate of University of North Carolina, and owns a Master’s Degree in Sport Management from Georgia Southern.

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