Late last night, the Golden State Warriors announced that they have named Rick Welts as the new team president and COO, following a nine-year stint with the Phoenix Suns that included the last two years as team president and CEO.
During his time witht the Suns, the team enjoyed five seasons with over 50 wins, along with an appearance in the Western Conference Finals in 2005, 2006 and 2010. Welts was responsible for supervising all business operations for the team and overseeing the management of the US Airways Center and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, who won the league championship in 2007 and 2009.
Welts brings to the Warriors both leadership qualities and a vast amount of experience gained from his 36 years in the NBA.
“Peter Guber and I have made it quite clear since we assumed control of this team in November that we’re looking to build a world class organization from top to bottom,” said Joe Lacob, co-managing partner of the team. “We feel that we’ve taken a quantum leap in that direction today with the addition of Rick Welts as our President and COO. Rick is simply one of the most highly-regarded executives in the NBA and his accomplishments at both the team and league levels are extremely impressive. He’s been an integral part of every organization that he’s worked for in the NBA, including the league office in New York, where he earned the respect and admiration of David Stern, as well as with the SuperSonics in Seattle and the Suns in Phoenix. His track record in all facets of the business – sponsorship, marketing, public relations, event management, team services, merchandising – and his ability to be strategically creative and cutting-edge make him the ideal candidate to lead our organization. Quite honestly, I’m convinced that we could not have found a better candidate for the job.”
Welts also spent 17 years in the NBA league office as Executive Vice President, President of NBA Properties and Chief Marketing Officer.
“We feel extremely fortunate to add an individual as talented as Rick Welts to our organization,” said Guber. “He provides all of the intricate qualities that a company searches for in a President – leadership, respect, experience, creativity and, of course, passion. His NBA background has been established, in part, as the result of tremendous vision and the ability to implement new and intriguing ideas in all forms of the business. I can unequivocally say that our organization is much better today than it was yesterday with the addition of Rick Welts.”
Beginning his NBA career in 1969, Welts got his start as a ball boy for the Seattle SuperSonics, spending 10 years with the team and working his way up to Director of Public Relations. After leaving in 1979, he would spend three years as a sports marketer in the Seattle area, including one yera as President of Fox Sports Enterprises from 1999-2000.
“It’s hard to express how excited I am to embrace this opportunity and be part of a collective group in building the Warriors into a championship caliber organization,” said Welts. “I’ve been most impressed with Joe Lacob and Peter Guber’s vision and desire to do something great. Not good, but great. Many of the ingredients are here – the Warriors’ rich history, the team’s amazing fan support and the strength of the Bay Area as a sports market. We have a lot of work to do and I can’t wait to get started.”