BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech athletics department announced today the hiring of Pete Moris as associate athletics director for strategic communications. Moris will officially join the Virginia Tech administrative staff on May 4.
“We’re excited to add Pete Moris to our team,” Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said. “Pete brings a wide array of experiences to our staff, having worked at both the collegiate and the NFL levels. I’m proud of the time and hard work put in by our search committee in identifying Pete to lead our strategic communications unit, and I welcome Pete and his family to Blacksburg.”
Moris comes to Tech from the University of Oklahoma, where he had been serving as the assistant athletics director for communications since 2012. He will oversee the athletics communications office at Tech, taking over the position that will be vacated by longtime Associate AD for Athletics Communications Dave Smith, who is retiring on June 1 after working 40 years in the Virginia Tech athletics department.
“I’m honored to join the Virginia Tech athletics team at a very exciting time,” Moris said. “Whit Babcock, Desiree Reed-Francois and their leadership team possess a great appreciation for the rich history of Virginia Tech athletics, while owning a very distinct vision for the future. Virginia Tech’s outstanding academic reputation and sustained athletic success, combined with the institution’s strong values and service-oriented culture were among the many factors that made this opportunity so appealing.
“Our family will be forever indebted to so many wonderful people at the University of Oklahoma who made our time there so fulfilling,” he continued. “We are excited to embrace this new challenge at Virginia Tech, and can’t wait to call Blacksburg our new home.”
At Oklahoma, Moris led a 20-member staff (including student assistants) and developed a strategic communications plan for the entire athletics department. He specifically oversaw public relations efforts for the Oklahoma football program. Other achievements at Oklahoma included integrating an NFL-style community relations PR approach, overseeing in-house media content to drive ticket sales and attendance and devising weekly organizational talking points for department leadership and staff to strengthen overall messaging.
In addition to working at Oklahoma, Moris also founded his own consulting company, Moris Media & Consulting, in 2011. His company provided expertise in media-related areas to a number of clients, including Nike, the University of Wisconsin and STATS, LLC.
Prior to taking his position at Oklahoma, Moris spent 17 years with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, working in the Chiefs’ public relations office. He started as an intern in 1994 and gradually worked his way into the role of associate director of public relations.
With the Chiefs, he worked in strategic communications, marketing, community outreach, brand development and social media. He worked extensively with national and local news agencies, as well as the NFL’s network television partners. He also played an active role at the community level, including development of marketing and media plans for the rebranding of “The New Arrowhead,” which capitalized on the stadium’s $375 million transformation in 2010.
During his time in Kansas City, Moris was also instrumental in the initial launch and ongoing evolution of kcchiefs.com, one of the NFL’s first team-operated websites. In addition, he was actively involved in the start-up of NFL Network as that platform began delivering content directly to fans from team facilities across the League.
At Virginia Tech, Moris will oversee an office that includes seven full-time staff members and two post-graduate interns. He will be responsible for football communications and media relations, and he will coordinate with the rest of the external leadership team to provide content that enhances website traffic, strategically drives marketing initiatives and promotes the Virginia Tech athletics brand.
“Pete has demonstrated leadership ability, extensive NFL and collegiate experience coupled with a drive to achieve excellence in telling the Virginia Tech Athletics story,” Tech Executive Associate AD Desiree Reed-Francois said. “He is a tireless worker and a respected industry leader. We are proud to have him lead our strategic communications team.”
Before joining the Chiefs, Moris began his career by working as a public relations intern with the Indianapolis Colts. From there, he moved into a position within the sports information office at the University of Florida. He spent a year in Gainesville, Florida, as a staff assistant before moving on to the Chiefs.
Moris is a native of Mt. Hope, Wisconsin and a 1993 graduate of Loras College, a Division III school in Dubuque, Iowa. While there, he played on the basketball team, and earned degrees in public relations and English writing.
TechSideline.com Editorial Note: Ordinarily, departmental hires like this don’t draw attention, but Dan Wolken of USA Today and Brett McMurphy of ESPN both chimed in:
And Pete’s got a sense of humor, too: