SBD/September 28, 2011/Franchises

Rick Welts The Final Component To Warriors' Managerial Overhaul

Welts will have similar duties with the Warriors as he had with the Suns
Newly hired Rick Welts "comes to the Warriors as the final key piece to their managerial makeover," according to Marcus Thompson II of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Welts is "essentially filling the same position with the Warriors that he had with the Suns," serving as the team's President & COO. As the "replacement for former president Robert Rowell, he will oversee the business side of the Warriors." Team co-Owner Joe Lacob said, "He's a superstar. Seriously. One of the very best." After the Warriors and Rowell "mutually decided to part ways in June, Lacob said he identified a few available candidates and was into the process of interviewing them" until he got a call from Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver to "tell him that Welts was resigning and moving to Northern California." Sarver suggested that the Warriors "make a run at Welts." Lacob: "A good president could take a year to find. Finding a great leader is extremely hard, because the great ones are usually employed. So we were very fortunate." Welts "was expecting to take some time off after leaving the Suns on Sept. 9" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/28). Lacob yesterday said, "I want the best executive possible. All I care about -- all we care about -- is winning. That's it. This guy is simply the single best executive we could have possibly hired" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 9/28). Welts has promised that he "will not get involved in roster decisions as Rowell had done before him, but the basketball and business operations will be integrated" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/28).

POTENTIAL IMPACT: In Oakland, Monte Poole writes, "Hiring Welts won't win a single game for the Warriors, but it's an impressive and intriguing move -- and another landmark victory for the new owners of the franchise." Poole adds that the openly gay Welts was welcomed by Lacob and co-Owner Peter Guber, both of whom "surely realize the potential benefits of having Welts in the socially conscious Bay Area, provides the latest peek at their goals for the long-slumbering organization" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 9/28). CSNBAYAREA.com's Ray Ratto wrote, "Welts is far less important than, say, David Lee. But he is more important than many others, if in fact he will be given real responsibilities that help impact the day-to-day running of the franchise. Put another way, he will be as important as Lacob allows him to be, and he will be as successful as his personality and the on-floor product will permit." Ratto: "What he will be remains to be seen. And the sooner he is viewed in a Warriors context rather than a gay executive context, the better we suspect he will like it" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 9/27).

PROFESSIONAL LIFE, NOT PERSONAL LIFE: Welts appeared on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's "Chronicle Live" last night to discuss his new job, and co-host Greg Papa asked whether Welts' sexual orientation was discussed during the interview process with the Warriors. Welts said, “Not once. Never brought it up. ... They're just looking for people to build a world-class organization and felt that I was somebody that could actually help them achieve that goal and that’s all they cared about” (“Chronicle Live,” Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 9/27). In S.F., Scott Ostler writes under the header "In Bay Area, Warriors' Hire Of Gay Man Is Big Yawn." Ostler: "The part about Welts being an openly gay exec in a manly-man's manly sport is interesting and noteworthy, but is it big news? Only in that it's not big news" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/28).
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