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Stewart named Director of Athletics

Todd Stewart, a member of WKU’s senior athletic staff for the last four years and 25-year veteran of collegiate and professional sports, has been named WKU’s Director of Athletics after serving in the role on an interim basis since March 22, the university announced Wednesday night.

Todd Stewart

Stewart will be introduced to the public and the media at a press conference at 10 a.m. Thursday (May 10) in the Topper Club at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. WKU President Dr. Gary Ransdell will also be available for comment at the press conference.

Stewart brings a wide range of experience on many different levels to the role, including nearly two years as WKU’s Senior Associate Athletic Director, over two years as WKU’s Associate Athletic Director for Communications and Media Relations, more than three years as Associate Commissioner for Communications at the Sun Belt Conference and 15 years of communications and media relations experience with two franchises in the National Football League.

After nearly two years as WKU’s Senior Associate Athletic Director, Stewart was named Interim Director of Athletics on March 22 after the departure of Ross Bjork to Ole Miss. He was immediately responsible for the day-to-day operation of WKU’s athletic department and its 19 varsity sports and over 400 student-athletes and employees. In that role, Stewart completed the hiring of Michelle Clark-Heard as head women’s basketball coach and oversaw the assistant coach hiring for both Heard and head men’s basketball coach Ray Harper.

Stewart was elevated to Senior Associate Athletic Director in August 2010 after serving as WKU’s Associate Athletic Director for Communications and Media Relations since June 2008. As Senior Associate Athletic Director, Stewart served as second-in-command in the department and assisted in strategic initiatives that advance the mission of athletics, served as a critical advisor for all important decisions for the department and helped formulate and implement the department’s communication strategy, vision and philosophy.

He also assisted in the day-to-day management of football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball and oversaw all aspects of scheduling for football, basketball and other sports as needed. He worked in a strategic fashion with all external relations including ticket sales, development, IMG and marketing to create specific plans for revenue growth and new forms of communication and outreach.

Stewart continued to oversee all components of communications and was responsible for helping publicize and brand WKU athletics on the national, regional and local level. He managed the department responsible for generating media exposure for the university’s 19 sports through television, radio, press releases, press conferences, publications, event coverage and the athletic department’s website, WKUSports.com.

Stewart joined WKU in June 2008 after a 40-month stint as Associate Commissioner for Communications for the Sun Belt Conference, where he and his staff were responsible for internal and external communications for all Sun Belt Conference publicity. Stewart created and helped institute media relations standards for every league school, served as the conference’s primary contact for men’s basketball and was the conference liaison with ESPN/ERT and the school’s athletic directors in developing the Sun Belt’s annual football and basketball television schedule. He also served on the BCS Media Relations Committee for college football’s 2008 National Championship Game.

Prior to coming to the Sun Belt, Stewart worked in the National Football League for 15 years. He was hired by the Cleveland Browns as Executive Director of Communications and Media Relations in 1999, helping to create the franchise’s communications/media relations department as it reentered the league as an expansion team. Stewart developed the Browns’ strategy for releasing organizational messages via press conferences, press releases, interviews, the team’s official website and publications. The club’s website, ClevelandBrowns.com, earned the number-two ranking out of 131 professional team websites in 2004 in an annual survey conducted by Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal.

Stewart assisted the NFL’s public relations staff at Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans and was the AFC public relations representative at the 2000 Pro Bowl in Hawaii while with the Browns. He also served on the NFL’s Media Policies Committee.

Prior to joining the Browns, Stewart was the Assistant Director of Public Relations for the Indianapolis Colts from 1991-99, where he helped direct activities between the organization, community and media with major responsibilities focused on writing press releases and producing team publications as well as arranging and coordinating interviews and press conferences. While with Indianapolis, he worked on the NFL’s public relations staff at Super Bowl XXVII in Los Angeles and at three consecutive AFC Championship Games (1997-99). The Colts’ public relations staff was presented the 1996 Pete Rozelle Award, an annual honor bestowed to the NFL’s top PR staff as voted by the Pro Football Writers of America.

Stewart, 45, received his bachelor’s degree in communications from Miami (Ohio) in 1988, where he twice received the Miami University Parents’ Council Student Achievement Award for outstanding service to the university. He worked as a graduate assistant in the sports information department at the University of Tennessee from 1988-90 while also pursuing a master’s degree in communications. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Stewart and his wife, Rebecca, have one son, Blake (11).

Contact: Michael Schroeder, (270) 745-5045.

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