The Warriors announced Monday evening that they have hired Rick Welts as president and chief operating officer of the franchise. Just four months ago, while president and CEO of the Phoenix Suns, Welts disclosed in a New York Times article that he is gay, making him the highest-ranking sports executive to publicly acknowledge it.
Welts' hiring fills the position vacated by Robert Rowell, who mutually agreed to part ways with the Warriors in June. Welts will oversee all business-related operations for the Warriors and will report directly to Warriors' co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.
Welts, 58, spent the past two NBA seasons in the same position with the Phoenix Suns. He resigned earlier this month, telling the Arizona Republic that he had started a new relationship and his partner is in Sacramento.
"I'm at a point in my life where my focus is to align my personal and professional life in a way I've never been able to achieve before," Welts told the Republic.
The Warriors plan to introduce Welts at a news conference Tuesday morning.
"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," Lacob said in the team's release. "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."
Welts has 36 years of experience in the NBA, starting out as a ball boy for the Seattle SuperSonics in 1969. He spent 17 years working in the NBA offices in New York before joining the Suns. His nine-year tenure in Phoenix produced five 50-plus win seasons and three trips to the Western Conference finals.
The addition of Welts should conclude the overhaul of the Warriors front office.
The overhaul began on the basketball side with the addition of Jerry West as an executive board member and consultant. Then came former agent Bob Myers as assistant general manager and new coach Mark Jackson.
The Warriors parted ways with Rowell, who had been with the franchise for 16 seasons under former owner Chris Cohan. Lacob also added Marty Glick as the team's chief financial officer.