Nearing the end of his second month on the job, University of Kansas athletic director Jeff Long on Tuesday announced his second major hire. And it came from a familiar place.
Chris Freet, who has served as the senior associate athletics director for external operations and strategic communications at the University of Arkansas since 2014, has been named KU's deputy athletics director for external engagement.
According to a KU administrator, Freet is filling a new position and not replacing any existing KU Athletics employees.
A news release outlined that Freet will oversee all external units, including communications, Rock Chalk Video, social media, development, and marketing and fan experience, as well as partnerships with Kansas Sports Properties (IMG) and Aspire Ticket Sales.
"I am very pleased we were able to attract Chris Freet to our team," Long said in the release. "Chris's strategic thinking, planning and communication skills will benefit us in all areas of our external outreach to alumni, fans, donors, students and the many other constituents we serve.
"As I assessed our program," Long continued, "it became clear we needed Matt Baty and our fundraisers to focus completely on the growth of the Williams Education Fund and capital fundraising initiatives, including the ongoing fundraising efforts for the Football indoor practice facility, Horejsi Volleyball Arena, David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Allen Fieldhouse and our men's and women's golf facility. Chris and I have a shared vision and philosophy for our external areas, and I believe he will not only be a great asset to our development team, but also have an immediate impact on our marketing, promotions, ticketing, and student and fan-engagement areas. With the addition of Chris, and with Sean Lester's continuing role as deputy athletics director for administration, Kansas Athletics is better aligned to meet the challenges and opportunities of a modern intercollegiate program."
At Arkansas, Freet oversaw the department's external areas, including marketing, promotions, creative and digital services, trademark licensing, retail and e-commerce merchandise, ticket operations, the Razorback Sports Network, media relations and public relations. He was also the athletic department's liaison with the SEC Network, leading the program's strategic engagement with the television channel and digital platform.
It's clear from the release that Freet is excited about teaming up with Long again at Kansas.
"Jeff Long is one of the very best leaders in all of sports," Freet said, "and I'm am truly fortunate to have this opportunity to join him at one of the most storied programs in college athletics."
Freet joined the Arkansas athletic department after spending four years at the University of Miami, where he served as senior associate athletics director for communications, marketing and ticket sales. Prior to his arrival in Coral Gables, Fla., Freet served for nearly three years as assistant athletics director for communications at the University of South Florida, and for five years in multiple positions at the University of Oklahoma.
Freet serves on the advisory board for the SEAT Conference, the marketing advisory board for InStadium and the NACMA Mentor Program. He has also taken part in the D1A Institute, the Collegiate Athletics Leadership Symposium (CALS) and was a member of the 2015-16 Sports Management Institute (SMI) class.
Freet received his B.S. degree in Communications from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2002. He and his wife, Courtney, have a son, Dayton, and a daughter, Georgia.