June 7, 2024

Seattle, WAKurt Svoboda has joined the University of Washington athletic department as Deputy Athletic Director for External Relations, Director of Athletics Pat Chun announced today. Svoboda is the fourth and final member of UW's deputy athletic leadership, alongside Kim Durand, Shannon Kelly and Erin O'Connell. 

An accomplished athletics administrator with experience on the West Coast and also in the Big Ten Conference, Svoboda comes to UW from the University of Michigan, where he spent the last nine years as associate athletic director of external communications and public relations. Prior to that, he spent two years as senior assistant athletic director for public relations and strategic communications at Stanford.

"Kurt's wealth of experience is a remarkably good fit for Washington as we make the transition to the Big Ten Conference," said Chun. "Kim, Shannon and Erin are proven servant leaders and more importantly, exceptional people. They have impacted UW Athletics in countless ways through their years as Huskies. Our team in UW Athletics is guided by its core values and dedicated to serving our student-athletes. We are excited to see all that Kurt can add to this team."

Durand, Kelly and O'Connell are all long-time UW athletics administrators. Going forward, Durand will now serve as Deputy Athletic Director and Senior Women's Administrator, primarily overseeing student services and academic support. Kelly, a former UW basketball player, is now Deputy AD for Revenue Generation, overseeing the Tyee Club and ticket office, among other duties. A former Washington coxswain, O'Connell will serve as Deputy Athletic Director and Chief Operating Officer, and will oversee internal affairs, events and facilities, along with other responsibilities.

During his time in Ann Arbor, Svoboda oversaw Michigan's communications, digital and creative staffs, and digital marketing efforts. He also launched the Wolverines' NIL platform, the Victors Local Exchange. He also served as the department's primary liaison to the Big Ten Network and various campus groups while working directly with U-M's rights holder, Learfield, across digital and creative initiatives.

While at Stanford (2013-15), he served as the chief public affairs and departmental spokesperson, the Cardinal's primary football contact for media relations, and was the program's main contact for the Pac-12 Network.

Before his time at Stanford, Svoboda served in several roles, including as the assistant athletic director for public relations at Harvard from 2005 to 2013. He was the chief public affairs and media relations executive and department spokesperson for the Crimson while serving as the primary contact for multiple programs, including football, men's basketball and baseball. Svoboda also launched Harvard's multimedia and production unit which continues to be recognized today among the nation's best. 

A graduate of Colby-Sawyer College (N.H.), where he was a four-year letterwinner on the baseball team, twice earning academic all-conference, Svoboda spent time as a baseball coach following graduation while also working in the communications field at Saint Anselm College, Franklin Pierce University and the New England Collegiate Baseball League.

Svoboda earned a B.S. in exercise & sports sciences and sport management from Colby-Sawyer, and a master's degree in finance and control from Harvard. In 2014, he was honored as a Colby-Sawyer Distinguished Alumnus.

He and his wife, Joanna, are the parents of a son, Jaxon.