Penguins CEO gives ringing endorsement for Pirates hiring Travis Williams as president | TribLIVE.com
Pirates/MLB

Penguins CEO gives ringing endorsement for Pirates hiring Travis Williams as president

Kevin Gorman
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Tribune-Review file
From left, Travis Williams, senior vice president for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Dan Onorato, Allegheny County Chief Executive, Luke Ravenstahl, Pittsburgh Mayor, Rod Piatt, president of Horizon Properties, Ken Sawyer, CEO of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Kevin Lewis, president of Cambria Suites, break ground near the new hockey arena for a new hotel on Wednesday afternoon, November 18, 2009.
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John Altdorfer | For the Tribune-Review
WTAE-TV anchor Sally Wiggin, Pittsburgh Penguins COO Travis Williams and Christine O’Toole, Magic of Mentoring, Mentoring Partnership, pose for a photo at PPG Paints Arena, Uptown. Oct. 5, 2017.

The Pittsburgh Pirates already received one ringing endorsement for their decision to hire Travis Williams to replace Frank Coonelly as team president.

That it’s from the Penguins should come as no surprise.

“We owe a lot of the success we’ve had over the last 10 years or so to Travis,” said Penguins CEO David Morehouse, who worked hand-in-hand with Williams as he rose from the team’s chief legal counsel to chief operating officer. “He was a valuable asset and a good friend, so it’s good that he’s back in Pittsburgh for Pittsburgh. He has a lot of relationships and knows how Pittsburgh runs and how it operates. He’s a class guy.”

The Penguins won three Stanley Cup championships in the 10 years Williams worked for the organization before leaving last November to become president of business operations for the New York Islanders. Williams oversaw the development of PPG Paints Arena, the construction of UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex training center in Cranberry and helped broker the television deal with AT&T SportsNet. He also served as the team’s liaison to building manager AEG Facilities on bringing concerts and major sporting events to the arena.


That Williams already has a working relationship with both city and county officials and corporate partners should allow him to hit the ground running with the Pirates.

“From a relationship perspective, he’s starting at third base,” Morehouse said. “He’s not coming in cold. He’s coming in knowing all the players from the political and sponsorship side and brings the perspective of the fans.

“Travis has a good reputation. He’s well-known and well-liked and has experience working with a successful sports organization. We work with the Steelers and Pirates, so we don’t view them as competitors. We view them as partners. Having Travis there can only enhance the Penguins’ and Pirates’ relationship, and I think that’s good for Pittsburgh.

“This is good for Pittsburgh to have on an executive level. It just enhances the cooperation.”

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Penguins | Pirates
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