Feb. 19, 2013
STANFORD, Calif. - Bernard Muir, Stanford University's Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics, announced today the hiring of Kurt Svoboda as Senior Assistant Athletics Director of Media Relations & Communications.
Svoboda comes from Harvard University where as Assistant Director of Athletics he served as the department's chief public and media relations executive for eight years. At Harvard, Svoboda worked at The Game, the Crimson's annual clash with Yale. Now in his new role as Stanford Athletics' main football contact, Svoboda will transition into The Big Game.
"We are excited to make this critical hire for Stanford Athletics," said Muir. "Kurt emerged from a talented group of candidates as the perfect fit for our vision, and I am confident he can manage our 35 programs with the passion and energy that all our student-athletes deserve."
Svoboda, who has worked as the direct contact for 12 of Harvard's 41 varsity teams over the years, brings an expertise in traditional and digital media platforms and will utilize that background at Stanford.
At Harvard, Svoboda's reach on social media and networking platforms gained national attention. He often held workshops for varsity athletes and clients. In 2011, he gained notice for his unique Twitter campaign soliciting online viewership of Harvard's men's basketball teams from Associated Press voting members. During that time, Harvard attained its highest-ever national ranking, at No. 21.
Svoboda also completed an initiative to bring Harvard's multimedia and production efforts in-house, creating the first full-time position for an Ivy League school and without any budgetary increase. He created Harvard's first television partnership and utilized IP technology to broadcast original HD programming for Harvard Crimson Productions. Meanwhile, Harvard's online digital productions and video features continue to set the pace at the Division I level with over 150 live events and 1.5 million viewers each year.
"Our vision is to reach our diverse and global audience where they reside -- by utilizing emerging technology and embracing today's ever-changing landscape," Svoboda said. "All the while, we will commit to providing proactive, timely and accurate information."
Svoboda brings the perspective of an athlete, as well. He was a first baseman and four-year letterman at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, N.H., winning two Commonwealth Coast Conference baseball titles and finishing among the Chargers' all-time leaders in fielding percentage and putouts. He also holds one school record - for getting hit by a pitch three times in one game.
Svoboda earned his bachelor's in exercise and sport sciences while graduating magna cum laude in 2000. He began his career in sports information while doubling as an assistant baseball coach at Franklin Pierce University, and earned his master's in liberal arts from Harvard University in 2009 with a concentration in finance and control.
"My family and I are thrilled to join the Stanford community," said Svoboda, who is married to Joanna, and has a young son, Jaxon. "We deeply believe in the educational aspect of competitive sports and I greatly look forward to being part of this world-class institution and its tradition of excellence."