Entering his 20th year with the University of Kentucky athletics department, Tony Neely has been promoted to assistant athletics director/media relations. As part of this promotion, Neely will oversee the daily operations of the athletics media relations office, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced Tuesday.
“Tony Neely is one of the longest-tenured employees in our athletic department and he is very deserving,” UK Senior Associate Athletics Director Jason Schlafer said. “Tony will not only do a fantastic job for us in coordinating our media relations office, but he is a high-character guy that everyone enjoys being around. We are very fortunate to have him, his wife, Terri, and his daughter, Grace, as a part of our UK Athletics family.”
Neely, who started at Kentucky in 1994, has spent the last 19 years as the primary media relations contact for UK’s football team, writing thousands of releases, coordinating hundreds of interviews and developing countless relationships with student-athletes, coaches and media members. In 2010, Neely and his staff were named one of the best football media relations staffs in the country by the Football Writers Association of America. He has received several publications and writing awards from the College Sports Information Directors of America. During his tenure, UK football has seen unprecedented growth in media coverage from national television to national publications – all of which is coordinated by Neely.
On top of his responsibilities with football, Neely will oversee all aspects of UK’s media relations office and its media relations efforts for UK’s 22 varsity athletic teams. Neely has also served numerous times as the media relations coordinator for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Rupp Arena.
Prior to his time at Kentucky, Neely spent 16 years in media relations at his alma mater, Vanderbilt University, from 1978-94. The native of Nashville, started as a student assistant at Vanderbilt while an undergraduate, before serving as an assistant sports information director and associate sports information director from 1982-92. Neely was promoted to head sports information director in 1992, supervising all functions of VU’s sports information office for all men’s and women’s sports.
Neely graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He and his wife, Terri, have one daughter, Grace, who will be a freshman at UK this fall.
Evan Crane added as an Assistant Media Relations Director
The media relations office has also added Evan Crane as an assistant media relations director. Crane has served as a media relations assistant for three years after previously working as a student assistant his final two years as an undergraduate at UK.
A native of West Paducah, Ky., Crane will continue to oversee the day-to-day public relations aspects of Kentucky’s football and softball programs.