UIC Athletics Announces Staff Changes, Promotions

Athletic Director Jim Schmidt

Athletic Director Jim Schmidt

July 19, 2012

CHICAGO - A series of changes to the UIC Athletics staff were announced by Athletic Director Jim Schmidt Thursday. Shannon Norkus has been promoted from Academic Advisor to Director of Compliance, while Ryan Ptak has been elevated to Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing and Game Promotions.

The Ticket Operations office also welcomed three new staff members -- Greg Hodges and UIC soccer alumnus Nate Downing were hired as full-timers, while Kyle Decker was named the Manager of Ticket Operations.

Meanwhile, Jaime Morales has moved into a full-time Corporate Sales role, after serving as the Director of Ticket Sales during the past year. Joining Morales in the Corporate Sales division will be Patrick Cogan, who will serve as the Assistant Director of Corporate Sales, and Megan Ryan, who will join the staff as a graduate assistant.

"We're excited to welcome each of these new staff members to the Flames family, and are proud to announce several promotions as well," said Schmidt. "Shannon (Norkus) really stood out as an internal candidate during our search for a new Director of Compliance, and Ryan (Ptak) has proven over a short period of time that he can lead both our Ticket Operations and Marketing efforts. We also made some significant changes to some of our external units, particularly in regards to ticket sales and corporate sponsorships. We have some experienced, high-energy people working in those roles, and I'm excited about the contributions they will make to our athletic department."

Norkus spent the previous six years in UIC's Academic Advising office, including the final five years in a full-time role as the Coordinator of Academic Services and Compliance Assistant. She takes over the Director of Compliance position after Special Assistant for Athletics Denny Wills filled in as the compliance contact during the past year. Norkus began her career at UIC in 2006, when she served as an Academic Advising graduate assistant. Wills will move back into his special assistant role, while assisting the transition in compliance.

Ptak served as the department's Director of Marketing & Game Promotions last year, and for the previous four years, was UIC's Assistant Director of Marketing & Game Promotions. He will oversee both the Marketing and Ticket Operations units. Ptak began his athletic administration career as an intern in UIC's Ticket Operations office in 2005.

Hodges took over the Director of Group Sales and Ticket Operations position in May after spending the previous 10 years in the sales division with the Chicago White Sox. He will serve as the main contact for men's basketball season tickets, and all group ticket sales. During his tenure on the South Side, Hodges sold season tickets, group tickets, and was also a member of the premium ticket sales staff.

Downing worked as a graduate assistant in UIC's Development & Advancement Office the past two years, prior to being hired as the department's Assistant Director of Season Ticket Sales. He will be the main contact for season ticket sales and campus outreach. The Columbus, Ind., native played for UIC's men's soccer team from 2006-10, and was a co-captain during his senior season.

Downing is the third former student-athlete to be hired as a full-time staff member in UIC's Athletic Department in the past nine months, joining former volleyball standouts Katie Kozak (Assistant Director of Development & Special Events) and Casie Sullivan (Assistant Director of Marketing & Game Promotions).

Decker has spent the past two years as a graduate assistant in UIC's Marketing and Ticket Operations unit, specifically focusing on the "Community Assist" ticket sales initiative. As the Manager of Ticket Operations, Decker will continue to work with the Community Assist program, while also handling the accounting for the ticket office.

Morales, a former full-time staff member with the Chicago Cubs, transitioned from UIC's Ticket Operations office to the Corporate Sales division in March. Cogan comes to UIC after a two-year stint at Cleveland State, where he served as a Sales and Marketing Assistant with Nelligan Sports Marketing. Cogan was a men's basketball student manager at both Marquette and Indiana under head coach Tom Crean before graduating from IU in 2010. Ryan graduated with her bachelor's degree in Finance from UIC in May, after spending the previous three years working as a student and game-day assistant in the Marketing & Game Promotions office. She also recently completed an internship at Priority Sports & Entertainment in Chicago.