Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina Catamount Athletics has announced several staff changes within both its external operations and NCAA Compliance staff. Ryan Jones has been promoted to an Assistant Athletic Director position and will assume the Director of the Catamount Club position, while longtime football support staffer, Dan Gibson, has assumed WCU's Director of Compliance.
Additional external staff changes with the fundraising arm include the addition of Joey Cutting and Alex Ritter to the Catamount Club staff -- both of whom join Jones and Miffy Henley. Also, Michael Ceccarelli has joined the WCU staff as the Director of Corporate Sponsorship, and Austin Burgess assumes the full-time role as WCU Athletics' Director of Ticket Operations.
Entering his third full year in Cullowhee, Jones was introduced to the Catamount Club membership via E-mail from WCU Director of Athletics Randy Eaton on June 7, stepping into the role vacated by former director Gorham Bradley, who left for the private sector.
A young, but experienced, professional of athletics development, Jones started as an assistant director in his first year before rapidly progressing to the role of associate director during the summer of 2015. A graduate of North Carolina State, Jones gained invaluable experience at different levels of development including stints at Shaw University and with the Tennessee Fund at the University of Tennessee.
Jones has been instrumental and a major driving force in the development of endowed scholarships for Catamount Athletics. FULL BIO
In his letter to the Catamount Club's current membership, Eaton referenced qualities that he was looking for in the next director that included, "a proven leader; someone with experience in fund raising, athletics, and budgets; and an individual who "FIT" within Catamount Nation."
Of Jones, he said, "I have found an individual who not only meets, but also surpasses, my wildest expectations with each of these characteristics. Ryan has done a tremendous job during this interim period in leading the Catamount Club, and I know he will be the leader I was searching for from the beginning of this process."
A longtime fixture around Cullowhee, Gibson has been involved in Catamount Athletics in some capacity since 2004 as an undergraduate student. He vacates his most extensive role as the Director of Football Operations -- a title he had held since 2009 -- to move into the role of Director of Compliance. Gibson was awarded the 2013 WCU Athletics Staff Member of the Year.
Originally from Wake Forest, N.C., Gibson is a two-time graduate of WCU with an undergraduate degree in psychology in 2007 and a Master's Degree in sport management in 2009. FULL BIO
Cutting, a native of Waynesville, N.C., is a former student-athlete, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president, and a graduate of nearby UNC Asheville. Considered to be a rising star in the collegiate athletics profession, he comes to Cullowhee from a graduate assistant position at James Madison working with athletics marketing. FULL BIO
Like Cutting, Ritter joined the Catamount Club staff in June from his most recent stint as a Development Assistant within Wake Forest's Deacon Club. He gained invaluable experience in supporting the ACC-member institution's major gifts team and worked closely with the annual fund. Ritter is originally from Warrenton, Va., and earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Mary Washington before completing his Masters at Virginia Commonwealth. FULL BIO
Ceccarelli assumed WCU's vacant Director of Corporate Sponsorship role in April of 2017, making the move from a corporate sponsorship position with the Nashville Symphony. His experience includes four years as the Director of Sales at Middle Tennessee State University through Learfield Sports, while also bringing in over seven years of experience in ticket sales at the NBA, NHL, and NFL levels. FULL BIO
A 2012 graduate of Western Carolina University, Burgess assumed the interim ticket operations position in August of 2016, a role he held throughout the 2016-17 athletic season. Overseeing the WCU Athletics Ticket Office over the past year, he earned the promotion during the June of 2017. FULL BIO