KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Zach Stipe is rejoining Tennessee’s Athletic Media Relations staff as Director of Football Communications. He will work closely with head coach Butch Jones to implement and execute communications strategies aimed at promoting and publicizing Volunteers football.
A native of Canton, Ohio, Stipe spent three years on the UT media relations staff from 2008-11 while earning his master’s degree in Sport Management. During that time, he worked closely with several sports, including the Lady Vols basketball program.
“We are excited to welcome Zach and his family back into the Tennessee family,” Jones said. “He brings vast knowledge and experience, which everyone in our organization will greatly benefit from.”
Stipe comes to Tennessee from Florida State University, where he worked since 2010. He oversaw the promotion of FSU football since 2013 and held the title of Director of Football Communications since 2015.
“I’m excited to be returning to the University of Tennessee to work with Coach Jones and the football program, as well as the terrific media relations staff,” Stipe said. “At Tennessee, there is a tradition of excellence across the entire athletic department, and I’m honored to be a part of that. I’m thrilled I will be able to help bring the stories of Tennessee’s outstanding student-athletes and coaches to the nation’s best fans.
“I can’t wait to get started, and I’m looking forward to being inside Neyland Stadium this fall. I want to thank Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics John Currie and Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations Tom Satkowiak for this opportunity.”
During the 2015 and 2016 college football seasons, Stipe was responsible for all publicity and media relations strategies for Florida State football and head coach Jimbo Fisher. Stipe worked on the national award and All-America campaigns for more than a dozen FSU student-athletes, including 2013 Heisman Trophy-winner Jameis Winston, 2015 first-round NFL draft pick Jalen Ramsey and 2016 unanimous All-American Dalvin Cook, among others.
Stipe was hired by Florida State in 2011 as an assistant sports information director. He initially worked primarily with women’s basketball and the school’s first-ever beach volleyball team while also serving as a secondary contact with the football team. Stipe was promoted to associate sports information director and primary football contact in 2013, coinciding with the Seminoles’ undefeated national championship run. Stipe was again promoted in February 2015 to the role of Director of Football Communications, assuming advisory duties for Fisher.
“Zach is an outstanding addition to our staff, and Tennessee football is going to benefit from his expertise,” Satkowiak said. “He is incredibly well-respected throughout the college football landscape, where his work ethic, professionalism, integrity and ability to foster relationships have earned him a rock-solid reputation.
“Communications specialists who have experience publicizing a national championship football team, a Heisman Trophy winner and the legendary Pat Summitt don’t exactly grow on trees.”
In April of 2015, Stipe organized the media efforts for Winston’s Pro Day – which at the time was the largest ever of its kind and included more than 12 combined hours of live coverage between the NFL Network and ESPN, including a live one-hour broadcast of SportsCenter.
Stipe has accompanied student-athletes to several high-profile events, including the NFL Draft, the ESPY’s, the Home Depot College Football Awards and the Walter Camp All-America Foundation banquet. He also has assisted with the production of game telecasts for ESPN, ABC and regional sports networks, as well as ESPN’s popular College Gameday show.
In 2016, Stipe was an advisor on Showtime’s season-long documentary spotlighting the FSU football program.
Stipe earned his bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Ohio Northern in 2008. At ONU, he was the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, The Northern Review, interned with the ONU sports information department and was a two-year member of the varsity cross country and track & field teams.
He and his wife, Katie, recently welcomed a son, Owen.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
“Zach’s knowledge of college football spliced with his feel for what reporters need to do their job make him a natural in the sports information business. It was obvious in working with Zach on a recent project at Florida State that he has the trust of the players and coaches he’s aligned with, and he’s always looking for ways to get their stories out there in a compelling and first-class manner. His even-keeled approach is refreshing, and he’s a pro no matter the situation.”
— Chris Low, ESPN.com senior writer
“Zach is one of my favorite people to work with. He always does everything he can to help me do my job. I’ll miss eating Cuban food with him in Tallahassee, but I can’t wait to show him all my favorite places in Knoxville.”
— Andy Staples, Sports Illustrated
“I’ve known Zach since my freshman year at Florida State, and he always did a great job preparing me and making me feel comfortable in front of the media. I can’t thank Zach enough for his hard work promoting myself, my teammates and Florida State football during his time at FSU. He's one of the best in the business, and I have already used some of the lessons I've learned from Zach with the Broncos.”
— DeMarcus Walker, Denver Broncos defensive end and 2016 ACC Defensive Player of the Year