WKU’s Greenwell departs for University of Louisville

Zach+Greenwell%2C+WKU%E2%80%99s+senior+associate+athletic+director+for+communications%2C+brand+strategy%2C+and+mens%E2%80%99+basketball%2C+announced+Monday+that+he+will+be+leaving+WKU+for+a+position+at+the+University+of+Louisville.

Tucker Covey

Zach Greenwell, WKU’s senior associate athletic director for communications, brand strategy, and mens’ basketball, announced Monday that he will be leaving WKU for a position at the University of Louisville.

Izzy Lanuza , Sports Reporter

Zach Greenwell, WKU’s senior associate athletic director for communications, brand strategy, and mens’ basketball, announced Monday that he will be leaving WKU for the University of Louisville after spending the last 15 years of his life on the Hill. 

“I wouldn’t leave for almost any other position, but really it was just such a great fit for so many reasons,” Greenwell said. “As hard as it was, I felt like it was time.” 

Leaving WKU was a tough decision for Greenwell, but said when he was given the opportunity at UofL as the associate director of media relations and strategic communications and to work alongside the men’s basketball team as its chief communications officer, he could not deny the opportunity. The job was also closer to Greenwell’s and his wife’s families.

Greenwell has spent most of his life in Bowling Green. He enrolled at WKU back in 2007, earning a bachelor’s degree in news and editorial journalism in 2011. Greenwell also worked as a sports journalist for College Heights Herald during his time as an undergraduate. Greenwell then returned to WKU in 2016 to earn a master’s degree in intercollegiate athletic administration, finishing the program in 2019. 

After college, he decided to settle down in Bowling Green. He worked for the Bowling Green Daily News as a high school sports reporter before accepting the job as the WKU Men’s Basketball media contact in 2016. 

Greenwell’s connection to WKU is bigger than school and sports. He met his wife Caitlin in 2008 at a WKU football game and proposed to her downtown at Fountain Square Park. He and his wife bought their first home in Bowling Green Greenwell said they spent the past 15 years creating memories they will never forget.

The media relations job was a change from what Greenwell had been doing as a reporter. Instead of reporting on games and events, he was working to protect athletes and tell their stories in a different way. 

 “A lot of things translated really well from being a reporter to working in PR communications. It’s a lot of the same skills, being a good communicator, good writing skills,” Greenwell said. “I never felt like I didn’t know the foundation of the job, even if there were certain things I had to learn.”

WKU’s athletic director, Todd Stewart, took Greenwell under his wing and made his transition into public relations a smooth one.

“[Stewart] comes from a media relations background. He worked in the NFL for a long time and then worked for WKU media relations for a long time so he knows a lot of what we go through,” Greenwell said.

Greenwell said WKU Men’s Basketball head coach Rick Stansbury was also a huge source of support.

“Stansbury has been doing this for 30 plus years. He’s been through a lot, he’s seen a lot,” Greenwell said. “I feel like he was always somebody that I could count on.”

Over the past 15 years, Greenwell has been a part of a lot of big moments in WKU basketball history. 

The two that stand out to him the most are when WKU beat Oklahoma State in the 2018 National Invitational Tournament to earn a trip to Madison Square Garden. Greenwell also remembers what the energy on campus was like when the Hilltoppers upset No. 5 seeded Drake in the 2008 NCAA Tournament thanks to a buzzer-beater from senior Ty Rogers.

 “We were in class and everybody on their computer had the game up, streaming the game. Ty Rogers hit the shot to beat [Drake] and the whole building exploded,” Greenwell said. “Everybody just left their classes and people were driving through the streets honking their horns and everything, that was my freshman year of college. A memory I’ll never forget. I was so glad I was there.”

Greenwell also helped set up the WKU Athletics Minority Fellowship, giving undergraduate minority students the opportunity to work in a paid position in the athletics department. 

“We started that last year with four people. We’re up to five this year, three men and two women,” Greenwell said. “I’m very, very proud of that program and it’s one thing I really want to see continue to grow.”

Back in the fall of 2021, Greenwell was also able to organize a men’s basketball game between WKU and the University of Kentucky after the Wildcats’ original opponent, the Louisville Cardinals, could not play due to a COVID-19 postponement. The contest took place just days after Bowling Green was hit by tornadoes.

“We worked directly with them, that game we kind of did on the fly,” Greenwell said. “We lost that game, but it was the first time we played them in the regular season since 2001, more than 20 years, and that game raised a lot of money for tornado relief.”

Greenwell has done a lot for WKU s during his time on the Hill. Overall, he said he just wants to be remembered for his kindness.

“I just want to be remembered as somebody who treated people well here more than anything. I think a lot of people should want that,” Greenwell said. “I do think I’ve treated people well and you’ve got to treat people the way you would want to be treated. Our staff, our coaches, our players, our fans. I’ve tried to be really conscious of that. That’s what’s most important to me.”

Sports reporter Izzy Lanuza can be reached at can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @izzylanuza.