Pitt tabs Freire as deputy athletic director

By Dan Sostek / Sports Editor

Pitt athletics announced a new hire on Thursday afternoon.

No, not that hire.

Athletic Director Scott Barnes announced the department had hired University of Tennessee at Martin Athletic Director Julio Freire as Pitt’s deputy athletic director for external affairs.

Freire will oversee fundraising, ticket sales, marketing, branding, multimedia rights, licensing and merchandising for the program. The position is a new post that the University formed as part of “Scott [Barnes’] continued departmental reorganization that will make [Pitt’s] various operations more efficient, effective and impactful,” according to Executive Athletic Director for Media Relations E.J. Borghetti,

“I’m incredibly honored to join Scott Barnes’ team at the University of Pittsburgh,” Freire said in a University release. “So many exciting things are happening at Pitt, not only athletically but throughout the entire University. It is a great time to be a Panther and I’m thrilled and appreciative my family has been given this opportunity.”

Barnes expects Freire to be a big boon to the program.

“He will provide key leadership as we continue our departmental reorganization,” Barnes said. “In addition to overseeing our external functions, Julio will have a particular focus on our athletic development operations.”

Freire, who was born in Tijuana, Mexico, before moving to Tucson, Arizona, as a child, has a breadth of experience in athletics and education. He ran cross country and track and field for Arizona State, where he graduated in 1990 with a degree in education. He earned a master’s in counseling from University of Phoenix in 1997.

He spent a decade as a high school educator in Arizona, working jobs as a teacher, counselor, athletic director, coach and principal.

Freire’s first job in intercollegiate athletics was at Ohio University in 2000, where he started as an assistant athletic director for development until they promoted him to an associate director position later.

He later worked at Tennessee Tech as the school’s associate athletic director for development from 2005 to 2007, before returning to his home state for a job at the University of Arizona as an associate AD from 2007 to 2010.

After a stint as a senior associate athletic director at UNLV from 2010 to 2013, UT-Martin hired Freire as its athletic director in 2013, where he has overseen impressive development.

Four of the school’s teams won Ohio Valley Conference championships during his tenure, while fundraising gifts to the school increased by 300 percent and corporate sponsorships by 200 percent. He was also instrumental in forming plans to renovate the school’s football field, Harvey Graham Stadium.

“Julio brings a fresh perspective as well as a tremendous work ethic to Pitt Athletics,” Barnes said in the release. “His overall experience and passion for collegiate athletics will be a great asset for our entire department.”