The Salt Lake City Stars have a new team president — one who is innately familiar to media covering the Utah Jazz.
Jonathan Rinehart was named Tuesday morning to the role in which he’ll oversee ticket sales, community relations, partnerships, marketing and other non-basketball aspects of the G-League team’s operations.
Rinehart comes to the Stars after spending a dozen years working for the Jazz, of which the Stars are an affiliate. He’s been a central figure in Utah’s media relations, serving the last three years as vice president of communications. He’s also been one of the organizing forces behind Utah Summer League the last three years, a role he’ll continue in.
His experience in Summer League, as well as some of his past experiences in sports, made him interested in the position when it opened this summer. Rinehart said he was looking for some new challenges after 12 years in the Jazz media relations department.
Handling the franchise that develops some of the Jazz’s top prospects, he said, will allow him to be involved in many areas of sports business — areas that aren’t always accessible in a larger organization with as many moving parts and resources as the Jazz.
“You can’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and get in there,” he said. “I‘m looking forward to be able to sort of lead in a variety of areas and lead in a hands-on way.”
With the shift to the front office, Rinehart takes over many operations for the Stars, who were 14-36 last year in their first season after moving from Boise, Idaho, to their home court at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville.
Rinehart replaces Bart Sharp, who moves into a senior vice president of marketing role with the Jazz. The Stars will retain their vice president of basketball operations, Bart Taylor, who handles personnel decisions.
Rinehart cited Jazz president Steve Starks as a big influence, as well as Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey and coach Quin Snyder. The goals of the franchise will be, as always, to help build NBA-quality players on its roster, but Rinehart also would like to improve the Stars’ fan experience, which ideally will be both entertaining and affordable.
“It’s really going to be challenging in a lot of ways,” Rinehart said. ”It really allows me to grow and get experience in a lot of areas while also staying within the Jazz family and Miller organization.”
Rinehart hails from Memphis, Tenn., and graduated from Southern Methodist University. Before his years with the Jazz, he worked with the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Nuggets and Colorado Crush of the Arena Football League. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and two children.