The Philadelphia 76ers have promoted Zach Sogolow to Director, Basketball Operations. Before being promoted, Sogolow previously served as a Senior Manager with the organization. The Sixers have released a statment on the move, as well as a few others:
PHILADELPHIA – DEC. 27, 2019 – Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Elton Brand announced today promotions within the team’s basketball operations department.
Zach Sogolow has been promoted to Director, Basketball Operations after previously serving as Senior Manager, a role he held since joining the team in August 2017. Sogolow will oversee day-to-day basketball staff operations, working closely with the Assistant General Manager on league rules and compliance, as well as contract and salary-cap-related matters. He joined the 76ers after nearly two years at the NBA League Office, where he served as Basketball Operations Coordinator. Sogolow also spent the summer of 2014 with the League Office as a Basketball Operations Analytics Trainee. A four-year team manager for the Harvard Crimson men’s basketball team, Sogolow spent the 2014-15 season as a head manager, while pursuing his degree in psychology.
Mary Purcell-Davis has been promoted to Manager, a title she adds to her already-existing Executive Assistant position. She will continue to oversee basketball operations staff travel, manage day-to-day logistics of all basketball operations staff and serve as Executive Assistant to 76ers Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Alex Rucker. Purcell-Davis started her career with the 76ers in February 1987 as a receptionist and worked in advertising sales before transitioning full-time into basketball operations in 1997. A Philadelphia native, Purcell-Davis credits longtime 76ers Executive Assistant Marlene Barnes, who spent 39 years with the franchise, as a mentor. Purcell-Davis has worked with 15 different head coaches, including serving as Executive Assistant for current 76ers Sr. Advisor to the Head Coach Jim O’Brien, Oklahoma City Thunder Assistant Coach Maurice Cheeks and Phoenix Suns Assistant Coach Randy Ayers, among others.
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
John Boyles has been promoted to Director, Research & Development, a role in which he will be responsible for the leadership and direction of the team’s developers and data scientists. John originally joined the team in July 2018 as a Developer, creating custom applications for use within the basketball operations department. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Pittsburgh, John spent 15 years working on distributed file systems, most notably rising to Technical Director at Avere Systems, a company eventually acquired by Microsoft. Just prior to joining the 76ers, John worked for Curalate in Philadelphia as the Technical Lead of the Metrics Team.
Grant Fiddyment has been promoted to Manager of Research after previously serving as Data Scientist within the same department. Fiddyment originally joined the 76ers in December 2016 and immediately began developing tools to analyze team training, performance and in-game strategies. He spent the previous five years as a Graduate Researcher at Boston University, where he assisted a team of mathematicians and epilepsy clinicians. Fiddyment holds degrees in several different disciplines, including bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from the University of Georgia and a PhD in computational neuroscience from Boston University. He has also served as an Adjunct Professorial Lecturer at American University since December 2016.
Patrick Rees has been promoted to Vice President of Communications after previously serving as Senior Director within the same department. In this expanded role, Rees will continue to oversee the team’s basketball communications efforts, while also supporting the organization throughout the year on brand initiatives, launches and campaigns. In his third season with the 76ers, Rees has also worked in the PR department for the Washington Wizards, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic and San Antonio Spurs over the past 15 years.
While Elton Brand serves as the figurehead of the Sixers Front Office, the true hierarchy of the team’s decision makers is a bit murky. That being said, Director of Basketball Operations is a significant role no matter the franchise. Going off of the press release, it sounds like Sogolow’s experience is of the administrative variety, having previously worked in the League Office.
The obvious theme in each of these personnel changes is that they all come from within, which not for nothing, is nice to see from an organization.