49ers PR staff selected as PFWA 2024 Pete Rozelle Award winner

The San Francisco 49ers public relations staff, lauded for overall professionalism with the reporters who cover the club has been selected as the 2024 Pete Rozelle Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).

The 49ers PR staff, the 35th Rozelle Award winner, earned the award for the first time in franchise history.

The other 2024 finalists for the Rozelle Award were the Dallas Cowboys, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams and the Miami Dolphins.

The Rozelle Award is given to the NFL club public relations staff that consistently strives for excellence in its dealings and relationships with the media. The award is named for Rozelle, NFL commissioner from 1960-89, who started his distinguished career in sports PR roles as a student at both Compton (Calif.) Junior College and the University of San Francisco. After two more years as USF’s assistant athletic director after graduation, he broke into the NFL as the PR director of the Los Angeles Rams from 1952-55. Rozelle used his PR principles as commissioner to build relationships with the media during a period of unprecedented growth and challenge for the league.

During the 2023 season, the 49ers football communications staff consisted of Corry Rush (vice president of football communications), Peter Volmut (director of football communications), Kristin Wojcik (manager of football communications) and Zackary Teats (coordinator of football communications). The staff was also assisted by Caleigh Elkin (football communications seasonal intern), Ellie Caple (director of communications and public affairs), Josh Stephens (senior manager of communications and public affairs) and Jacob Fill (senior coordinator of corporate communications).

The 2023 49ers football communications staff. From left, Caleigh Elkin, Zackary Teats, Corry Rush, Kristin Wojcik and Peter Volmut (Photo Credit: Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers)

A finalist for the Rozelle Award for the first time since 2014, the 49ers’ PR team worked to facilitate access for beat writers to head coach Kyle Shanahan, assistant coaches and players along with general manager John Lynch and front office personnel throughout the season.

“I got permission to be a fly on the locker room wall during halftime two seasons ago. It’s true. In a league bent on keeping even marginally sensitive information triple-bolted and away from prying eyes, I was allowed into a rarely seen inner sanctum. No, the 49ers PR department doesn’t fulfill every request it gets. But it at least is willing to listen to and consider them, and many story pitches – from an in-season chat with the QBs coach to getting a pair of star players together for a sit-down session – have been granted in recent seasons,” said PFWA San Francisco chapter president Matt Barrows of The Athletic. “That’s the 49ers’ PR department’s greatest strength: Facilitating requests that lead to better stories and a better understanding of the game by readers and viewers.”

PETE ROZELLE AWARD WINNERS (To the club public relations department that consistently strives for excellence in its dealings and relationships with the media) Year indicates when award was presented for previous season: 1990 – Denver Broncos; 1991 – Pittsburgh Steelers; 1992 – Seattle Seahawks; 1993 – Miami Dolphins; 1994 – Houston Oilers; 1995 – New York Giants; 1996 – Indianapolis Colts; 1997 – St. Louis Rams; 1998 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 1999 – Miami Dolphins; 2000 – Tennessee Titans; 2001 – New York Giants; 2002 – Philadelphia Eagles; 2003 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 2004 – Houston Texans; 2005 – Philadelphia Eagles; 2006 – Cincinnati Bengals; 2007 – Houston Texans; 2008 – Seattle Seahawks; 2009 – Arizona Cardinals; 2010 – Houston Texans; 2011 – Baltimore Ravens; 2012 – Houston Texans; 2013 – Baltimore Ravens; 2014 – Denver Broncos; 2015 – Pittsburgh Steelers; 2016 – Denver Broncos; 2017 – Baltimore Ravens & Houston Texans; 2018 – Minnesota Vikings; 2019 – Los Angeles Rams; 2020 – Indianapolis Colts; 2021 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 2022 – New England Patriots; 2023 – Detroit Lions; 2024 – San Francisco 49ers

ABOUT THE PFWA: In its 61st season in 2024, the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public. The PFWA is made up of accredited writers who cover the NFL and the 32 teams daily. Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News is the PFWA president for the 2023-24 seasons and the organization’s 31st president. Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post is the PFWA’s first vice-president, Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic is the second vice-president, Lindsay Jones of The Ringer is the advisor to the president and Mike Sando of The Athletic is the secretary-treasurer. At-large board members include Mike Jones of The Athletic, ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold, Joe Reedy of the Associated Press and ProFootballTalk.com’s Charean Williams. Follow the PFWA at ProFootballWriters.org and on Twitter/X at @PFWAwriters.

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