Indianapolis - The Indiana Pacers hired Jim Morris as Special Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer and President on Friday.
Before joining the Pacers, Morris spent five years as the Executive Director for the United Nations World Programme, the world's largest humanitarian agency. Morris has also served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for IWC Resource Corporation and Indianapolis Water Company in addition to his work with Lilly Endowment throughout his career in the public and private sectors.
"Jim has been one of the most valuable assets this community has had in the last 30 years, and we are extremely fortunate to have him as part of the Pacers' family," said Donnie Walsh, Chief Executive Officer and President of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, in a statement released late Friday morning.
Later, Walsh spoke to Eyewitness News reporter Kevin Rader. "I think people sometimes forget we are a company and a big part of this community and I think that we are also a national brand and becoming an international brand. I think Jim fits in with all of that and will be tremendous addition for the Pacers and the company."
After a litany of on-and-off-the-court problems, Morris is viewed by some as a positive role model for a franchise in need of one.
"When you have Jim Morris as part of your organization I hope it speaks to the community about what we want to represent out there because he certainly represents that," Walsh said. "But in the last two years that has been held in question - but not by anyone in this office."
Walsh called Morris the perfect fit for the the Pacers right now.
"I think he can represent us in the corporate community, in the not-for-profit community, but I would look to him for advice on a variance of issues because he's had experience running companies himself and a breadth of experience in a lot of different companies and different issues," Walsh said.
"I have been a fan of the Indiana Pacers from the very beginning," Morris was quoted in the team's release. "My wife, Jackie, and I love this city, and the Pacers. Joining the organization is an honor for both of us," said Morris. "The Pacers are a model franchise and are a critical part of the fabric of this community. I have the highest expectations to continue to bring greatness to our city and state and continue to help young people through the Pacers' initiatives and programs."
In his new role, the team says Morris will expand and enhance the Indiana Pacers' community involvement through various outreach programs and partnerships.