Warriors hire former Suns executive Rick Welts

By JANIE McCAULEY | September 26, 2011 | 10:40 PM EDT

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors have hired Rick Welts as president and chief operating officer, reporting to owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber and handling the franchise's business operations.

The team planned to formally introduce Welts on Tuesday. Welts replaces Robert Rowell, who resigned in June from his position as the club's top executive for business operations.

Welts left a position as president and chief executive of the Phoenix Suns earlier this month for personal reasons, four months after he became the first senior sports executive to openly acknowledge he was gay.

Welts said at the time he would relocate to Northern California to be with his partner.