Local businessman and former journalist Jay Gonzales has been named the new president of the Tucson Sugar Skulls, the team announced Wednesday.
Gonzales served as the Indoor Football League team’s media relations director during its first season of existence. He was also responsible for the Sugar Skulls’ graphic and promotional design work.
Gonzales, a Sahuaro High School and UA graduate, “checks all the boxes of what we were looking for including being part of the Tucson community his entire life,” Sugar Skulls co-owner Cathy Guy said in a news release. Gonzales replaces Mike Feder, who retired last month after one year at president.
“We believe in the importance of continuity and have been fortunate to have Jay on our team in our inaugural season,” Guy said. “Jay is helping us build a winning culture based on preparation, hard work, accountability and honesty.”
Gonzales covered news, sports and business at the Arizona Daily Star for a decade starting in 1981. He then served as a manager for Tucson Electric Power’s public affairs team and spent two years as the communication director for the City of Tucson. In 2009, Gonzales started his own public relations firm.
Tucson’s media relations team was named best in the IFL for the 2019 season, which ended earlier this month.
“Being a part of the Sugar Skulls this past year has been one of the great experiences of my professional life,” Gonzales said.
“I’ve always been passionate about sports in this town, and to be able to lead a professional sports organization in my hometown is something that I never could have anticipated while growing up here.”
Gonzales might be a familiar face to UA sports fans. He has had a courtside seat at McKale Center for nearly 30 years as a statistician for the UA men’s basketball and women’s basketball teams. Gonzales has also emceed news conferences for bowl games and the Pac-12 Tournament. He coached baseball and softball at The Gregory School for seven years.
Gonzales was the 1998 Tucson Metropolitan Chamber’s Man of the Year.
“Our mission as an organization is to be a positive influence on the community, to provide our fans with a fun, exciting and affordable product, and to positively impact business, not only downtown where we play, but throughout the region,” Gonzales said. “Everything we do will be centered on that mission.”