Allen Park – The Detroit Lions are in the process of shaking up the team’s media relations department.
Vice president of communications Bill Keenist, who has been with the organization since 1985, will transition to a team historian role when a new media relations director is hired.
“I’m embracing this opportunity,” Keenist told The Detroit News Sunday afternoon. “I know how important this is to Mrs. (Martha) Ford, the Ford family, Rod (Wood) and the rest of the organization. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity.”
In addition, longtime media relations director Matt Barnhart is no longer with the organization.
Eamonn Reynolds, the team’s assistant director of football communications, has been serving in the director role in the interim and is considered a candidate for the position, according to multiple team sources, who requested anonymity because the Lions have not finalized their plans.
In addition to Reynolds, chief of staff Kevin Anderson has also taken on a larger role. A background presence in his two years with the organization, he’s been more visible this offseason, working as a gatekeeper for coach Matt Patricia, a role previously performed by Keenist.
Anderson and Patricia have a personal relationship, dating back to a decade spent together working for the New England Patriots.
Three sources independently confirmed Keenist was approached about a position switch weeks before The Detroit News published a report about a 1996 sexual assault case against Patricia that wasn’t tried.
Keenist joined the Lions in 1985 as assistant public relations director. He was promoted to public relations director in 1987 and earned his vice president title in 1994.