RICHMOND, Va. – In another move to strengthen the national brand of its athletics programs, VCU Interim Director of Athletics Dave Benedict today announced the promotion of Mike Ellis to Deputy Athletics Director, effectively immediately.

As deputy athletics director, Ellis will be closely involved with strategic planning of the athletic department as well as oversee the growth of the Rams’ national brand, through marketing, development, fundraising and communications.

“Mike has been an invaluable member of the VCU family for over 20 years. He is a talented administrator with a unique ability to develop meaningful and productive relationships with coaches, staff and VCU stakeholders,” Benedict said. “In addition, his previous coaching experience coupled with his leadership of Villa 7, provides VCU with an enormous advantage to maintain and build our national brand. Mike’s new role will utilize all of his skill set and years of experience.”

After gaining valuable experience working as a student manager under Dean Smith at North Carolina, Ellis came to VCU and served 13 years as a member of the men’s basketball coaching staff.

The Butner, N.C. native then transitioned into the administrative ranks serving as a liaison for many of the VCU coaching staffs as well as being a key member of the fundraising and development area of the athletic department.

In addition, Ellis is the creator and current Director of the Villa 7 Consortium, run in conjunction with Nike. Villa 7 has become one of the most talked about events in college basketball, bringing together the top assistant coaches with athletic directors from every part of the country.

Nearly 100 assistant coaches have landed Division I head coaching jobs thanks to the assistance of the Villa 7 program.

“Mike Ellis is one of the most influential men in college basketball,” ESPN Analyst Doug Gottlieb said.

Ellis also lends his coaching and basketball knowledge to the Ram Radio broadcasts as the color analyst for all the men’s basketball home and away contests.