Pacers name new PR chief to replace retiring Bill Benner

Pacers Sports & Entertainment has named a new corporate communications director to succeed longtime local sports fixture Bill Benner, the parent organization of the Indiana Pacers announced Wednesday afternoon.

Fishers native Brent Rockwood, a graduate of Butler University, assumes the title of senior vice president for corporate, community and public relations for Pacers Sports & Entertainment.

Rockwood will begin his job with the Pacers on April 2 after leaving energy company QEP Resources Inc. in Denver as its director of corporate communications and community partnerships.

Benner, however, will remain with the organization, as director of the Pacers Foundation.

Benner is concluding a 50-year career that includes 33 years as a sportswriter and columnist at The Indianapolis Star, followed by executive positions with the Indiana Sports Corp., Visit Indy and Horizon League. He kept his hand in sports journalism as a weekly columnist for IBJ until late 2013, when he joined Pacers Sports & Entertainment.

Benner was inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame last year.

“Bill Benner is as good as there is in the business and has for nearly 50 years served our state and city with the highest regard,” Pacers Sports & Entertainment President Rick Fuson said in a written statement. “We are so grateful Bill has been an integral part of our PS&E effort and look forward to him continuing to lead our foundation and many civic efforts.”

Rockwood, who was chosen after a national search, said in a statement he is “absolutely thrilled” to be joining Pacers Sports & Entertainment and returning home to Indiana.

“Not only does PS&E offer the best in sports and entertainment, but it also has a special relationship with the local community through its leadership, service and giving," he said. "As a native Hoosier, I am excited to build on this strong foundation, and I look forward to a bright future of serving the community."

Benner said he is looking forward to “semi-retirement” and spending more time traveling with his wife and enjoying their family.

“My time with Pacers Sports & Entertainment has been the ultimate culmination of my professional career,” he said.

Rockwood has spent 17 years in the communications field, working in the energy, health care and not-for-profit sectors. At QEP Resources, he was responsible for corporate, community and media relations.

He previously worked as director of public and government affairs and manager of investor relations for Devon Energy in Oklahoma City. Rockwood began his career at Eli Lilly and Co., working in a variety of sales and marketing roles in Indianapolis

Rockwood holds a bachelor’s degree from Butler University, where he played basketball for the Bulldogs during the 1996-1997 season. He earned a master’s degree from Harvard Business School.   

Rockwood and his wife, Angie, have four children.

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