Women’s Basketball Names Melissa Franko Director of Basketball Operations
Aug. 5, 2015
PITTSBURGH - Duquesne women's head basketball coach Dan Burt announced today that Duquesne alum Melissa Franko will serve as director of basketball operations. Franko, who graduated in 1995, returned to the Bluff last season as the Dukes’ graduate assistant while earning her MBA.
"I'm looking forward to continuing to build my relationships with the student-athletes and fans of our women's basketball program,” said Franko. “It's an exciting time to be a part of one the most successful Division I teams of the last decade.”
Franko has over 20 years experience in marketing, event planning, fundraising, media and event production industries. She has helmed her own consulting firm since 2008 where she guides and supports arts, medical and community non-profits (including current clients Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh Opera, Global Links and most recently, first-time events EverPower Earth Day Festival and Picklesburgh) and handles publicity efforts and website management for several performing artists.
The scope of her work has fostered trustworthy relationships with countless Pittsburgh sports celebrities past and present including Franco Harris, Charlie Batch, Bob Friend and Phil Bourque in Pittsburgh Opera's rendition of AIDA.
Additionally, she has also lent her hand to efforts such as the Hurricane Sandy Relief Concert at Madison Square Garden in 2012 (raising over $70 million worldwide), serves on the Lupus Foundation of Pennsylvania's State Board of Directors, and is widely regarded as one the top networkers in Pittsburgh.
Her duties for the team will encompass the Sidelines Coaches Program, volunteer and team building activities, social media marketing, promotional initiatives, player internships and job placement, and player alumni Interaction.
Prior to starting her own business, Melissa spent five years as the Marketing Director of WYEP, one of the top National Public Radio Triple-A Music stations in the country. She began her career as a Marketing Coordinator in the tradeshow industry, working on some of the largest conventions in the US.
As a student at Duquesne, she received the prestigious Senior Award for her many contributions to the school including serving as Commuter Council Vice-President, Orientation Publications Chair and being member of the Student Advisory Committee. Franko was also on the 1993 Duquesne Homecoming Court.
“Melissa brings a different perspective to our basketball program,” said Burt. “At 4-11, she has never been much of a basketball player, but Melissa has been a thoughtful and engaged Duquesne alumnus for the past 20 years. The lack of a jump shot is made up for with successful event management experiences. Her ability to engage people from all backgrounds will benefit not only our student-athletes but our entire athletic department. We are getting a media and marketing professional who will be a big part of us moving the Duquesne women's basketball brand forward in the coming years.”