It was only a month ago when the Detroit Lions announced that the organization had parted ways with long-time director of media relations Matt Barnhart. Over the weekend, the Lions made another significant change to their internal media relations staff.
As first reported by Jeff Moss of Detroit Sports Rag, Bill Keenist is out as the team’s Senior Vice President of Communication, a position he had held since 2001. However, Moss’ suggestion that Keenist was forced out of his position due to the Matt Patricia sexual assault allegation story from the Detroit News appears to be unfounded. Both the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News are reporting that Keenist’s transition had been in the works for weeks before that story dropped.
Keenist’s position hasn’t been filled yet, but former Patriots director of player development Kevin Anderson was given a promotion to “Chief of Staff - Head Coach Administration” this offseason as a part of the ongoing changes made within the organization. Justin Rogers is reporting that Anderson has already taken on a few roles that Keenist previous held, like the “gatekeeper for coach Matt Patricia.”
As for Keenist, he won’t be leaving the team entirely. He has been re-assigned to a historian role.
“I’m embracing this,” Keenist told the Detroit Free Press on Sunday. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity and I know how important it is to Mrs. (Martha Firestone) Ford and her family and to Rod (Wood) and the organization.”
The Lions have been going through some major changes ever since firing both general manager Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand back in 2015. The scouting department has been overhauled, as has the video operations staff, and (obviously) the coaching staff. Now it appears the media relations department is next on the franchise’s checklist.