In this offseason, the D.C. Current have made some major personnel changes.
In addition to former Spinners GM Mark Evangelisto becoming a part owner of the Current, former GM Dusty Rhodes is moving on to another position within Major League Ultimate. “What a great job he did in the Current’s very successful first season,” says MLU Vice President Nic Darling. “While he’s moving on, we expect him to remain involved in a significant role with the league.”
Germantown, Maryland native Matt Dewhurst has been named the D.C. Current’s general manager for 2014. Dewhurst has a long and successful career in sports media, as well as a passion for Ultimate that began in his freshman year at Salisbury University. As a member of the club team Buzz, he met head coach Keven Moldenhauer.
After college, Matt fostered his love of sports with a career in sports journalism and digital media. As an employee of Universal Sports, he worked on the Beijing and Vancouver Olympic Games in conjunction with NBC Olympics. Eventually, he moved onto a similar digital media position with Comcast Sports NetMid-Atlantic where he covered Washington area sports. Currently, he works for Discovery Communications, home of the Discovery Channel.
Throughout his career, Dewhurst has continued to play recreational Ultimate in local leagues, including the Central Maryland Ultimate League (CMUA) and the Washington Area Frisbee Club (WAFC).
Matt continued playing Ultimate wherever his job took him — he was usually able to locate a pick-up game. “No matter how far away I got from the game with my career, Ultimate has a way of finding you.”
And Ultimate has found him once again, this time in a different role at the helm of the D.C. Current. “With my playing career long in the past I was looking for a way to get involved in the game in a different capacity,” says Dewhurst. “When the opportunity came to get involved with the D.C. Current, I simply couldn’t resist. It was career and sport finally crossing paths.”
Former owner of the Current, Mark Evangelisto comments, “Matt has all of the qualities I was looking for to take the reins as the general manager for the D.C. Current this season. His drive, energy and passion for the sport and this team were evident from the start.”
During the Current’s 2013 season, Matt experienced their first home game as one of the screaming fans. He describes that opening night as “an amazing experience” with “tons of fans, and [an] electric atmosphere.” After attending the next home game a few weeks later, he left feeling that he had watched some incredible Ultimate, but the fan experience could have been more exciting and engaging.
“Now that I’m on board, my goal is to not only have the best team on the field, but have the best fan experience off the field,” says Dewhurst. “We have a fantastic Ultimate community and fan base in D.C., and I want to see it grow so that not only the local frisbee heads are coming to check us out, but that they bring their friends, and their friends have such a great time they come back to the next game with more friends.”
This is one of the reasons Mark Evangelisto approved the hiring of Dewhurst. “While I’m very confident and excited for the changes we’ll make at the team level to build upon the successes of last season and bring the MLU Championship that was within our grasp here to D.C., our focus will also be on improving the fan experience,” says Evangelisto. “The games last season against the Spinners were exciting, competitive Ultimate played at its highest level, but lacked the full event experience for our fans. Matt and I have already started discussing areas where we fell short.”
Dewhurst and Evangelisto express a desire felt by many MLU teams, realizing the importance of a fan experience similar to those provided by other teams such as the Nighthawks. “I feel like the team grew over the course of 2013, and you really saw that in the last few games and playoffs,” says Dewhurst. “If we can learn from that, maybe add a piece here or there, we could have something really special. There’s too much talent on the roster and coaching staff for us not to be successful.”
Officially, he’s only been on the job for a few days now, but he’s already begun searching for a home field and laying the ground work for the 2014 season.
“I’m sure the next few weeks will be hectic but exciting, and before you know it, April will be here and it’s game time.”