Alumnus still working with Gorillas

  Tuesday, July 28, 2015 2:00 AM

Pittsburg, KS

Alumnus still working with Gorillas

The irony isn’t lost on Chris Mallory, BS ’01. This Gorilla alumnus, who as a student broadcaster spent a lot of time with Pittsburg State’s Gus Gorilla and the university’s athletics teams, is still hanging around with Gorillas.

In his job as director of community relations and player development for the Phoenix Suns, Mallory is responsible for the team’s mascot, which is a gorilla.

“It is funny,” Mallory said, “to think about my days here and what the Gorilla stood for and that Pittsburg State is the only university with a Gorilla mascot, and then to go into the professional world and find myself representing the only professional sport that has a gorilla mascot – it is pretty ironic.”

Mallory said that although it’s great that the Suns have a gorilla mascot, that wasn’t what led him to the team. Instead, it was a combination of serendipity and his own willingness to take a risk.

“I left a job in Denver and moved to Phoenix (in 2003),” Mallory said. “I just decided I wanted consistent weather. I put all my stuff in a U-Haul and moved to Phoenix with no job. I really didn’t know what I was going to do.”

Mallory, who said he has always had pretty good networking skills, reached out to a woman he knew who worked for the Suns. He sent in his resume and for months, didn’t hear anything. When an opening did occur, it was for an opening-level community relations person, a job that the Suns’ management thought might be a step backward for Mallory.

“I told them, ‘I don’t mind taking a step back, if I can take a big leap forward,’” Mallory said.

He got the job and over the years worked his way to the top spot in 2012.

This week, Mallory returned to PSU to show his wife, Mandy, and his children, Autzen and Brooklyn around the campus.

“It’s been fun to bring my family here and show them around,” Mallory said. “They’ve heard me tell lots of stories about this place.”

Despite the growth and the new and renovated buildings, Mallory said, it still feels like home.

“It’s changed and yet it hasn’t,” Mallory said. “I still see some familiar faces and places. There are a lot of great memories here.”



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