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DAN WASSERMAN, an attorney/writer who contributed legal reports to WFAN, NewSport and recently, the Newark Star- Ledger, is the new Communications Dir of the NBPA (NEWSDAY, 10/10)....The Nashville NHL expansion team named GERRY HALPER VP/Communications & Development. Halper has been involved in the NHL since '79 (Nashville NHL)....JOHNNY CAPELS, the current U.S. Auto Club Competition Dir, "will move up" to USAC President & CEO in December. Capels was elected to succeed DICK KING by the Board of Dir. King will remain as Vice Chair of the USAC Board. MIKE DEVIN, Technical Dir since '92, succeeds Capels as Competition Dir (ESPN SportsZone, 10/9)....The Southern League announced a three-year contract renewal for league President & General Counsel ARNOLD FIELKOW (Southern League).
"First Time," part of the "Nickelodeon Sports Theater With SHAQUILLE O'NEAL" series, will air Saturday at 9:00pm ET/PT. The program is narrated by O'Neal, who is also one of the co-producers. The First Time episode is produced by MICHAEL TOLLIN & BRIAN ROBBINS, who produce HBO's "Arli$$" (Nickelodeon). In L.A., Larry Stewart: "Need a lift? This one-hour dramatic special should do it" (L.A. TIMES, 10/9). ...John Feinstein, on DEAN SMITH: "Dean Smith could have made a lot more money than he did, but he turned down endorsement opportunities. ... He was always outspoken on behalf of the players, and that's gotten lost a little bit in this rush for all these coaches to have their fancy suits and their endorsement contracts the last few years" ("Newshour With Jim Lehrer," PBS, 10/9)....The body of DON LEVENTHAL, who wrote the NBA Draft Report and contributed to ESPN SportsZone, was found Thursday in Philadelphia, after an apparent suicide (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/10).