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STEVE SKINNER has joined IL-based Kemper Sports Management as VP/Corporate Development & Corporate Affairs (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/24)....ADAM BARRETT was promoted from VP/Finance to Exec VP of the Lipton Championships (TENNIS WEEK, 2/26)....DUANE MCLEAN was named the Seahawks VP/Ticket Sales & Services. McLean had been VP/Ticket Sales & Ticket Ops for the Lions (Seahawks)....Nike named VP/GM of Apparel Operations MATT WOLFF to replace Global VP Apparel STEPHEN GOMEZ (Nike)....STEVE SCHIFFMAN, VP/Strategic Marketing at NASCAR's N.Y. office, "is leaving within the next few months." NASCAR hasn't named a replacement, and "may split the job into separate functions" (BRANDWEEK, 2/23).
Patriots Founder BILLY SULLIVAN died yesterday in FL, of cancer at the age of 82. Sullivan was Sports Publicity Dir at his alma mater, BC, in the '30s; PR Dir of the NL Boston Braves; and leading founder of the Patriots franchise that joined the AFL in '59. The Sullivan family sold the Patriots in '88. In Boston, Marvin Pave writes that Sullivan "presided over the Patriots' affairs with an undeniable flair, such as naming the team's new home field in Foxborough after himself and his family" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/24). Columnist Dan Shaughnessy calls Sullivan "one of the most important sports and charity figures in the history of our region" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/24). In Providence, Jim Donaldson: "Bringing the Patriots to New England was not Sullivan's greatest sporting accomplishment. It was keeping them here" (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 2/24). Bill Parrillo: "His detractors considered him something of a buffoon, at times, and a meddler ... but there can be no questioning his loyalty to the region" (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 2/24). In N.Y., Frank Litsky writes that to some, Sullivan "will be remembered not for his role in the founding of the [AFL] ... but for his acrimonious lawsuit" against the NFL in the '90s (N.Y. TIMES, 2/24).
A "Page Six" report in the N.Y. POST says that MIKE TYSON "plans to sue" DON KING for "some of" the $112M he has earned in the six fights since his '95 prison release. Tyson will hold a press conference in N.Y. "in the next few days" to unveil a lawsuit (N.Y. POST, 2/24)....PBA Hall of Famer BRIAN VOSS was on hand last night for the premiere of Gramercy Pictures' "The Big Lebowski." The film stars JOHN GOODMAN and JEFF BRIDGES (PBA)....Nets F KEITH VAN HORN was profiled by John Feinstein in Sunday's N.Y. TIMES MAGAZINE: "Van Horn is almost certain to be a key figure in the N.B.A.'s post-Michael Jordan marketing strategy" (SUNDAY N.Y. TIMES MAGAZINE, 2/22)....BARRY BONDS, who owns a bagel franchise, said he is thinking about business after baseball. Bonds: "I want to be an entrepreneur. I want to help other athletes better manage themselves" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/23).