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Lavielle Leaving To
Pursue Other Opportunities
Thayer Lavielle has resigned her position as VP/Marketing & Brand Development at Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s race team, JR Motorsports. JRM's GM and Earnhardt's sister, Kelley Earnhardt, confirmed this morning that Lavielle resigned to pursue other opportunities. JRM VP/Licensing Joe Mattes will assume Lavielle's marketing duties. Kelley Earnhardt will take on a larger role in the pursuit of sponsorship and marketing opportunities as well, she said. Kelley Earnhardt said she is evaluating whether to fill Lavielle's brand manager role or to hire someone with more of a sponsorship sales focus. Lavielle joined JRM in '06 as the first-ever brand manager for Earnhardt Jr. and his team, which fields cars in the Nationwide Series. Prior to joining JRM, Lavielle worked in L'Oreal's N.Y. office as Assistant VP/Promotional Marketing.
Mariners VP & Associate GM LEE PELEKOUDAS has resigned to "pursue other opportunities." Pelekoudas handled interim GM duties for the team last fall (SEATTLETIMES.com, 9/1)….United Soccer Leagues (USL) announced a management restructuring after its acquisition by NuRock Soccer Holdings from Nike. NuRock Chair ROB HOSKINS will serve as USL Chair, and NuRock CEO & Managing Partner ALEC PAPADAKIS will serve as USL CEO. USL Exec VP & COO TIM HOLT was named President and USL Founder FRANCISCO MARCOS was named President Emeritus & Senior Dir of Int'l Development (USL)....The AHL promoted BILL SCOTT to Dir of Hockey Operations (AHL)....Turnkey Sports named MICHAEL KOCH and MICHAEL SULLIVAN Application Developers (Turnkey).
COLLEGES: The A-10 Conference promoted the following: STEPHEN HAUG to Assistant Commissioner for Media Relations & Communications, ANNMARIE PERSON to Dir of New Media & Internet, BRAD JONES to Dir of Championships, and ED PASQUE to Associate Commissioner. Haug will continue to serve as the conference's media liaison for men's basketball. Pasque will be responsible for men's basketball scheduling, brand expansion and policy development (A-10)….Florida Atlantic Univ. named JARED SMITH Assistant Dir of Media Relations & Web Development (SPORTING NEWS TODAY, 9/1)….The Univ. of Kansas named GALE SAYERS Dir of Fundraising for Special Projects (CAMPUSCORNER.com, 8/31).
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MASTER AND COMMANDER: HOOPSWORLD.com's Steve Kyler ranked the Top 55 most influential people in basketball, topped by NBA Commissioner DAVID STERN, who has "shaped what was a fledgling sports league in 1984 into what is today the third-most popular sports league" in the U.S. ESPN/ABC Sports President GEORGE BODENHEIMER ranks second on the list, followed by Cavaliers F LEBRON JAMES, NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO ADAM SILVER and NCAA President MYLES BRAND (HOOPSWORLD.com, 8/28).
HONOR ROLL: Titans Owner and AFL co-Founder BUD ADAMS will be part of a 10-member class inducted into the Texas Sports HOF in February at Baylor Univ.'s Ferrell Center (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/2)....The Sporting Goods Industry HOF in a May ceremony will induct former T.W. Promotions President BILL FARRELL, The Forzani Group Founder & Chair JOHN FORZANI and Schutt Sports' JULIE and KEN NIMMONS (National Sporting Goods Association).
SWINGING FOR THE FENCES: Last night's edition of ABC's "Shaq Vs." featured Cavaliers C SHAQUILLE O’NEAL competing with MLB Cardinals 1B ALBERT PUJOLS in a Home Run Derby at T.R. Hughes Stadium in O'Fallon, Missouri. Former MLBer JOHN MABRY gave O'Neal some hitting lessons, after which O'Neal said, "Baseball ain't no joke. Now I see why you guys get paid the big bucks. Now I understand RODRIGUEZ, JETER, Pujols." Pujols beat O'Neal 16-10, even though O'Neal was hitting to a shorter fence ("Shaq Vs.," ABC, 9/1).
Vermeil Opens Winery
In Napa Valley