SBD/January 21, 2011/People and Pop Culture

Names In The News

Close (left, with family) to be inducted into Michigan athletic department's Hall of Honor
In Michigan, Jeff Arnold profiled CAA agent CASEY CLOSE, whose "philosophy of fair-dealing ... and allowing his work -- not his name -- to do the talking has been paying off." Close will be inducted into the Univ. of Michigan athletic department's Hall of Honor Saturday, and he said, "There's been some great people out there in the business and there were guys to emulate, but I always wanted to do it my way. If you're going to have any amount of success, you ultimately need to choose your own path that fits in your personality and what you're all about." Arnold noted Close "remains content to fly under the radar while dealing with major leaguers playing at a level he always hoped to" (, 1/20).

MAKING IT TO THE BIG LEAGUES: In K.C., J. Brady McCollough noted most of new Univ. of Kansas AD SHEAHON ZENGER's ascension in sports "has occurred in the shadows, out of sight from the high-stakes world of major-college athletics." But that "changed when he got the KU job." Zenger's "dream job comes with serious tasks," as he "must rebuild the trust of KU donors and fans in the aftermath of a $2 million ticket scandal." Zenger said, "There's a need for nurturing within the department, and harmony, and trusting one another and believing in one another. The flip side of that coin is the fan base wanting to be reassured and connected to the department. Those two things are very similar to what I found at Illinois State six years ago." McCollough noted fan reaction to Zenger's hire "has been mixed." Most "laud the selection, which was vetted heavily for character concerns by KU's search committee, but others question Zenger's lack of BCS credentials, or his ties to Kansas State, where he earned his undergraduate and master's degrees" (K.C. STAR, 1/20).

NOT HORSING AROUND: In Louisville, Gregory Hall reports Churchill Downs Inc. "may be ready to settle its $15 million claim from Centaur, its former minority partner and the current owner of Hoosier Park in Anderson, Ind." When CDI sold Hoosier Park in '07, it was to receive $15M from Centaur "if the track got slot machines within a certain time frame." That requirement "was met, but Centaur filed for bankruptcy last March." CDI in a filing Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware said that it "has negotiated 'a fair and equitable' settlement with Centaur that has yet to be filed" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 1/21)....Fifth Third Bank "has sued prominent Thoroughbred breeder Gulf Coast Farms and related business entities, alleging the breeder defaulted on about" $15M in loans. Gulf Coast, which is headed by GERALD BAILEY and LANCE ROBINSON, was the "fourth-leading breeder in North America in 2010," with almost $5.6M in earnings (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 1/21).

NAMES: A Forbes report named the Town of Westlake, Texas, the “most affluent neighborhood in the country.” Some of the Dallas suburb’s residents include Rangers LF JOSH HAMILTON, Rangers Managing General Partner & CEO CHUCK GREENBERG, Blue Jays CF VERNON WELLS, Yankees 1B MARK TEIXEIRA and golfers K.J. CHOI and TODD HAMILTON. The smallest neighborhood to make Forbes' list was Popponesset Island, Mass. Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT owned a home there but “recently reportedly sold a big stake in the property to his son and daughter-in-law” (, 1/18)….Mets COO JEFF WILPON and four Mets players “participated in a series of drills” Thursday at the FDNY Training Academy on Randalls Island that included “forcibly entering a burning room, extinguishing a room fire and a car fire, climbing an aerial ladder, being rescued from a window” and dropping off a five-story building (, 1/20)....UFC fighter GEORGES ST-PIERRE has “parted ways with manager SHARI SPENCER,” a split described as “amicable.” Spencer helped St-Pierre “to some landmark sponsorship deals, including Under Armour and Gatorade” (CP, 1/20)….The Arizona Sports HOF on March 31 will welcome its ’11 class, including PBR President TY MURRAY, former MLBer CURT SCHILLING, Pro Football HOFer RANDALL MCDANIEL and Olympic gymnast KERRI STRUG (, 1/20).
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