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Former Univ. of Miami AD PAUL DEE passed away Saturday night at the age of 65 "after a recurrence of tongue cancer,” according to Michelle Kaufman of the MIAMI HERALD. Dee “presided over the Hurricanes athletic department with passion and patience" from '93-'08. He had served as the school’s General Counsel “for 12 years prior to becoming athletic director and stayed as a professor in the School of Education and Human Development during the past four years,” and was “due to retire on June 1.” Dee had “noticed a lump on his tongue a month ago, the cancer was aggressive and had spread, and he underwent surgery Monday.” He was “sedated all week and took a turn for the worse on Saturday.” Kaufman notes UM “won three team national titles during Dee’s tenure and the department benefited from more than $80 million in facility improvements, including the long-awaited $52 million on-campus basketball arena.” Funeral arrangements are pending, but tentatively set for Thursday morning at 10:00am ET at St. Augustine Church in Coral Gables, with a "reception to follow at the Newman Alumni Center on the UM campus” (MIAMI HERALD, 5/14). In West Palm Beach, Jorge Milian notes Dee’s “first order of business was to clean up a football program muddied by an NCAA investigation that led to harsh penalties and resulted in a famous 1995 Sports Illustrated cover story urging the school to drop football.” Former UM Senior Associate AD LARRY WAHL said that Dee is “among the most important figures in the university's sports history” (PALM BEACH POST, 5/14).
A number of sports figures participated in college graduations over the weekend, including Chargers QB PHILIP RIVERS delivering the commencement address at his alma mater N.C. State on Saturday at PNC Arena. In Raleigh, J.P. Giglio wrote Rivers gave “a heart-felt and inspired 11-and-a-half minute commencement speech.” Rivers said in his address, “What fires you up? Life is too short to just go through the motions. Discover your passion and do it to the best of your ability.” His speech also touched on "the importance of his family” (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 5/13)….Former NBA coach DON NELSON “returned to Iowa City to earn his bachelor’s degree in physical education” from the Univ. of Iowa, 50 years after he left the school for the NBA “just 10 credits shy of graduating.” Nelson received a “hearty ovation inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena during the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences commencement” (IOWA CITY PRESS-CITIZEN, 5/13)….NBA Kings Assistant GM SHAREEF ABDUR-RAHIM today is expected to receive his degree in Sociology from the Univ. of California-Berkeley “with a 3.8 grade-point average” (SACBEE.com, 5/11)….Allegheny College during its commencement ceremonies Saturday “became the eighth institution” to present ARNOLD PALMER with an honorary doctorate (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 5/13).
PM Sports CEO CHARLIE PASARELL, whose company operates the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, announced Friday that he “has stepped down from management” of the event after 31 years. The day-to-day operations of the BNP Paribas Open and the Indian Wells Tennis Garden “will continue under the direction” of Tournament Dir & COO STEVE SIMON and Pasarell's “longtime business partner" RAYMOND MOORE, who reports directly to tournament Owner LARRY ELLISON. Pasarell said that he “will focus his full attention on Royal Isabela, a private golf resort he owns and developed” in his native Puerto Rico (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 5/12).
ON THE OUT: The CFL Montreal Alouettes on Friday announced that President & CEO RAY LALONDE is “leaving the organization for personal reasons.” Lalonde joined the Alouettes in March ‘11 and “implemented a new commercial strategy in time for last season” (CP, 5/11). In Montreal, Herb Zurkowsky wrote Lalonde’s departure is the “classic example of going from a good cop to a bad cop, passing the torch from the personable, quotable and visible LARRY SMITH to Lalonde, who earned a reputation as being arrogant and obtrusive during his years" as Canadiens VP/Marketing. Not only did Lalonde “feud with members of the administration office, he was at loggerheads with key members of the football operations department -- never a good omen.” Zurkowsky wrote Lalonde’s “ultimate sin was the team’s eroding bottom line.” Corporate sponsorship, which “totalled more than $6 million as recently as the 2007 season, now hovers at about $2.5 million,” and major sponsors, including Subway, Nissan and Discount, have “deserted the team.” Season-ticket sales “once were in the 18,000 range, higher when including corporate tickets,” but they currently are “slightly over 14,000.” Still, Alouettes BOD Chair PAUL HARRIS said of Lalonde, “He did some good things. He has excellent marketing skills. If he had stayed longer, you would have seen that.” Harris said that the organization will “be in no rush to find a successor.” Not only was Lalonde “under a personal services contract to [team Owner Robert] Wetenhall -- perhaps earning $400,000 annually -- senior executives remain in place to steer the ship.” Harris, the interim president between Smith and Lalonde, also “is available as a resource” (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 5/12).
EXECS: In this week’s SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports MLS named DAVID BRUCE Senior Dir/Brand & Integrated Marketing (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/14 issue)….Univision named Television Deportes Network CEO JUAN CARLOS RODRIGUEZ Univision Deportes President (Univision).
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In San Diego, Kevin Acee reported an estimated crowd of 20,000 attended a public memorial service for former NFLer JUNIOR SEAU at Qualcomm Stadium Friday night. Former Chargers DAN FOUTS, LADAINIAN TOMLINSON and BILLY RAY SMITH, along with former Chargers coach BOBBY ROSS and former NFLer JOHN LYNCH, spoke at the ceremony. Bills LBs KIRK MORRISON and SHAWNE MERRIMAN, who played for the Chargers, and Broncos Exec VP/Football Operations JOHN ELWAY also attended. Following the ceremony, Chargers President DEAN SPANOS announced that Seau's No. 55 had been retired by the team "and won't ever be worn again by a Chargers player" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 5/12).
DESERVED HONOR: Late NASCAR VP/Corporate Communications JIM HUNTER will be inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame this year. Hunter served as Darlington Raceway President from '93-'01 (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/13). In Columbia, Bob Spear writes of Hunter, “He was loyal and compassionate and tough, a teacher and counselor and promoter, one of the rare who influenced so many in a positive way. ... He was Darlington.” Spear: “If Jim Hunter had not come along at the pivotal point in the raceway’s history, stock-car racing’s first super-speedway -- which staged the first Southern 500 in 1950 -- would almost certainly be gone with the wind” (Columbia STATE, 5/14).
NAMES: Former NFLer JASON TAYLOR was recognized Friday night at the Orange Bowl Impact and Excellence awards for his charitable impact in the South Florida community. His foundation’s work with "other charitable organizations, as well as his Jason Taylor Reading Room, earned him the Orange Bowl Keith Tribble Impact Award.” Taylor was one of 11 honorees (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/12)....Former Jaguars Owners WAYNE and DELORES WEAVER made a $500,000 donation to support St. Vincent’s HealthCare’s newest hospital. Their “challenge for other donors to contribute matching funds brought in almost $1.2 million in additional funds” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 5/12)....The NBA fined Hawks co-Owner MICHAEL GEARON JR. $35,000 “for public criticism of officials and negative comments" about Celtics F KEVIN GARNETT (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 5/13)....Thunder PA announcer JIM MILLER was arrested Thursday night "on three felony counts of lewd or indecent acts with a child under 16.” Thunder VP DAN MAHONEY sent out a statement that read in part, “Due to the allegations and criminal case against him ... Mr. Miller has been removed from his duties as Thunder PA announcer” (NEWS9.com, 5/10).…Under Armour Chair, President & CEO KEVIN PLANK bought Sagmore Farm five years ago and “on Saturday, he hopes Tiger Walk will be the first horse from his Sagamore revival to start in the Preakness” (Baltimore SUN, 5/14).…Tennis player ROGER FEDERER yesterday received a framed “MEN IN BLACK” suit from actor WILL SMITH. Smith “is in Europe doing press for his new film, ‘MEN IN BLACK 3,’" and watched the finals of the Madrid Open with his wife, JADA. After the match, Smith "spoke to the crowd in surprisingly-good Spanish, then brought out a framed costume from the movie as a gift to Federer” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/13).