SBD/July 27, 2012/People and Pop Culture

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  • Suns President Brad Casper Resigns Less Than A Year In His Role

    Rowley will replace
    Casper as Suns President
    The Suns Thursday announced that BRAD CASPER has resigned as team President after less than a year on the job. Suns COO JASON ROWLEY replaces Casper as President. LON BABBY will continue serving as President of Basketball Operations for the franchise. Casper, who was hired last October to replace former Suns President RICK WELTS, said in a statement he left the Suns to pursue other business interests. Casper was hired by Suns Owner ROBERT SARVER after working as President & CEO of the Dial Corporation. Rowley was promoted to COO in October '11 after working for four years as general counsel for the team (John Lombardo, SportsBusiness Journal). The Suns said that Casper will "focus on serving on the board of directors of Grand Canyon University" (AP, 7/26). In Phoenix, Paul Coro notes Rowley, who has served as the Suns Exec VP & General Counsel for four years, was "promoted to executive vice president and served as interim president" before Sarver selected Casper to be president. At the time of Casper's selection, Rowley "received another promotion to chief operating officer." Rowley has been "in charge of game operations, broadcasting, legal affairs and arena operations." He was the "corporate counsel for automotive retailer Van Tuyl Group before coming to the Suns." As a lawyer with Snell and Wilmer, he "assisted Sarver's group with its 2004 purchase of the Suns" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/27).

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  • Executive Transactions

    Former NFL exec JIM STEEG is no longer on the advisory board of the fledgling USFL, which plans to launch next March. He joined in February this year, and at the time, USFL CEO JAIME CUADRA held out hope Steeg would join the league full-time. Steeg's name is no longer on the USFL website. He declined to comment for this story. Cuadra, who plans to start an eight-team league using the intellectual property of the old USFL, could not immediately be reached for comment. Steeg for 26 years ran special events for the NFL, including the Super Bowl, and in '04 became a Chargers exec before leaving that position in '10 (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal).

    PRESIDENTIAL APPEAL: NBCU has promoted Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic Senior VP & GM REBECCA O'SULLIVAN SCHULTE, CSN Bay Area VP & GM TED GRIGGS and CSN Philadelphia Senior VP & GM BRIAN MONIHAN to the role of President at their respective RSNs (NBCU).

    N.Y. POSTS: The Nets and Barclays Center have promoted the following: JEFF GEWIRTZ to Exec VP/Business Affairs & Chief Legal Officer; TRAVIS LEE to Creative Dir; ILLIANA BLACKSHEAR to Hospitality & Ticket Administrator; ABNER NEUFELD to Group & Arena Sales Dir; FRANK SULLIVAN to Exec Dir of Group & Arena Sales; CHRISTINE BOWNS to VIP Services Dir; JARED KAYE to Financial Analysis Manager; BEN COUCH to Interactive Marketing Manager; DARREN MEYER to Partnership Marketing Dir; and ADAR WELLINGTON to Entertainment Coordinator & Dance Team Coach (Nets)....The NFL Giants promoted KEN STERNFELD to Dir of Pro Personnel and DAVE GETTLEMAN to Senior Pro Personnel Analyst (Giants).

    EXECS: Colgate Univ. announced Senior Associate AD VICKY CHUN will assume the duties of interim AD effective Aug. 1, following the departure of AD DAVID ROACH on July 31 (Colgate)....The Univ. of Minnesota named VCU Deputy AD MIKE ELLIS Senior Associate AD/Administration (UM)....The Univ. of Miami named Univ. of Alabama Ticketing Dir BRENT CRANK Assistant AD/Ticket Operations (UM)....Allegany College of Maryland AD BOB KIRK announced his retirement (CUMBERLAND TIMES-NEWS, 7/25)....CBS Sports promoted STEVE KARASIK to Senior Coordinating Producer (CBS).

    Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to editorial@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

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  • Names In The News

    Norris plays a prominent role in Robert Griffin III's newest adidas spot

    AM LAW DAILY’s Brian Baxter profiled attorney TREMAYNE NORRIS, a “fifth-year IP associate at Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, D.C., who began taking acting classes just last year.” Norris plays a “prominent role” in a new adidas commercial featuring Redskins QB ROBERT GRIFFIN III. Norris was a TE for Morgan State Univ. and his “gridiron experience helped him overcome a relatively thin acting resume on his way to landing” the adidas gig. Norris said, "They were looking for ex-football players with college experience, and the shoot was on a weekend, so that made it even better for my schedule. This really was a once in a lifetime opportunity." Norris said that he “enjoyed working with Griffin and wasn't even aware that the commercial had begun airing until a security guard at Steptoe's offices pulled him aside one morning last week and asked him whether he was the same guy he saw on YouTube.” Norris: "I tried to keep it a secret, but I started getting calls and emails throughout the day. Everyone (at the firm) was really supportive and thought it was pretty cool" (AMERICANLAWYER.com, 7/26).

    HIGHER LEARNING: Golfer PHIL MICKELSON appeared live in-studio on “CBS This Morning” Thursday to promote his Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, which helps teachers understand math and science. Mickelson said he and his wife, AMY, are “very passionate about math and science and we understand the important role that it plays in keeping America great and helping us compete on an international scale.” Mickelson: “We’ve partnered with ExxonMobil to create this teachers’ academy where we give the third through fifth grade teachers new innovative techniques to inspire their kids in the math and sciences” (“CBS This Morning,” CBS, 7/26).

    SHE'S A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY: NASCAR driver DANICA PATRICK appears in the new video of country singer MIRANDA LAMBERT's song “The Fastest Girl In Town.” Patrick said from the set of the video, “It’s kind of like a ‘Thelma and Louise’-themed video where Miranda and I are partners in crime and I play sort of like the getaway driver. We pull up to a bar, we may have sort of used our femininity to distract the boys, grab some keys, slide out the backdoor and take off with the car” (“NASCAR Now,” ESPN2, 7/26).

    PAPER BOY: In New Orleans, Jaquetta White reported Saints and Hornets Owner TOM BENSON is “interested in adding The Times-Picayune to his stable of businesses.” In a July 25 letter to Advance Publications Chair STEVE NEWHOUSE, who is a member of the family that owns the paper, Benson “seeks a meeting to discuss purchasing the paper with a group of investors.” But Newhouse on Thursday reiterated that the company “will not entertain an offer to sell the newspaper” (NOLA.com, 7/26).

    NAMES: Jacksonville Mayor ALVIN BROWN announced that the Univ. of Florida’s season-opening Navy-Marine Corps Classic against Georgetown on Nov. 9 “will be played on the USS Bataan at Naval Station Mayport” (GATORZONE.com, 7/25)….Yankees 2B ROBINSON CANO and P DAVID ROBERTSON each "accepted donation checks of $25,000” from Double-A Eastern League Trenton Thunder Team Chiropractor and MVP (Medicine Via Philanthropy) Foundation creator DR. THOMAS HAVERON prior to Thursday’s game against the Harrisburg Senators. The two donated the money to their charities. Cano's RC24 Foundation provides “gifts for disadvantaged youth in the Dominican, while Robertson’s High Socks for Hope was started in 2011 to benefit tornado victims in his home state of Alabama (TRENTON TIMES, 7/27)….NFL Panthers WR STEVE SMITH, who “has no specific connection to the Aurora community,” has pledged to “donate $100,000 to ease the burden of those who are carrying on” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/26).

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