SBD/September 28, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Names In The News

The AP's Steve Megargee reported former Univ. of Tennessee Media Dir DEBBY JENNINGS has filed a lawsuit against the school and AD DAVE HART "alleging that age and sex discrimination led to her forced retirement from the school where she had worked for 35 years." In the lawsuit filed Thursday with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Jennings claims Hart and other athletic officials "wanted to remodel the athletic department as a 'good ol' boys' club while replacing her with a younger man." Jennings was "57 years old when she left her job in May as the university worked toward consolidating the men's and women's athletic departments." The suit alleges that "12 of the 15 employees laid of as part of the consolidation of the two athletic departments were female" (AP, 9/27).

ROLL TIDE: Univ. of Alabama men's basketball coach ANTHONY GRANT "has received a $100,000 raise and a one-year contract extension through 2019." Univ. system trustees "approved a raise" Thursday to $1.9M from Grant's deal in April '09. In addition, AD MAL MOORE's salary "goes from $588,500 to $620,000 but the deal still runs through June 30, 2014." Moore also "received a $125,000 raise two years ago" (AP, 9/27).

UNDER INVESTIGATION: The GLOBE & MAIL's Stueck & Bailey reported former VANOC CEO JOHN FURLONG is "defending himself against allegations that he abused native students more than 40 years ago" in British Columbia. The allegations were published in the Georgia Straight, where author LAURA ROBINSON "quotes several people who allege Mr. Furlong physically and verbally abused them at a school in Burns Lake, B.C., where he was teaching around the early 1970s." The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in a statement "confirmed it is investing the allegations" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/28).

JAZZ OF ALL TRADES: In Salt Lake City, Brian Smith profiles Jazz Exec VP, CFO & Assistant GM BOB HYDE. Smith writes Hyde is the person "who's seen it all for 27 seasons and is the second-longest tenured employee inside the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies." He is "rarely ever seen and almost never quoted," but Hyde is Jazz Exec VP/Basketball Operations & GM KEVIN O'CONNOR's "right-hand man." He is the team's "salary-cap guru, chief financial officer and Moneyball-believer rolled into one." While Hyde "swears his job and name don't merit mention, he's quietly become the most interesting -- and at times the most important -- person on the Millers' payroll." His cap "expertise will be essential during a season that could see Utah carry eight expiring contracts" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 9/28).

ZOMBIELAND: NASCAR driver KURT BUSCH has joined “several celebrities to benefit the American Red Cross by pretending to be a zombie in the organization’s new campaign.” The non-profit has “joined forced” with the AMC network to use the makeup artists from “The Walking Dead” for the blood-drive campaign. Other celebrities participating in the campaign include WHITNEY PORT, PETER JACKSON, AISHA TYLER, THE BLACK KEYS, JOEL MADDEN, MENA SUVARI, MARIA MENOUNOS, JIMMY SMITS, LAIRD HAMILTON and ELISABETH ROHM (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/27)

NAMES: Former WWE wrestler and Sports Legacy Institute President & CEO CHRISTOPHER NOWINSKI and ESPN MLS analyst TAYLOR TWELLMAN were at Suffolk Univ. in Boston on Thursday night for a forum about head injuries and athletics (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/28)....Cowboys Owner JERRY JONES will play himself in an upcoming episode of FX' "The League" (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 9/27)....IndyCar driver RYAN BRISCOE was in Indianapolis this week to tape an episode of Discovery Channel's "MythBusters" (INDYSTAR.com, 9/27)....Golfer MICHELLE WIE will lend her name to the Michelle Wie Hawaii State Junior Golf Association Tournament of Champions in December. Wie will “donate her time and collectibles, and match the first $10,000 in donations in an online fundraising campaign” (Honolulu STAR-ADVERTISER, 9/27)….Baseball HOFer WADE BOGGS announced his “support and part ownership” in developing youth baseball and softball fields in Oak Lawn, Iowa. He will “invest financially and teach clinics at the site” just outside of Dyersville, Iowa that was featured in the movie “Field of Dreams” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/28).

IN MEMORY: Former National Speed Sport News Editor CHRIS ECONOMAKI passed away Friday at the age of 91. Economaki began working for the publication at age 14 and held the Editor position for 60 years. He "worked races around the world for ABC through the 1983 season when he made the jump to CBS where he appeared through the mid 1990s." Economaki also worked "worldwide Formula One telecasts for ESPN in 1987 and 1988" (NATIONALSPEEDSPORTNEWS.com, 9/28). ESPN's David Newton writes Economaki was a "fixture for years at NASCAR events, and played a huge role in growing NASCAR's popularity" (ESPN.com, 9/28)....Hoosier Racing Tire Founder BOB NEWTON died Wednesday at his home in Plymouth at the age of 85. Newton founded the company in '57 to provide "high-quality, low-cost tires for Midwest racers." NASCAR driver TONY STEWART said that Newton "was key to the development of his career" (INDYSTAR.com, 9/27).
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