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SBD/August 14, 2013/People and Pop CulturePrint All
NFL Panthers Dir of Community Relations RILEY FIELDS began working with the team during the '03 season, which ended with the franchise's only Super Bowl appearance. While Fields calls that year "magical and memorable," it is the day-to-day details behind initiatives such as bringing in Make-A-Wish honoree JACK BOLTON that really get him going. "At the end of the day, we're trying to create joy. When we get to be part of those types of experiences that we know have a profound impact on a child, or a family or a community, it's just a privilege to be able to do it," Fields said. THE DAILY caught up with the Charlotte native during a busy preseason and discussed the trick to finding a good employee, how Facebook helped build a new children's facility, and his pick for the best local BBQ.
What I'm looking for in a job candidate...
When hiring interns, I like to see if they have experience as a camp counselor, because that experience translates directly to a lot of our job functions. Talking in front of 600 kids at an elementary school can be a daunting task. But if you've been faced with a rainy day at camp, with 200 kids in the meal hall, and you've got to come up with a way to entertain them until it stops raining, that is great on-the-job training. Camp counselor experience is almost a gateway job to community relations.
Best advice I've ever received...
I've got three, and two are from my dad. First, "A man who chops his own firewood is twice warmed." Essentially, he’s telling me you get out of something what you put into it. Another is, "Inch by inch it's a cinch, and yard by yard it gets hard." With all the things that we’re involved with, and the level of details that we're responsible for, that’s something I think about all the time. The third is from (Panthers Owner) MR. RICHARDSON, who's said on more than one occasion, "Do the right thing." No matter what you’re doing, you know if you're doing the right thing.
Social media's impact on the job...
By virtue of Panthers fans dominating a league-wide "Back to Football" Facebook initiative, the team received a Play 60 grant from the NFL for a local Play 60 project. That funding acted as a catalyst to start a much larger project in motion that we're actually executing right now. We're building a Play 60 play space at Charlotte's Freedom Park, and it's like NFL Combine meets "AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR." There's nothing else like it.
What the sports industry needs more of...
Credit for the good things that sport does, and that the industry does. Not just from a community relations aspect, but also what sport does for the fabric of our society. Sport is a connector, a unifier, a bond builder in ways that it's hard to find something else that acts in that capacity. There are so many negative stories in the sports universe, I'd like to see more celebration of the impact that sport has on culture, nation, community, family. Something that inspires me is the collective energy of a stadium full of people, all there for the same purpose, unified in one direction. That is powerful.
Foodie finds in the Queen City...
For lunch it's got to be Sauceman's, and I'm a staunch traditionalist, so I go with barbecue, macaroni and cheese, and hush puppies. As for a hidden gem, as a native, I have allegiance to certain places, and one of them is The Roasting Company. It's unpretentious, and they do rotisserie chicken. They've got this stuff called jaco sauce, and wow, you've got to get the jaco sauce.
Best form of relaxation...
While she's still young enough to think that Dad is cool, it's going to the park with my daughter GRACIE, who is nine years old. Also, I really enjoy sprinting. It's something that I do individually, because I don't know that there are a lot of folks looking to sprint. Running a 5k has zero appeal to me, but going out and running forties, fifties and sixties, it gets my mind right.
Never miss an episode...
Monday nights on ESPN Classic, they've been showing re-runs of "BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS," and that is appointment television for me. You can see HOWARD COSELL calling play-by-play for these TV stars, interviewing TELLY SAVALAS, who's got his sunglasses on with an open-collared track suit, while smoking. It's a great snapshot back into the '70s, and it's nostalgic for me. One indisputable truth that I've learned is that if you're going up against SCOTT BAIO in the obstacle course, you're going down.
The Warriors named Universal Studios Hollywood VP & CFO JENNIFER CABALQUINTO CFO. She will begin tomorrow and report to President & COO RICK WELTS. Current CFO MARTY GLICK will remain with the club as Special Advisor to Ownership, with his primary responsibility being work on the team's proposed S.F. venue (Warriors).
CAMPUS CONNECTION: The Univ. of North Florida named Jacksonville Univ. Associate AD/Compliance DONNA KIRK Senior Associate AD/Compliance & Academics and Senior Woman Administrator (UNF)....The Univ. of Rhode Island named UMass Assistant AD & Exec Dir of the UMass Athletic Association GARRETT WALLER Associate AD/Development (URI)....Hofstra Univ. named Wagner College Assistant AD/Academics & Compliance JIM GIBBONS Associate AD/NCAA Education & Compliance Services (Hofstra).
EXECS: The Coyotes changed the title of President & COO MIKE NEALY to Strategic Advisor to the Chair & CEO "a week after the hockey team was purchased by new owners." Coyotes VP/Communications RICH NAIRN said that Nealy "is staying with the franchise" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/12)....Motorsports marketing agency JMI named RBS Head of Sponsorship in the U.K. CHRIS LONG VP/Client Services Int’l. He will begin in September out of the firm's London office (JMI)....Horse racing promotional agency Great British Racing Int’l named former Breeders' Cup Senior VP/Sales CARTER CARNEGIE Int'l Exec. Carnegie will be responsible for the "development and implementation of a strategic plan to attract new investment in British racing, primarily in bloodstock but also broader commercial investment" (BLOODHORSE.com, 8/13)....Sponsorship and brand experience agency Advantage Int’l named RPA Advertising VP & Dir of Market Planning MARK POZORSKI Dir of Strategic Planning (Advantage Int’l).
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USA TODAY's Nicole Auerbach profiles new Big East Commissioner VAL ACKERMAN, writing she is "attempting to prove that a basketball-centric college athletic conference can succeed in a football-dominated world." Ackerman "can't pinpoint one reason she decided to delve into her latest big project." The Big East "appealed to her because of its basketball focus and its roots as a powerhouse hoops conference." Ackerman said that she "hopes to find new potential revenue streams and that having the league based out of New York will help in that regard." She will "focus on short-term issues, such as scheduling, as well as long-term vision, such as innovative was to garner interest in the league or maintaining relationships with other commissioners and being involved in issues of NCAA governance" (USA TODAY, 8/14).
ROBERT'S RULES: Redskins QB ROBERT GRIFFIN III appears on the September cover of GQ. In excerpts not included in the story he said, "I don't smoke. I don't drink, I've never done any drugs. I need my body to be at its peak performance. ... I don't need to get in trouble because I went out and got drunk one night and I don't know how to be drunk." He added of gay players in the NFL, "I think there are (gay players) right now, and if they're looking for a window to come out, I mean, now is the window" (GQ.com, 8/13).
NAMES: Golf HOFer ANNIKA SORENSTAM will receive the Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America in February '14 (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 8/13)....MLS Sporting KC manager PETER VERMES will be inducted into the National Soccer HOF on Oct. 11 (KANSASCITY.com, 8/14)....Bengals TE JERMAINE GRESHAM recently donated $30,000 to his alma matter -- Ardmore High School in Oklahoma -- for new football team uniforms (NEWSOK.com, 8/13)....Knicks G IMAN SHUMPERT raps on MICHELLE OBAMA's new hip-hop album "PASS THE ROCK." The album is part of her Let's Move! Active Schools initiative, which "aims to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity" (ESPN.com, 8/13)....Former St. Louis-based WGNU-AM radio host JACK CLARK "has retained prominent St. Louis attorney CHET PLEBAN as legal counsel" for a possible suit by Angels 1B ALBERT PUJOLS (STLTODAY.com, 8/13).