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NBA Exec VP/Events SKI AUSTIN is leaving the league. Austin will step down from his position on Oct. 3 after 25 years with the NBA. He joined the NBA in '89 and was named to his current position in '06. No replacement had been named, and Austin will remain involved with the NBA as a consultant and adviser. According to the NBA, Austin has produced more than 250 major events, including 25 All-Star events. He is also credited with the NBA Jam Session, which debuted in '93. “Ski’s vision and expertise have led to tremendous growth in the scope of our events during the past 25 years,” said NBA Commissioner ADAM SILVER in a statement. “We are thankful for his extraordinary contributions during a distinguished NBA career and are fortunate that he will continue to be involved as an adviser for NBA events.”
Utah State Univ. booster JIM LAUB and Univ. of Utah boosters SPENCE ECCLES and JON HUNTSMAN SR. "share the billing as the co-Most Influential Person in Utah Sports" in '14, according to Kurt Kragthorpe of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. Laub provided the "lead gift for USU’s Wayne Estes Center, Eccles helped to fund Utah’s Spence and Cleone Eccles Football Center and Huntsman was instrumental in the development of the Utes’ Jon M. and Karen Huntsman Basketball Center, scheduled to open next spring." The building boom has become "one of the biggest stories in collegiate athletics in the state." USU AD SCOTT BARNES said with the school administration, Laub "picks his spots" in making suggestions and is insightful. Utah AD CHRIS HILL said, similarly, Eccles and Huntsman are "very passionate ... and they’re just like everybody else -- when the Utes are playing, they want us to win. At the same time, they know we have jobs to do, and they’re supportive" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 8/11).RANK
PERSON POSITIONt-1 Jim Laub Utah State boostert-1 Spence Eccles Utah boostert-1 Jon Huntsman Sr. Utah booster2 Dennis Lindsey Jazz GM3 Scott Barnes Utah State AD4 Bronco Mendenhall BYU football coach5 Kyle Whittingham Utah football coacht-6 Gail Miller Miller Sports Properties (Jazz)t-6 Greg Miller Miller Sports Properties (Jazz)t-6 Steve Miller Miller Sports Properties (Jazz)7 Dell Loy Hansen Real Salt Lake Owner8 Gordon Hayward Jazz G9 Chris Hill Utah AD10 Tom Holmoe BYU ADt-11 Joss Christensen Olympic skiert-11 Ted Ligety Olympic skiert-11 Sage Kotsenburg Olympic snowboarder12 Kyle Beckerman Real Salt Lake MF13 Larry Krystkowiak Utah men's basketball coach14 Garth Lagerwey Real Salt Lake GM15 Noelle Pikus-Pace Olympic skeleton racer16 Bill Manning Real Salt Lake President17 Jeff Robbins Utah Sports Commission CEO18 Dave Rose BYU men's basketball coach19 Quin Snyder Jazz coach20 Kaycee Field Rodeo champion21 Rob Kuff UHSAA Exec Dir22 Quincy Lewis Lone Peak (HS) basketball coach23 Greg & Megan Marsden Utah gymnastic coaches24 Matt Wells Utah State football coach25 Trevor Lewis NHL Kings C
Giants WR VICTOR CRUZ “dumped a bucket of ice water on his head at home on Sunday” and then challenged Giants co-Owners JOHN MARA and STEVE TISCH to do the same as part of the “social media craze that raises awareness” for Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), according to Zach Schonbrun of the N.Y. TIMES. Just before practice yesterday, Mara, “wearing a white Giants T-shirt and black shorts, allowed Cruz to dump a Gatorade tub filled with ice water over his head” as part of the Ice Bucket Challenge. Before doing so, Mara “nominated” Jets Owner WOODY JOHNSON, Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT and Patriots coach BILL BELICHICK “to do the same.” Mara’s video was “posted on the Giants’ team website” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/12). Belichick yesterday said, “I plan on doing something with it. We’ll take care of it.” He added, “I know there’s a lot of people who would like to dump ice water on me” (“Dale & Holley,” WEEI-FM, 8/11).
GOODELL GETS IN ON THE ACTION: NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL this morning posted a video on his Twitter account showing him taking the Ice Bucket Challenge. Goodell is standing in a driveway and says, "I want to thank SCOTT FUJITA for nominating me for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I'm honored to accept the challenge and make a donation on behalf of Team Gleason. When I dry off from this, I'm going to challenge PETE CARROLL and MICHAEL STRAHAN. After dumping a bucket over his head, Goodell said, "OK coach, you're on. Strahan, you're on, baby" (TWITTER.com, 8/12).
ICE IN THEIR VEINS: In Baltimore, Jon Meoli notes Orioles manager BUCK SHOWALTER, Ravens coach JOHN HARBAUGH, GM OZZIE NEWSOME and K JUSTIN TUCKER have “all completed the challenge” in recent days. Harbaugh and the Ravens front office were “called out” by NFL Jets coach REX RYAN. Harbaugh then “called out his whole family,” plus Ravens Owner STEVE BISCIOTTI (Baltimore SUN, 8/12). Devils and 76ers CEO SCOTT O'NEIL accepted the challenge after being challenged by JIM LEONARD, the Senior VP/Community Investment for both teams (YOUTUBE.com, 8/12)....NFL Cardinals coach BRUCE ARIANS “accepted the challenge” from Virginia Tech football coach FRANK BEAMER. Arians, who was “doused with two Gatorade jugs of ice water” by Cardinals WR LARRY FITZGERALD and QB CARSON PALMER, issued the challenge to Steelers QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER and coach MIKE TOMLIN (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/12). In Milwaukee, Katie DeLong noted Packers QB AARON RODGERS yesterday “accepted” a challenge from Brewers C JONATHAN LUCROY. Lucroy completed the challenge alongside Brewers P KYLE LOHSE and CF CARLOS GOMEZ after the trio was challenged by LF RYAN BRAUN (FOX6NOW.com, 8/11). In Montreal, Brenda Branswell noted the list of Ice Bucket Challenge participants in the NHL community includes Penguins C SIDNEY CROSBY, Lightning coach JON COOPER, Canadiens G DUSTIN TOKARSKI, D NATHAN BEAULIEU, “many in the Bruins organization” and Islanders mascot Sparky (Montreal GAZETTE, 8/11). YAHOO SPORTS’ Harrison Mooney notes “rather than nominate two friends,” Islanders C MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI and LW NIKOLAI KULEMIN “nominated two foes” in Maple Leafs coach RANDY CARLYLE and GM DAVE NONIS (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/10).
The Bucks named ALEXANDER LASRY VP/Strategy & Operations. He is the son of Bucks co-Owner MARC LASRY. Alexander had previous stints at Goldman Sachs and The White House (JSONLINE.com, 8/11)....Oregon State Univ. named City of Corvallis City Manager & CEO JIM PATTERSON Senior Associate AD & Senior Dir of Development (OSU)....Alcorn State Univ. named Florida A&M AD DEREK HORNE to the same position (ASU)....Virginia State Univ. named Jackson State Univ. Assistant Manager of Media Relations JOHN WESTBROOK Sports Information & Marketing Dir (VSU)....The Pro Football HOF named RANDALL HUNT Chair of the BOT, succeeding THOMAS SCHERVISH, who is stepping down after six years. The BOT also appointed DENNIS NASH Vice Chair (Pro Football HOF).
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Colorado State Univ. is now home to the “highest paid football, men’s basketball and volleyball coaches in the Mountain West.” CSU football coach JIM MCELWAIN, volleyball coach TOM HILBERT and women’s basketball coach RYUN WILLIAMS “all received five-year contract extensions and raises,” only days after AD JACK GRAHAM was fired. McElwain’s base salary goes from $1.35M to $1.5M, “with $150,000 in bonuses built in” if CSU has a passing APR score “and no major NCAA violations.” Hilbert’s contract, “which was signed in January, locks him in” with CSU until ’18 and gives him a base salary of $200,000. Williams “now makes a salary of $215,000 a year with an initial buyout” of $1.075M (Ft. Collins COLORADOAN, 8/12).
CZECH MATE: Tennis player PETRA KVITOVA “has signed a management deal” with IMG, joining “a roster of Grand Slam tennis champions” that includes MARIA SHARAPOVA and LI NA. Kvitova “has been guided by her Czech business manager MIROSLAV CERNOSEK and will continue to work with M-Sport Services in the Czech Republic in collaboration with IMG” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 8/11).
NAMES: USC football radio commentator PETE ARBOGAST will be inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters HOF on Jan. 26 (RECORDERONLINE.com, 8/9)....ESPN Exec VP & CFO CHRISTINE DRIESSEN is the recipient of the Women In Cable Telecommunications’ Woman of the Year award for ’14. The award recognizes women who have “made increasingly significant contributions” to their companies and the overall cable telecom industry (CABLEFAX DAILY, 8/12 issue)....Giants WR VICTOR CRUZ and NHL Rangers G HENRIK LUNDQVIST were named to Vanity Fair’s Int'l Best-Dressed List (VANITY FAIR, 9/ '14 issue)....Actor JUDGE REINHOLD will portray late college basketball coach DON MEYER in a movie that “begins filming” today at Lipscomb Univ. The “target date for release” is March ’15 (TENNESSEAN.com, 8/11)....UFC fighter CAIN VELASQUEZ listed his 5,100-square-foot Gilroy, Calif., home for $1.69M (LATIMES.com, 8/11)....NBC soccer analyst KYLE MARTINO and his wife EVA announced the birth of their daughter MARLOWE (THE DAILY)....ESPN's TONY REALI on Saturday became the father of FRANCESCA ZAHRA REALI ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 8/11).