SBJ/August 12 - 18, 2002/Labor Agents

O’Hagan builds up IMG’s roster from pro, college coaching ranks

IMG, which has been quietly building a major football and basketball coaches representation practice, has signed San Francisco 49ers coach Steve Mariucci for representation.

Mariucci will be represented by Gary O'Hagan, who was hired by the sports agency in December 2000 to start a practice focused on the increasingly lucrative business of representing coaches.

In the 20 months since arriving at IMG, O'Hagan has increased the company's list of coaching clients from four to 30. New clients include Philadelphia Phillies manager Larry Bowa, Oakland Raiders coach Bill Callahan, Jacksonville Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin, Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, Raiders defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan and New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy.

O'Hagan also has signed college football coaches, including Gary Barnett of Colorado and John L. Smith of Louisville and college basketball coaches, including Villanova coach Jay Wright and University of Ohio coach Tim O'Shea.

"We want to have some strong, established coaches to take advantage of all the different things that IMG can offer," O'Hagan said. "But we also want to be prepared for the future and sign coaches that we think over the next 10 to 20 years are going to grow and become superstars in college basketball, college football and the pro leagues."

O'Hagan's background is unusual for a sports agent. Most agents start young and learn the business from an older agent, or start with one client and add more clients and experience over time.

O'Hagan worked as a bond trader at Salomon Brothers before managing the U.S. financial trading business for Cargill Inc. His years of buying and selling bonds and other financial products give him an eye for what he calls "relative value pricing," which he is using as an agent for coaches. "You base opportunities and rewards off the relative value of the people you are dealing with," he said.

O'Hagan said it is a good time to be representing coaches, as many of the major sports leagues are attempting to restrict players salaries. "The coaching [market] is the one unregulated market," he said.

 BOXERS GET NO DECISION: Officials from the Association of Boxing Commissions, acting on the requests of boxers, approved a new regulation that would deem a fight a "no decision" if it is called as a result of an accidental foul in the first four rounds.

Previously, such fights were called technical draws, but that outcome besmirched the record of otherwise undefeated fighters, said Greg Sirb, past president of the ABC, which held its annual meeting two weeks ago. "We had a lot of boxers complain about it," he said. Judges will continue to go to the scorecards for fights of more than four rounds that are called on a foul.

Marc Ratner, ABC executive vice president, said technical draws generally occur when a fight is stopped early because of an accident such as a head butt. Some fighters could have their television contracts negotiated downward if they have a draw on their record, he said.

  BYARS GETS YES DEALS: Retired NFL running back Keith Byars has signed a deal with the YES Network to co-host a weekly taped NFL preview show with Giants running back Tiki Barber. Byars also will be on a Sunday night live weekly wrap-up show.

Mark Lepselter, president of Maxximum Marketing Inc., who also represents Barber, negotiated the deals.

Contact Liz Mullen at lmullen@-amcity.com.

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