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SBJ/20081117/Faces & Places
Published November 17, 2008
On the day after getting promoted to COO of the WWE, Donna Goldsmith compared Vince McMahon and David Stern. She has the experience. After 10 years at the NBA, she left her vice president position in 2000 to join what was then the WWF. “I’ve worked for strong leaders for the past 18 years. People would be surprised, but David and Vince are remarkably similar. They will probably hate me for saying that. Both are brilliant, powerful men with strong personalities. Vince operates from his creative gut; David is more cerebral, logical. Both expect their people to work hard and to have the passion they have.” Goldsmith said the atmosphere at the NBA was more structured. “It’s less structured here, and we work a lot faster.” When freed from what she calls “the daily craziness,” Goldsmith is a Broadway patron and a “musical theater geek.” The last show she saw was “Billy Elliot.” “It was amazing.” She also loves soap operas. She maintains her AFTRA union card and has been an extra on “Guiding Light,” “General Hospital” and “All My Children.” “I enjoy soaps. If you think about it, the WWE is a soap opera.”
Last year, Meredith Whitney, a financial analyst, issued a pessimistic report on Citigroup that rocked its stock. Some estimated the slide at more than a billion dollars. Immediately afterward, she received phone and mail threats. Her concerned husband, WWE wrestler John Bradshaw Layfield, wouldn’t leave her side. On the anniversary of that report, JBL said, “The threats are history; enormous respect remains.” She is listed by Forbes among the best analysts and was Fortune’s cover girl in August. “She moves markets. Now the only thing I’m afraid of is I’ll lose her to work. She’s on the other phone right now with Warren Buffett.” The Wall Street star and the wrestling star, whose character in WWE’s “Raw” is a Texas businessman, are both regulars on business television, including Fox’s “Cavuto on Business.” Layfield owns eight companies; his newest is a nutrition drink, Layfield Energy. From the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, where he takes his parents, Lavelle and Mary Layfield, every year on their anniversary, he said his father is a West Texas bank CEO and a weekend minister. When Meredith and John married in February 2005 on the beach in Key West, Lavelle performed the ceremony.
After 20 years at Comcast-Spectacor, Frank Miceli rode off into the sunset. Literally. President Peter Luukko arranged for cowboy boots, a Stetson hat, even a horse — everything save the spurs — for Miceli’s going-away party. He’s going west to become senior vice president of marketing for the Spurs.
When Beth Ostrosky crossed the finish line (4:15:39) at the ING New York City Marathon, her new husband, Howard Stern, met her with a hug. Actor Ryan Reynolds and former athletes Brandi Chastain and Kerri Strug had better times, but not so for former English soccer star Geoff Thomas and former Tour de France champ Stephen Roche. … Execs from the Belfast City Marathon, Richard McCormick, Claire O’Reilly, Andrew Sloan and Kathryn O’Reilly, were at the expo associated with the New York race to promote what they call the fastest-growing marathon in the world.
Pete Seiler, who attended the Orange Bowl kickoff party with his son Jack, told stories of the early days after his father, Earnie, founded the bowl. As a kid, Pete once had to hold two plugs together for lighting at the parade viewing stand. “Once” said Pete, “Dad had to haul a donkey from Miami Beach to the downtown Miami parade in the back seat of a convertible because we didn’t have the money for proper transportation.”
Lou Holtz is a walking quote machine who mixes insight with color and humor. But when talking about Beth, his wife of 47 years, he takes it to another level. And that’s what he wanted to do after Beth was awarded her own monogram from Notre Dame for her charity work in South Bend and Columbia, S.C. “Because of Beth, I became a college coach rather than a high school coach. In 1960, I was set to take an assistant high school coaching job in East Liverpool, Ohio, when I found out that Beth had eyes for another guy. She broke up with me at 9 and by 10:30 I was driving to Iowa City.” He became an assistant at Iowa. He and Beth reconciled and married the following summer. They live in Orlando now, but have moved 16 times over his career. “She’s done charity work in every place. But in South Bend she was sick herself with stage-four throat cancer. She was given a 10 percent chance of living. She went from to 129 to 89 pounds. She had surgery that lasted 13 hours and had 83 radiation treatments. Yet whenever she could, she helped others. I’m proud of her. She could have been successful at anything. And when people hear of her charity work even when she was ill, they get inspired.” … The executive director of Notre Dame’s Monogram Club from 1978 to 2002, the Rev. James Riehle, passed away. He was UND’s athletics chaplain for three decades.
John Genzale can be reached at email@example.com.