SBJ/20090629/Faces & Places
Published June 29, 2009
Edwin Moses had spent two weeks beating a path around the world as chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, which promotes sport as a tool for social change. He arrived home in Atlanta in late March, and put the mail aside. “Ninety percent of it is junk mail or bills. Then the next day, the very last letter I opened was from UMass-Boston.” It offered an honorary doctorate of science. “I wasn’t expecting it; I was in shock,” said the two-time Olympic gold medalist, who for a dozen years dominated the 400-meter hurdles with his graceful strides, winning 122 straight races. He is the only chairman the 10-year-old Laureus has ever had. “Through the foundation, the TV awards program and the academy, we do lots of good. We have a significant impact on peoples’ lives.” The impact of the honorary degree on Moses can be told through a second document he received on graduation day, one from his 13-year-old son. “My parents were both educators. On the day I received my degree, Julian wrote me a letter saying that from now on, ‘I’m calling you Doctor Dad.’” … Troy Aikman earned his degree in sociology from UCLA and walked with 450 other graduates 20 years after leaving for the NFL. He will be enshrined in South Bend’s College Football Hall of Fame next month. … Bills owner Ralph Wilson asked Chris Berman to be his presenter at the Canton Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony. … CBS Sports golf analyst Nick Faldo said he’s “more than a little bit humbled” to be included on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list and to be knighted in his native England.
Applying his legal and administrative talents to politics represented a brief career detour for Bill Squadron, who along with Fox colleague Stan Honey founded SportVision. After they sold to Hank Adams and Ignite, Squadron added IMG to his résumé before becoming SVP at SES Americom. He left to help his 29-year-old brother, Daniel Squadron, knock off a 30-year incumbent, Marty Connor, in the state Senate district that includes parts of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Then Squadron, who once served as Mayor David Dinkins’ commissioner of telecommunications and energy, worked on President Obama’s transition team “providing ideas for the stimulus package.” Now he’s back in sports, joining Art Bell, Frank Hawkins and Tom Spock at Scalar Media, which provides strategy, operations and transactional advisory services. … Former Michigan and Bills tight end Jay Riemersma has filed to run for Congress. … Former Michigan State football coach George Perles plans to enter next year’s Michigan governor’s race as a Democrat. … Ann Liguori emceed a Long Island event that honored Sarah Palin. The Alaska governor returned the honors: “I always wanted to be a sportscaster.” She said she named her two children with that in mind: “Bristol, after ESPN’s home, and Willow like Willow Bay, who like Ann, helped pave the way for women in broadcasting.”
Liguori also helped host Lawrence Citarelli as rain delayed the inaugural Pros With Purpose charity golf tournament. Citarelli turned the bleak day into an opportunity for guests to network with Kenny “The Original” Kramer and sports figures Gary Carter, Bud Harrelson, Dave LaPoint, Ed Kranepool, Corey Pavin, O.J. Anderson, Bart Oates, Filippi Sparks and Renaldo Snipes. … Rabbi Marc Gellman gave the invocation at the dinner before the Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge (airing on July 4 on NBC) where Phoenix police Lt. Larry Giebelhausen, who won a six-word essay contest, filled out the all-star foursome with Michael Jordan, Ben Roethlisberger and Justin Timberlake. His line: “I’m a cop; I’ll shoot low!” Timberlake pleaded with Gellman to ask God to “hold off the rain.” The rabbi responded, “Son, I’m in management, not sales.”
At the Portland memorial service for Jim Warsaw, Andy Dolich told this story: “A co-worker saw me hanging an autographed photo taken of Jim with Muhammad Ali, Mickey Mantle, Michael Jordan, Billie Jean King, Joe Montana, Arnold Palmer and Wayne Gretzky. The co-worker said: ‘Wow, what a great photo. But who are those people with Jimmy?’” … In collecting helmets from local prep teams for display at Candlestick Park, Dolich, the COO of the 49ers, said high school sports connect the community. They “are one of the last vestiges of town squares.” … After an IO item about Richard Sandomir and Mark Reiter’s “The Final Four of Everything” led into an item on Mike D’Antonio’s “Forever Blue,” Sandomir wrote saying it was “serendipitous. We worked together at Newsday and have rekindled our old friendship. I moderated a recent discussion about Mike’s [Walter] O’Malley book, which included Peter O’Malley.” Sandomir also pointed out: “I never said I did the Foxworthy-Pryor [stand-up comedy routine] bracket; that was by Bill Scheft.”
Flying to China from Newark might seem like an endless trip, but Brett Yormark, Nets president and CEO, watched four movies, including the “Bourne” series, and “it didn’t seem so bad,” Yormark said from Shanghai. With Nets director of new corporate marketing ventures Mike Zavodsky, he made stops also in Beijing and Hong Kong. He said it’s worth it. “After our trip last October, we did four quick deals.” Basketball, he said, is the top sport in the world’s largest country. With Chinese player Yi Jianlian, Nets games are broadcast there. On this trip, there was “no sightseeing. We’re working from morning to night meeting dozens of companies.”
John Genzale is founding editor of SportsBusiness Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com.