SBJ/March 19-25, 2012/Labor and Agents

Kauffman adding college coaches to basketball client list

Liz Mullen
Kauffman Sports Management Group, a Los Angeles-based firm that represents NBA coaches and general managers, has opened a college coaching division and has signed University of Nevada-Las Vegas coach Dave Rice as one of the division’s first clients.

The firm also has signed U.S. Naval Academy coach Ed DeChellis, Air Force Academy coach Dave Pilipovich, UC Irvine coach Russell Turner and UNLV associate head coach Justin Hutson for representation.

Veteran NBA agent Steve Kauffman founded and owns Kauffman Sports. Kauffman said he had interviews set up with other college basketball coaches in the coming weeks, both head coaches and high-level assistants.

“We have meetings set up with four or five coaches at the NCAA regional tournament [games] and probably about a half-dozen at the Final Four,” said Kauffman, who was commissioner of the minor league Continental Basketball Association in the 1970s, about the same time he started representing NBA players.

In the subsequent years, Kauffman went on to represent a number of great NBA players, including Dominique Wilkins, Wayman
Kauffman signed UNLV’s Rice (top) and Air Force’s Pilipovich.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES (2)
Tisdale
and Doc Rivers. But the National Basketball Players Association prohibits agents from representing both NBA players and coaches, and in 2008 Kauffman switched to representing coaches.

Today, his NBA coaching clients include Golden State’s Mark Jackson, Utah’s Tyrone Corbin and New Orleans’ Monty Williams. He also represents numerous assistant coaches. Additionally, he represents Rod Higgins, Charlotte president of basketball operations; Milwaukee general manager John Hammond; Indiana general manager David Morway; and Donnie Walsh, former general manager and special consultant to the New York Knicks.

Kauffman said he had not represented college basketball coaches previously because, unlike the NFL, there is not a lot of crossover between college and pro coaches, and because “I had always set up shop as an NBA guy.” That changed after some college basketball coaches approached him about entering the business.

As things have developed, Kauffman said the fact that he no longer represents NBA players is appealing to college basketball coaches. “It’s sometimes a sigh of relief [for the coaches] because they think sometimes these [other agents’] agendas are to represent the players,” Kauffman said.

The NBPA does not prohibit NBA player agents from representing college basketball coaches.

EXCEL SIGNS WEEKS: Excel Sports Management partner and MLB agent Casey Close has signed Oakland A’s second baseman Jemile Weeks for representation.

CAA SIGNS FREENEY: CAA Football has signed Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney for representation. Agents Tom Condon and Ben Dogra will represent him.

YEE & DUBIN SIGNS GOLFER: Yee & Dubin Sports has signed its first golf client, Christina Stockton, who will be featured in the coming season of the Golf Channel reality series “Big Break.” The firm, which represents about 25 NFL players, including New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, also signed Denver Broncos restricted free agent wide receiver Matt Willis.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.
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