50 Most Influential: Introduction 50 Most Influential: No. 34 Ditching ’burbs for Detroit NHL brings doughnuts, signs Dunkin’ deal 50 Most Influential: No. 16 ‘Suite’ gifts, and even a few ugly ones Group builds platform for hockey award 50 Most Influential: No. 38 Alabama scores some serious bling Sports Media: NFL steps into esports
SBJ/June 24-30, 2013/People and Pop CulturePrint All
To this year’s graduating class…
There are lessons to be learned
from an NFL mini-camp.
From trips to Dunkin’ Donuts.
And from the cinema classic “Airplane!”
Members of the sports industry were among the
commencement speakers on college and university
campuses this spring. Here are excerpts of their words
of wisdom to this year’s graduates —
drawing from their unique, personal stories.
— Compiled by Stephanie Brown
Bowling Green State University named Chris Kingston athletic director. Kingston was executive senior associate athletic director at North Carolina State University.
Purdue University promoted Calvin Williams to associate athletic director.
The Southeastern Conference named Jake Bell coordinator of men’s basketball officials.
Southeastern Louisiana University Athletic Director Bart Bellairs resigned.
Transylvania University named Holly Sheilley athletic director. Sheilley was assistant director of championships for the NCAA.
The University of Denver named Cindi Nagai senior women’s administrator.
The University of Kentucky named Rachel Newman Baker senior associate athletic director for compliance. Baker was managing director of enforcement for development and investigations for the NCAA.
The University of Michigan named Darryl Conway associate athletic director of student-athlete health and welfare. Conway was assistant athletic director of sports medicine for the University of Maryland.
Western Kentucky University hired Thomas Harris as assistant director of athletic marketing.
AEG Facilities named Tim Hassett general manager of Consol Energy Center and regional vice president.
The College Football Playoff named Laila Brock team operations and logistics director, Allison Doughty events and hospitality services director, and Nikki Epley stadium and game operations director. Brock was events and team operations director for the Orange Bowl Committee, Doughty was football operations and event management director for the ACC, and Epley was alumni association reunions, affinity programs and academic societies director for the University of Kansas.
The New York Jets named Rod Graves senior director of football administration; Matt Bazirgan assistant director of pro personnel; David Boller, Aaron Glenn, David Hinson and Christopher Prescott area scouts; and Rick Courtright national college scout.
The Annika Academy hired David Allibone as a sales professional. Allibone was the founder and instructor at Strategic Golf Training Academy.
The Buffalo Sabres hired John Koelmel as president of Harborcenter. Koelmel was chief executive officer and president of First Niagara Financial Group.
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough hired Donald Reino to practice in online brand equity and sports law. Reino was in-house general counsel for Roger Cleveland Golf.
Golden Boy Promotions promoted Monica Sears to vice president of operations, Nicole Sparks to marketing director, and Armando Gaytan to deputy chief operating officer and senior vice president of operations. Chief Marketing Officer Bruce Binkow added the title of chief operating officer, replacing David Itskowitch, who stepped down from the position. Chief of staff Robert Gasparri added the title of vice president of operations.
IMG Golf named Russell Hannah operations director for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
Advantage International hired Kris Fillon as associate creative director.
Octagon named Sean Nicholls president of Octagon Asia-Pacific for marketing and events, Ryan Sandilands managing director for North Asia, Wylie Fowler general manager of marketing for Australia and New Zealand, and Ben Hartman general manager for Southeast Asia.
Sporting News Media named Rich Routman chief revenue officer, effective July 1.
Cumulus Media named David Halberstam vice president of sports sales for CBS Sports Radio Network. Halberstam ran the consultancy firm Halby Group.
Fox International Channels promoted Ward Platt to chief operating officer of Fox International Channels and chief executive officer of National Geographic Channels International, and Zubin Gandevia to president of Fox International Channels Asia.
Kery Davis is stepping down from the position of HBO Sports senior vice president of programming.
Norman Howell stepped down from the position of communications director for motorsports governing body FIA.
The Grand Prix of America named Marty Hunt race operations director. Hunt was facilities director for Circuit of the Americas.
English Premier League club Arsenal named Chips Keswick chairman. Keswick was an Arsenal board of directors member and was chairman of Hambros Bank.
English Premier League club Liverpool named Andy Hughes chief financial officer, effective July 8. Hughes was chief financial officer of Guoman & Thistle Hotels.
Sporting Goods and Apparel
Christine Day is stepping down from the position of chief executive officer at Lululemon.
Tennis Canada named John LeBoutillier chairman.
Bob Bryant is stepping down from the position of BB&T Atlanta Open director after this year’s tournament.
The U.S. Tennis Association promoted Jeremy Fehrs, Janine Galiotti, and Jenna Higueras to manager of partnership marketing.
The Association of Surfing Professionals named Liam Ferguson vice president of sponsorship integration. Ferguson was president and group publisher for Transworld Media.
Skate Canada named Dan Thompson chief executive officer. Thompson was president of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities.
USA Water Polo named Joanna Fielder travel manager and Phil Wooledge development coordinator.
WWE promoted Brian Maddox to vice president of global digital sales.
Awards and Boards
Connect Magazine named US Lacrosse’s director of special events, Beth Porreca, to its “40 Under 40” list.
The Button Hole Short Course and Teaching Center named former USGA executive director David Fay as a special adviser to its board of directors.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society named Steve Ziff, Sunrise Sports & Entertainment senior vice president of marketing and brand strategy, its 2013 Fort Lauderdale Man of the Year.
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ADs converge on Orlando
The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics held its annual convention at the Orlando World Center Marriott during the week of June 10-15. LEARFIELD SPORTS DIRECTORS’ CUP WINNERS (from left): Committee Chair Terri Howes, West Virginia; Ron Case, Gloucester County College; Robert Davenport, Oklahoma Baptist; Lisa Melendy, Williams; Keith Baker, Grand Canyon; Patrick Dunkley, Stanford; Greg Brown, Learfield Sports.
Photo by:JOAN TIEFEL
‘VALUE OF A SCHOLARSHIP’: NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith addresses attendees.
Photo by:JOAN TIEFEL
2013-14 OFFICERS (from left): 2nd VP Tim Selgo, Grand Valley State; President Mike Alden, Missouri; 3rd VP Chris Plonsky, Texas; 1st VP Jim Phillips, Northwestern; and Secretary Don Tencher, Rhode Island College.
Photo by:JOAN TIEFEL
PRESS PANEL: Discussing “The State of Intercollegiate Athletics From the Media’s Perspective” on June 14 (from left): Moderator Abraham Madkour of SportsBusiness Journal/Daily; Duke AD Kevin White; Maryland AD Kevin Anderson, the 2012-13 NACDA president; ESPN’s Jay Bilas; Georgetown AD Lee Reed; Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports; and Dan Wolken of USA Today.
Photo by:JOAN TIEFEL
FEATURED SPEAKER: John Foley spoke about “High-Performance Leadership.”
Photo by:JOAN TIEFEL
LEARFIELD EVENT: Learfield’s Diane Penny with New Mexico senior associate AD Kurt Esser on June 13 at Siro in the World Center Marriott.
Photo by:JENNIFER DUNCAN / LEARFIELD SPORTS
Commissioner in San Antonio
NBA Commissioner David Stern (center) with (from left) Andrea Smith, Sheiludis Moyett, Enrique Gonzalez and John Wessman of BBVA Compass and BBVA before Game 5 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio.
Photo by:JOE MURPHY / NBAE / GETTY IMAGES
Brett O’Brien (left), Gatorade GM and SVP, and Stern stopped for a photo before Game 3 in San Antonio.
Photo by:DAVID DOW / NBAE / GETTY IMAGES
President catches the Fever
President Barack Obama welcomed the 2012 WNBA Champion Indiana Fever to the White House on June 14 to honor the team for their victory in the WNBA Finals. The visit continued the tradition begun by Obama of also honoring teams for their efforts to give back to communities.
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES / NBA PHOTOS
Handing off an honor to Kraft
Honoree Robert Kraft (left), chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, is congratulated by Sanford Weill, chairman of Carnegie Hall’s board of trustees, at the 2013 Carnegie Hall Medal of Excellence Gala on June 13 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
Aussie rules baseball
Graham Annesley, MP, New South Wales minister for sport and recreation; Jeff Bleich, U.S. ambassador to Australia; and Barry O’Farrell, MP, premier of New South Wales, joined MLB and the MLBPA to announce that the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers will play MLB’s Opening Series March 22-23 at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Australia.
Photo by:DESTINATION NSW
Astros co-host MLB summit
At the welcome reception for the MLB Diversity Business Summit at the Hyatt Regency Houston on June 18 (from left): Houston Astros President Reid Ryan; Houston Mayor Annise Parker; Shawn Taylor, a member of the Houston Astros ownership group; Wendy Lewis, MLB SVP for diversity and strategic alliances; and Astros owner and chairman Jim Crane. The Astros co-hosted the event June 18-19.
Photo by:KIM CHRISTENSEN / MLB PHOTOS
Wharton checks into the golf business
Wharton held its “State of the Business of Golf” event June 12 in Philadelphia in connection with the U.S. Open at nearby Merion Golf Club. Left to right: Derrick Heggans, managing director, Wharton Sports Business Initiative; Dick Raskopf, publisher, Sports Illustrated Golf Group; Malcolm Turner, president, Wasserman Media Group’s golf division; Sarah Hirshland, senior managing director, USGA; Jon Last, president, Sports & Leisure Research Group; Mike McCarley, president, Golf Channel; and Ken Shropshire, director, Wharton Sports Business Initiative.
Photo by:TOMMY LEONARDI
Picnic in the Park in Houston
The Astros Foundation played host to its first Picnic in the Park, a fundraiser that drew more than 700 after Houston’s game against the Chicago White Sox on Father’s Day. From left: owner and chairman Jim Crane, Astros Foundation board members Jud Grady and Bill Herrington, and Astros President Reid Ryan.
Photo by:HOUSTON ASTROS
WISE Women of the Year Awards
Women in Sports & Events handed out its 2013 WISE Women of the Year Awards at their 19th annual awards luncheon June 18 at the Marriott Marquis in New York. From left to right: Kathleen Francis, WISE national president; presenter Christine Driessen; Carol Stiff, vice president of content program and integration, espnW; presenter Molly Solomon; Dick Ebersol, recipient of the 2013 WISE Champion Award; presenter Pam Harris; Danielle Maged, global head of business development and partnerships, StubHub; Sharon Byers, senior vice president of sports and entertainment marketing, Coca-Cola North America; presenter Lisa Baird; and Sue Rodin, WISE founder and chair emerita.
Photo by:JENNIFER POTTHEISER
CAA Sports’ Levine honored
UJA-Federation of New York honored Michael Levine, co-head of CAA Sports, as the Sports for Youth Honoree of the Year at a luncheon on June 19 at The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.
ABOVE: From left: Russell Wolff of ESPN International, Donna Orender of Orender Unlimited, John Skipper of ESPN, Levine, the NBA’s David Stern, David Berson of CBS Sports, fellow CAA Sports co-head Howie Nuchow, and Blackstone’s David Blitzer.
BELOW: Levine (right) with Richard Lovett, Creative Artists Agency president, who presented the award to Levine.
Photos by:MICHAEL PRIEST PHOTOGRAPHY
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A former U.S. men’s national team player, Eric Wynalda now splits his time between working in one soccer league and analyzing others on television. Wynalda is in his first season as technical director of the NASL Atlanta Silverbacks and fourth year as an analyst for Fox Soccer. The three-time World Cup player makes his home in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
— Compiled by Christopher Botta
Photo by:MIKE THOMPSON
People told me I was out of my mind to take the challenge of being the technical director in Atlanta, but it was the kind of work I’ve always wanted to be involved with.”
Juggling roles: Next to being a player, nothing beats working with a staff and players on a team, so I always want to make time for it. I travel to Atlanta for a few days each week and speak with our coaches every day. I’m just an employee, not an investor, but it’s gratifying to be part of a franchise that’s growing. [The Silverbacks are averaging about 5,000 fans per game this season].
Sticking with the NASL: The Silverbacks’ business plan has never been to build to become an MLS franchise. I believe the NASL is a better platform for players. MLS makes it very clear that their intention is to keep players in MLS. In the NASL, our intention is to win games and also create a platform for players to reach bigger and better things. Not all roads lead to MLS. In that sense, the NASL is a maverick, looking to do things its own way.
On Fox Soccer losing EPL to NBC: It was disappointing because the Premier League is one of the world’s best sports properties and we put so much work and emotion into it. But long-term, in listening to [Fox Sports co-President and co-COO] Eric Shanks and [Fox Soccer executive vice president] David Nathanson about where we’ll go from here, I know this will be a big decade for Fox with the women’s World Cup [in 2015 and 2019] and the men’s World Cup in 2018 and 2022. EPL rights go in three-year cycles, so it can always return.
The future at Fox Sports: We’re still talking about how soccer guys like myself are going to be integrated into the new Fox Sports 1 in August. I’ll work on our Champions League coverage and they’ve asked me to be part of the analyst team for Europa League. My contract keeps me exclusive to Fox for the next few years. Right now, with us being done with the Premier League, my weekends may be free for a while. If that allows me to spend more time with the Silverbacks, I’d embrace it.
I would characterize myself as someone who is very disciplined, hardworking and wants to achieve results. What I did yesterday is now really irrelevant. What’s going to matter is what myself and the team do tomorrow and next year — down the road.
I wouldn’t characterize myself as being a very good leader in my late 20s and early 30s. I have taken onboard the feedback and my own self-learning. I have a CEO coach who’s worked with many Fortune 500 CEOs. He gives me good guidance.
Photo by:GORT PRODUCTIONS
There might have been a time where I wasn’t as empathetic as I should’ve been and very much like, “We’ve got to get this deal done and everybody get out of the way if you’re not going to do it.” That’s not, obviously, very effective when you’re trying to inspire and build consensus and garner support.
I always thought I was a very caring person, who cared a tremendous amount about my team, but it wasn’t actually what the team felt. So I’ve adapted. I’ve got to be mindful of that and continue to nurture.
Everybody wants to be appreciated. If you look at extrinsic motivation, you can give them the raises and the benefits, but it doesn’t last. What your team really wants are the intrinsic factors. They want responsibility, they want authority, and they want appreciation when they do a great job.
I have a senior management team all on the same bonus so we’re all aligned. It’s aligned in the same bonus plan that I have so that we’re one team. My goals cascade down to their goals.
I’ll be the first one to accept responsibility if we haven’t achieved something because I didn’t set staff up for it or the expectations were not clear. But if I can honestly answer all those questions, then I go to, “Is this the right person for our organization?”
Cultural fit is mission critical to our success. This person has got to fit with our team. We’re small, agile, and we need passionate people, people who want to have some fun and respect each other. Those cultural elements in the DNA of who the people are are what I look for very much when I’m hiring.
I know if a person will be a cultural fit in the first two to three minutes of meeting them.
I look for how they introduce themselves, if they look you in the eye. Just their whole physical communication and it’s how genuine they are. You can feel it. You can feel confidence with humility or you can feel confidence with arrogance, and there’s a significant difference.
Someone who was a mentor for me was Tennis Canada COO Derek Strang. He would give me feedback and he knew the pressure I was under in generating revenue and building the stadium, so he understood the context and helped me to take a moment, take a breath, and look at a different way to give that feedback and move this group forward.
Sometimes we promote people because of their success, not because they can be good leaders. We don’t give them the tools to be leaders, to be managers. That’s certainly an area that I’m working on with our group because they are young, they are ambitious, they have achieved success.
We’re global and we’re not in the same office together and we’re a traveling circus. We’re on the road all the time, so how do you get that touch and feel and keep them all inspired?
I have to stay connected. I have a small staff, around 85. I don’t want them to ever feel that “Stacey’s not accessible to me.”
I spend an incredible amount of time on the road in small meetings. We used to do one to two meetings a year, 150 players; not an effective way to communicate. Now it’s 20.
The best advice I was ever given was by former IMG Canada President Elliott Kerr. He said, “Stacey, you want to differentiate yourself in this business. You have to make the organization money, you have to get sales experience.”
I was not a natural salesperson, but I’ll put myself out there, and I got the sales training I needed and that has been the key to my success. You have to either make the organization money, save the organization money, or make your organization look great.
Everybody in this business needs to spend time selling, because that’s your connection with the fan and you’ll know how hard it is to close one ticket deal. You’ll know how hard it is to get a season-ticket holder to be satisfied and to renew.
It’s not an organization’s responsibility to develop your career. Your career is your responsibility, and I’m here today because I put the effort in, the learning in. I was fortunate to have good people around me.
The irony is, getting on an airplane is actually an escape for me. I decompress, I don’t talk to anyone. Sometimes I feel bad about it, but it’s my time.
I love to go to the beach. The beach is the place that really allows me to relax. I even like to hit some golf balls.
I really like autobiographies. I just finished Walter Isaacson’s book on Steve Jobs. Before that, I read Nelson Mandela’s “Walk to Freedom,” which is an incredible book.