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Where are they now?
Over the years, many people have generated headlines in the sports business and then moved on to other endeavors, often by choice, but sometimes not. Here’s a look at some of the people we used to know, and where they are today.
Published December 9, 2013, Pages 30-32
Austrian was a top NFL executive and one of the true heavy hitters at the league, serving as president and COO from 1991 to 1999. Austrian recently resigned as chairman and co-CEO of Office Depot, a position he was named to in May 2011. He is a director of DirecTV and is on the advisory board of MidOcean Partners, a private investment firm.
This sports agent was the talk of the agency business when he represented five first-round NFL draft picks in 1999. Just three years later, he was convicted of stealing at least $12 million from several of his athlete clients. He served nearly eight years in prison before being released in 2008. He wrote a book, “Tanked,” that was published in 2009. Black is now back in prison in Edgefield, S.C., after a federal court judge sentenced him to six months for violating the terms of his supervised release. He is scheduled to be released in March.
In the early 2000s, the U.S. Olympic Committee had trouble landing a CEO who fit in with the culture of the Olympics and the various national governing bodies. Blake, a corporate turnaround specialist, served a tumultuous nine-month stint, from February to October 2000, during which he cut staff and implemented a money-for-medals plan to ramp up accountability. Blake now serves on the board of directors of Owens Corning and on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University.
|Croce left basketball behind and now runs six bars and a pirate museum.
The former Heisman Trophy-winning running back was athletic director at Southern California from 1993 until 2010, when he was fired after the NCAA hit the school with stiff penalties. Garrett was hired in 2012 as athletic director of Langston University, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school in Oklahoma.
WILLIAM “BOOTS” DEL BIAGGIO
|Del Biaggio is serving an 8-year prison sentence.
The former NHLPA leader was known for his toughness and resolve, as he oversaw a players’ strike and two lockouts during his tenure as executive director from 1991 to 2005. Goodenow, who was a private person even when he was a public figure, is now happily retired, friends say. He spends time between his two homes in Michigan and one in Florida.
PETER JOHNSON AND STEPHANIE TOLLESON
The married couple were longtime executives at IMG, wielding strong influence under founder Mark McCormark. But both departed shortly after IMG was acquired by Ted Forstmann. The couple remain in Cleveland. Johnson is vice chairman and chief operating officer of Stack Media, a multiplatform company that focuses on athlete training, nutrition and marketing. Tolleson is the assistant head of the School for Advancement at Hawken School in Gates Mills, Ohio.
Kirschner was one of the NFL’s earliest voices stressing opportunities in the emerging digital landscape when she served as NFL Interactive vice president from 1995 to 1999. She helped launch NFL.com and NFL Sunday Ticket. She is now university dean of Macaulay Honors College at City University of New York, and just published her second book, “Lady at the OK Corral,” a biography of Wyatt Earp’s common law wife, Josephine Earp.
Levinson was president of NFL Properties from 1994 to 2000, a time that saw a new breed of owners present major challenges to the league’s sponsorship sales model. She now serves on the board of directors of two Fortune 500 companies, Harley-Davidson and Macy’s Inc. Levinson is a board member and co-founder of Kandu, a startup company at the intersection of kids and technology that primarily targets middle school kids. In an email, Levinson wrote, “Kandu is launching in early 2014 and gives kids powerful tools to design, build and share their own apps and software without needing to learn code.”
The former IMG senior vice president is best remembered as Tiger Woods’ first agent. He negotiated a reported $100 million worth of deals for the golfer from when Woods turned pro in 1996 until he dropped Norton in 1998. Norton is now happily retired, living in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, near Cleveland, where he plays a lot of golf at The Country Club in Pepper Pike, Ohio. He has two daughters and recently became a first-time grandfather.
From 2000 to 2005, Burk served as chairwoman of the National Council of Women’s Organizations and led efforts to open the Augusta National Golf Club to women. In 2002, she launched a protest of the private club for excluding women from membership. Years later, in 2012, Augusta admitted Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as its first women members. Burk now serves as director of the Corporate Accountability Project for the NCWO.
|The former John Hancock CEO now owns two Italian restaurants in Boston.
Bonham, whose Bonham Group was involved in naming rights and consulting, was one of the most often quoted executives when it came to the sports business. His firm closed in 2009 after 21 years and he moved overseas. He is now CEO of Bonham/Wills & Associates, a sports and entertainment marketing firm with bases in Paris and Nicosia, Cyprus.
Perez was a nontraditional choice when he was tabbed to leave packaged goods company S.C. Johnson to replace Phil Knight as Nike president and CEO in December 2004. As one observer wrote, “How do you replace a legend? A legend who is still around.” It turned out to be difficult. Perez lasted only 13 months before resigning in January 2006, citing philosophical differences with Knight. Perez is now a senior adviser at global investment banking firm Greenhill & Co. and serves on the board of directors of several corporations, including Whirlpool Corp. and Johnson & Johnson.