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Volume 24 No. 117

People and Pop Culture

FAME Founder DAVID FALK and his wife, RHONDA, have committed $15M to Syracuse Univ. In honor of the pledge, the school will rename its College of Human Ecology the David B. Falk College of Sport & Human Dynamics. The Falks' gift will be used to support the creation and expansion of academic programs and cross-disciplinary initiatives in the college, which will relocate to a central location on campus (Syracuse). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Melanie Grayce West reports the $15M gift is "one of the largest ever" to Syracuse (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/24). BLOOMBERG NEWS' Oliver Staley notes the Falks "donated $5 million to create the David B. Falk Center for Sport Management in 2008, and the following year they endowed a faculty position" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 3/24). In New York, Glenn Coin notes Falk has "represented some of the biggest names in professional basketball," including MICHAEL JORDAN, PATRICK EWING and ALONZO MOURNING. Falk graduated from Syracuse with an economics degree in '72, and his wife earned a liberal arts degree in '74. Their daughter, JOCELYN, graduated last year from Syracuse's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications (Syracuse POST-STANDARD, 3/24).

In our continuing series, SportsBusiness Daily/SportsBusiness Journal asks top sports personalities for their thoughts, ideas, aspirations and likes. Today, BASE Productions co-CEO and ESPN's "Sport Science" creator and host JOHN BRENKUS.

What I like in an insight: "Good" is a word that you use when something isn't "great."

An influential person in my career: TED LEONSIS. A truly inspirational billionaire.

An out-of-the-box idea: Raising the basket in the NBA to 11 feet to bring the sport back in line with how it was originally conceived.

A timeless idea: Love conquers all.

A business deal: Sports, anyone?

A sports facility: Staples Center.

A sports event: There's nothing like the Super Bowl.

A strategy: Never reveal your strategy (that's a legit strategy).

A hire: BRUCE BOUDREAU, Washington Capitals head coach.

A brand: Specialized bikes for triathlons and TaylorMade golf clubs.

A trend: Baseball is fading and the NFL continues to grow -- how big can it get?

An innovation: The iPad! Revolutionizing the way we consume media.

A story that bears watching: The "concussion" debate in the NFL -- not sure how serious we are as a society about this issue.

An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: YouTube.

A fantasy job: I have my fantasy job! Honestly, doesn't get better than hosting "Sport Science."

What I like about my job: Getting to work with the greatest athletes on the planet and being able to put them to the ultimate test.

Sports: It brings everyone together.

Sports business: Being involved with something that is so precious to rabid fans in every sport.

Sports media: Being able to reach a worldwide audience and spreading cool information about a topic people genuinely care about.

Sports technology: The more technology advances, the more the leagues have to regulate the game.

Competing: Pushing yourself to the absolute limit.

The future (or direction) of sports business: It's alive and well.

Sports fans: Ever wonder why fans care so much? Doesn't matter why -- they just do. It's in their blood!

What I would like to change: Nasty people trying to knock others down just because they made it to the top.

Change in what I do: Trying to be more vocally positive.

See: A perfect NFL season.

See more of in sports: Sportsmanship. Seriously. I don't want any professional athlete to do something I wouldn't want my kids to do.

See more of in sports business: Can always use more money, right?

See less of in sports: Arguing with the refs. Seems silly. Play the game!

See less of in sports business: Arguing with me. Seriously. Play the game!

What I don't like in general: Nasty people.

Pet peeve: Nasty people.

In sports: Nasty people.

In business: Nasty people.

About sports fans: Sometimes they can be nasty!

People that I like: I love my family! My wife is the most amazing person I know, and my kids just blow me away!

That would surprise those who know me: I don't drink alcohol or caffeine. I've never done any drugs of any kind. My high-octane style makes people wonder how I can be on "11" all the time, but it's the truth. I just love life!

Above all else: My family.

About myself: I love creating something from nothing. It's incredibly rewarding to manifest a thought by making a profitable business!

Heroes: My mom and dad. Tough as nails, but tender with their love. Somehow, I feel like they got it right!

Players: LARRY FITZGERALD. Truly a class act, and incredibly talented.

Teams: I grew up in the Washington, DC, area, so I'm a fan of the Redskins, Wizards and Capitals!

City: Los Angeles. How can you not love 75 and sunny!

Possession: My Prius. I love driving an inexpensive, sensible car!

Time of year (because): Summer. I love to sweat!

Music: My favorite band these days is One Eskimo.

Books: "Born to Run," "Talent Is Overrated."


Magazine: ESPN The Magazine.


Gadget: iPad!

iPad app: "The Daily," Wall Street Journal.

Chores: Anything my wife needs me to do!

Hobbies: Ironman Triathlons.

Trips: The Big Island!

Movies: "127 Hours," my favorite film of the year. Also, anything CHRISTOPHER NOLAN does.

TV: My TV is parked on ESPN.

Concerts: Kings of Leon, Coldplay.

Artist: DALI.

Food: Homemade smoothies!

Dessert: Carrot cake -- my Achilles' heel!

Drink: Water. All the time.

Vacation spots: The Big Island! Breckenridge, Colo.

Cars: Prius. It's a car without a "class." All income brackets drive them!

Aftershave: None. They all smell funny to me.

Singer: DAVID GILMORE (also my favorite guitarist).

Quote: "That which does not kill you makes you stronger."

The Cowboys promoted VP/Accounting & Finance DAVID FREY to CFO (THE DAILY)....The Cavaliers hired BRIAN HERBERT as Dir of Safety & Security (THE DAILY)....The CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats promoted Dir of Communications & Community Relations SHAWN BURKE to Dir of Football Operations and Manager of Media Relations SCOTT MCNAUGHTON to Dir of Communications (Tiger-Cats).

EXECS: AEG Facilities named U.S. Department of Energy Chief of Staff ROD O'CONNOR to the newly created position of Exec VP/Europe (AEG)....USA Swimming named TALIA MARK as Marketing Manager, AMANDA ROST Marketing Manager for Corporate Services, MATT WHEWEEL PR & Digital Communications Coordinator and EMILY SILVER to the newly created position of Athlete Relations Manager (USA Swimming)....Georgia Tech hired Yale Univ. Senior Associate AD RYAN BAMFORD as Associate AD for Internal Operations (Georgia Tech)....Purdue Univ. named DUANE CARLISLE to the newly created position of Dir of Sports Performance (THE DAILY)....JOE DOLAN was named Assistant GM of the Roanoke Civic Center (THE DAILY)....Tifosi Optics named BOB BARTLETT to the newly created position of Operations Manager. Bartlett previously has worked as a senior-level exec at Dunlop Maxfli, Srixon Sports USA, US Kids Golf and PowerBilt Golf (Tifosi).

Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to

In N.Y., Pete Thamel profiles Utah-based meteorologist KEN POMEROY and his college basketball website, It has becoming "increasingly common for coaches to rely on" statistics from the website for scouting. Many coaches said that they “would pay for the information on his site,” but Pomeroy “gives it away, joking that he is waiting for a wealthy program to pay him a large amount of money to shut down the site and hoard the information.” Pomeroy, whose full-time job is at the National Weather Service, said that he “makes a few dollars from advertisements on his site and has a small consulting deal with Baylor.” He said that he “spent about 20 to 30 hours a week on the site and watched college basketball another 10 to 12 hours a week” (N.Y. TIMES, 3/24).

MAN WITH A PLAN: In Detroit, Brian O’Connor profiles prospective Pistons owner TOM GORES and writes “while ego -- not profit -- is often the reason rich men buy pro sports teams, no one doubts Gores will bring the same sharp pencil to any Pistons deal he has to all his others.” Gores is “known to pass on deals if the numbers don't add up, which is what he ultimately may do with the Pistons.” If he decides not to buy the team, sources said that “he's got other Michigan deals in the works,” including “two very different properties in Metro Detroit.” Michigan Economic Development Corp. VP/Capital Markets PAUL BROWN said, "I believe he would be a great owner for the Pistons and Detroit and Michigan. But I also believe he will only make a smart purchase" (DETROIT NEWS, 3/24).

AWARDS & RECOGNITION: Actor MORGAN FREEMAN, musician CARLOS SANTANA and Baseball HOFer ERNIE BANKS will receive the MLB Beacon of Hope, Beacon of Change and Beacon of Life awards, respectively. The three will be honored at a banquet on May 14 in Atlanta during the ’11 Civil Rights Game Week. Also, rapper LUDACRIS and a special guest will give a one-hour performance after the Phillies-Braves game at Turner Field on May 14 as part of the Civil Rights Game Week (THE DAILY)....The family of late Texas politician TOM VANDERGRIFF will be given a '10 AL Championship Ring during the Rangers' "welcome home luncheon March 31," a day before the team’s season opener and “two days before Texas players, coaches and staff will receive their rings in a pregame ceremony.” Vandergriff, who “led the cause of bringing Major League Baseball to North Texas,” died of natural causes on Dec. 30 at the age of 84. The Rangers also “plan a moment of silence in Vandergriff's memory before the season opener” (, 3/22)….The Rochester Press-Radio Club during its Day of Champions dinner on May 24 will honor LPGA Wegmans Tournament Dir LINDA HAMPTON with the Major Donald Holleder Award, presented to a “person who has devoted the highest level of sportsmanship, character, courage and achievement.” Democrat & Chronicle sportswriter LEO ROTH will receive the George Beahon Award, and WHAM-AM's BOB MATTHEWS will receive the Gary Smith Award for broadcasting (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 3/22).

NAMES: The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory has opened an exhibit titled “Norman Rockwell: Sports.” The exhibit is sponsored by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., and will run through Aug. 14 (, 3/21)….NASCAR driver JIMMIE JOHNSON today is “filming a segment” for CHRISTIAN SLATER’s new TV series, “BREAKING IN” (, 3/23)….Bobcats Owner MICHAEL JORDAN’s Steak House in the InterContinental Chicago “will open in late summer,” becoming the third in his chain of restaurants (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/24).