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Volume 24 No. 156

People and Pop Culture

Northwestern Univ. has signed AD JIM PHILLIPS to a new 10-year contract that will keep him at the school until '20. Phillips has served in his role since April '08 (NU)....STEVE MAICH has been named Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Rogers Publishing Limited's Sportsnet, a bi-weekly magazine launching next month in Canada. Maich most recently served as Group Publisher of the company's consumer business magazines and Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Business (Sportsnet)....Loyola Univ. Maryland named CHRISTOPHER ARCHACKI Dir of Athletic Business Operations (Loyola)....Buffalo Communications promoted GARY TRASK to PR Manager (Buffalo Communications).  

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In Charlotte, Gary Wright notes NASCAR Chair & CEO BRIAN FRANCE “has accused his former wife of repeatedly threatening to use secretly recorded phone conversations to ruin his career if he didn’t pay her substantial sums of money.” France said his ex-wife, MEGAN, during one telephone conversation told him, “You have to help me out if you don’t want me to ruin your career.” France alleges in an amended complaint his former wife once told him “she knew how to splice the tape recordings of their telephone calls to make them more damaging” to him, and she had “access to websites and a radio station that would be more than willing to publicize portions of her secretly recorded and doctored tapes.” France claims in the amended complaint that his ex-wife’s threats included “demands for large sums of money, ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 on each occasion.” Megan France “denies those allegations” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/4).

PLAY BALL: In Charlotte, Frazier & Lyttle report Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools yesterday announced “a $250,000 sponsorship deal with Hendrick Automotive Group that will allow the district to offer a full slate of middle school sports for 2011-12.” The one-year Hendrick sponsorship, combined “with a gift from an unidentified donor, gives the school system enough to pay for the full slate of 13 sports at all 32 middle schools.” The agreement makes an official sponsor of CMS athletics and “gives the company naming rights when statistics are announced during breaks at high school sports events, recognition as a title partner in announcements at the end of high school events, and the right to display its signs at middle and high school events.” Hendrick Automotive Group Chair RICK HENDRICK said, "This doesn't mean student-athletes' uniforms will look like NASCAR cars. There won't be decals on those uniforms. It will be more like having a sign at the field -- something like that" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/4).

CHARITY STRIPE: The Pro Football HOF announced that the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation has made a charitable donation of $2.5M to support the museum’s $27M “Future 50” expansion and renovation project. The gift will be used to fund a new 10,000-square-foot Pro Football Research & Preservation Center. The Pro Football Board of Trustees will honor the Bills owner by naming the center the Ralph Wilson, Jr. Pro Football Research & Preservation Center (Pro Football HOF).

NAMES: Magic coach STAN VAN GUNDY said that he has “thought about pursuing a career in politics once he’s done coaching.” Van Gundy: “I’m fed up with the people in our government. Because I’m fed up, instead of complaining about it, I plan to do something about it.” He “wouldn’t say what political party he’d support for fear of offending any fans or misrepresenting the Magic organization” (, 8/3)…. Magic G GILBERT ARENAS has “filed a motion seeking an injunction” against VH1’s “BASKETBALL WIVES.” Heat F CHRIS BOSH has already “sued the makers of the show.” Arenas is “upset that former fiancé” LAURA GOVAN is scheduled to appear on the show later this month (, 8/3)….NFL Panthers PR Dir CHARLIE DAYTON is being honored in Philadelphia today by the National Association of Black Journalists “for his work in developing African-American leaders in the NFL’s public relations departments.” Three of Dayton’s former assistants “are now in charge” of team PR operations: the Jets’ BRUCE SPEIGHT, the Giants’ AVIS ROPER and the Rams TED CREWS (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/4)….Yankees RF NICK SWISHER has recorded a 12-song album for charity titled, “BELIEVE.” The album is “available online and a portion of the proceeds goes to Swish’s Wishes,” his foundation for children with health issues (AP, 8/4)….Heat President PAT RILEY "is renting Blue Heron Farm" on Martha's Vineyard (BOSTON HERALD, 8/4).

IN MEMORY: Former Rockets President & GM RAY PATTERSON passed away yesterday at the age of 89. Patterson "was the Rockets' chief executive from 1972 through 1990, a period that included trips to the NBA Finals in 1981 and 1986, and watched as they won NBA titles in 1994 and 1995 with a team built in large part by his son, STEVE PATTERSON, who succeeded him as GM." Patterson was named President of the expansion Bucks in '68 (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/4)....Former NFLer BUBBA SMITH, the No. 1 overall pick in the '67 NFL Draft, passed away yesterday at the age of 66. Smith "found a successful second career as an actor," and his "most memorable role was playing Moses Hightower, the soft-spoken officer in the 'Police Academy' series." He also was a "regular in the ground-breaking Miller Lite commercials featuring retired players" (AP, 8/3).