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Volume 24 No. 155

People and Pop Culture

The USTA has signed GORDON SMITH "to a second four-year term as executive director, taking him through 2015," according to Daniel Kaplan of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Smith said that terms of the deal are "similar to his first deal, which expires Dec. 31." He earned an average of $1.15M per year in the first two years of that deal. Smith said that the USTA as a whole "earned $46 million last year, up 45 percent from three years ago." In his time as Exec Dir, Smith "has focused the group’s attention on promoting recreational tennis." World TeamTennis Commissioner & CEO ILANA KLOSS: "Smith really got rid of the silos, with community tennis and pro tennis being separate." Smith identified "four key challenges for his next term: getting young people to play the game, improving the U.S. Open, increasing revenue and developing American pro champions." Kaplan notes the "big push this year for the USTA has been a new program to get kids ages 10 and younger to play" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/29 issue).

Longtime Lions reporter TOM KOWALSKI passed away yesterday morning at the age of 51, according to the GRAND RAPIDS PRESS. Kowalski, who had covered the Lions for Booth Newspapers since '97 and more recently contributed to, was "found unresponsive at his home." Kowalski "started his Lions reporting at the Oakland Press." He filed his last story yesterday before his death (, 8/29). Lions President TOM LEWAND said, "Tom was a true professional, a consummate beat writer, somebody who brought a lot of tremendous information to our fans. Even in times of disagreement, we always had the utmost respect for his professionalism" (, 8/29). YAHOO SPORTS' Doug Farrar noted when Lions coach JIM SCHWARTZ "started his Monday post-practice press conference, he requested that the first question go unasked, and a moment of silence be observed," in memory of Kowalski. Schwartz said, "I'll just say this about Tom -- the one thing he always tried to do was get it right. He knew football and he always wanted to get it right and we had a lot of respect for that. I think what we'll do is let the first question go unasked today and when we're ready we'll go second question" (, 8/29).
REMEMBERING A PROFESSIONAL: In Detroit, Michael Rosenberg writes, "It is impossible to imagine covering the Lions without him. ... He was an overwhelming presence in the media room, news conferences and the locker room" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 8/30). In Grand Rapids, Greg Johnson writes, "You could work with him, and trust him to do his job. He was like a great teammate from back in my athletic days. You lined up next to him and you knew he would do his part" (GRAND RAPIDS PRESS, 8/30). NFL writers from around the country tweeted their thoughts on Kowalski. SI's Peter King wrote, "Tom Kowalski, one heck of a beat man covering the Lions, dead at 51. He covered the team aggressively, with a conscience. What a loss." Detroit News' Bob Wojnowski: "Tom Kowalski was full of life, a joy to spar with and a helluva reporter. I can't believe Killer is gone. Heartbreaking beyond words." Fox Sports' Jon Morosi: "Heartsick over the death of Tom Kowalski at 51. Terrific reporter, always encouraging to others, a pleasure to be around. Really sad news." ESPN's Kevin Seifert: "Few, if any, sportswriters had such a personal connection with fans/readers." Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson: "My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Tom Kowalski. He was a wonderful friend and human being. I will miss him immensely." Detroit News' John Niyo: "Pretty sure today's the first time I've cried at work. Tom Kowalski would've never let me hear the end of that. He is already missed."

NBCUniversal announced today that "Today" Producer JIM BELL will serve as Exec Producer for the network's coverage of the '12 London Games. Bell, who will continue to oversee all aspects of "Today," will have editorial oversight for NBCU's coverage of next summer's Olympics. Bell spent 15 years with NBC Sports & Olympics before shifting to "Today" in '05 (NBCU)....The LPGA has added Duke Energy Senior VP & Chief Sustainability Officer ROBERTA BOWMAN to its BOD. Bowman will attend her first meeting in Prattville, Ala., on Sept. 13. She will be one of six independent BOD members (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/26 issue)....EPL club Sunderland has hired MIKE FARNAN as its first Int'l Marketing Dir. Most recently, Farnan served as Manchester United Int'l Managing Dir (, 8/30)....Rochester Institute of Technology Assistant AD SCOTT MCVEAN has been promoted to Associate AD (RIT).

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In San Diego, Tod Leonard profiles incoming PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open Tournament Dir PETER RIPA, "sharing the duties this year" with outgoing Tournament Dir TOM WILSON, who is retiring after 20 years in the position. Ripa is a "high-voltage star who has the rare accompanying ability to allow others in his universe to also shine." He also made "tremendous improvements over five years" at the PGA Tour Crowne Plaza Invitational. Ripa took over in San Diego six weeks ago and "already has met between 75 and 100 of the Farmers' most important stakeholders, from top-level sponsors to volunteer coordinators" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/30).

SHOW BUSINESS: U.S. women’s national soccer team G HOPE SOLO and Lakers F RON ARTEST will appear on Season 13 of ABC’s “DANCING WITH THE STARS” (, 8/29)….Talk show host ELLEN DEGENERES on Friday surprised the Saints at training camp in Oxnard, Calif., with a crew from "THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW." DeGeneres “huddled with quarterback DREW BREES to call some of her own plays, and did a little passing as well.” The footage will air the week of Sept. 12 (, 8/29)....The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER’s David Knowles reviews VH1’s new reality show “BASKETBALL WIVES LA,” noting its protagonists “stick to the same droll formula of inciting jealousy and physical violence between women who are, or have been, romantically involved with NBA players.” NBA stars “receive scant screen time in this drama,” and the “bulk of the action takes place far away” from Staples Center (, 8/28)….The film “MONEYBALL” will premiere Sept. 19 at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, and a “few tickets to the premiere already are in circulation” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/29).

SUMMER SCHOOL: In Raleigh, Dan Kane reported the Univ. of North Carolina hired NFL player agent CARL CAREY JR. to teach a summer class at a time when school officials “were embarrassed to find that sports agents had infiltrated the football program.” At the time of the class this summer, Carey “represented two football players who had been selected” in April’s NFL Draft. Carey is a former adjunct professor at UNC, and his return to campus “was a problem for the athletic department, which alerted its academic advisers not to recommend his class.” Only “one female athlete took the class” (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 8/27).

NAMES: Former tennis player JIM COURIER is profiled as part of the WALL STREET JOURNAL's "What's Your Workout" feature. Courier continues to work out by playing tennis "four days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.," in addition to doing a "full-body strength workout" two to three days a week. He also does "sprints or interval runs three to four days a week" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/30)....Warriors G STEPHEN CURRY is “back on campus and registered as a full-time undergraduate” at Davidson College, taking three classes during the NBA lockout. Curry also has the “opportunity to be a student assistant for the basketball team” and can have “individual workouts with players.” Davidson coach BOB MCKILLOP said that Curry “can practice ‘occasionally’” (, 8/26)….The IAAF has donated $250,000 to Japan to “assist the country in rebuilding from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami” (AP, 8/29)….Golfer DODGE KEMMER has signed Int’l Sports Management for representation (ISM)….N.Y. Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, actor ALEC BALDWIN and singers TONY BENNETT and GLADYS KNIGHT were among those in attendance last night at the U.S. Open (Bergen RECORD, 8/30).