MOLLY SOLOMON, a longtime producer of NBC's Olympic coverage, will become Exec Producer of Golf Channel, the network's employees were told today. The move sets Solomon up as the first woman to serve as an executive producer for a national sports network. The move is part of NBC Sports Chair MARK LAZARUS' continued makeover of the NBC Sports Group, including the network's golf business, which is overseen by NBC Sports Group Group President JON LITNER. "I'm equally torn between my two passions of Olympics and Golf," Solomon said. "There are so many opportunities to do big things at Golf Channel." Solomon will move to Orlando and will report to Golf Channel President MIKE MCCARLEY. As the network's executive producer, Solomon will oversee all aspects of Golf Channel's programming and production, from tournament coverage to news to original productions. "I want to build on the momentum Golf Channel has," she said. "It needs to be must-see TV in every locker room and every grill room in America." Solomon is a well-decorated producer, having won nine Emmy awards during her career. She is best known for producing the Olympic Games and will remain as coordinating producer of this summer's London Games, even though she is starting her Golf Channel role immediately. "That was my promise to Mark Lazarus," Solomon said. "I can do both. I can balance two jobs for a couple of months." Solomon, who will produce the Opening Ceremony and primetime shows from London, will continue to work on future games for NBC. "I insisted on that," Solomon said. "There are a core group of us that have such a passion for the Olympics." She started her Olympic career as a researcher for the '92 Barcelona Games. The London Games will mark her ninth Olympics.
People and Pop Culture
The Nets and Barclays Center promoted FRED MANGIONE to Exec VP & CMO, MARIE CHINDAMO to Senior VP/HR, ELISA PADILLA to VP/Marketing, JEFF GAMBLE to Senior Dir of Marketing and KRIS ELVGREN to Senior Dir of Partnership Marketing. Barclays Center promoted MIKE ZAVODSKY to Senior VP/Corporate Sponsorships and ANDREW NEWMAN to Senior Manager for Corporate Sponsorship Development. The Nets promoted KRISTEN BIANCO to Dir of HR (Nets).
EXECS: Palace Sports & Entertainment named Twins VP/Ticket Sales & Service STEVE SMITH VP/Ticketing, Consumer Sales & Service (PSE)....The Cubs named GE HR Leader BRYAN ROBINSON VP/HR (Cubs)....Alcorn State Univ. named Langston Univ. AD PATRIC DAVID SIMON to the same position (ASU)....The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission named trainer JOHN WARD Exec Dir. He "will stop conditioning horses to focus on his new position" (THOROUGHBREDTIMES.com, 2/27)....The Blues named MindComet Account Dir MATTHEW GARDNER Marketing Communications Dir (THE DAILY).
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In Texas, Brittany Hoover reports Texas Tech football coach TOMMY TUBERVILLE "denies accusations levied in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Alabama, claiming he and a business partner bilked customers of their investment firm out of about" $1.7M. Seven people, "including some former employees of TS Capital Partners LLC, filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in Montgomery on Friday." Tuberville was a "managing partner of the firm while he was head coach" at the Univ. of Auburn. The 32-page complaint alleges that Tuberville and his partner JOHN STROUD "failed to file tax returns and falsified fund performance reports and client statements." The 16-count civil lawsuit "also accuses the two of co-mingling investors' funds with theirs." The complaint states that most of the plaintiffs have "asked for their money back, but it hasn't been returned or accounted for" (LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL, 2/29). In Alabama, John Turner notes the complaint states Tuberville and Stroud "employed devices, schemes, and artifices" to commit fraud (HUNTSVILLE TIMES, 2/29).
DANCING HIS WAY TO TV: In Milwaukee, Don Walker noted Packers WR DONALD DRIVER, who will be a contestant on ABC's "DANCING WITH THE STARS," and his wife, BETINA, have been "big fans of the show for years." After the NFL season ended, Driver's agent BRIAN LAMMI said that Driver "asked him to reach out to ABC to see if they would consider adding" him. ABC producers "spoke with Lammi, and then spoke with Driver to sound him out about the show." Lammi said, "It was not an incredibly long process. We just reached out and kind of waited to see if he would be a good fit for the show" (JSONLINE.com, 2/28).
COURSE RENOVATIONS: In Miami, Douglas Hanks noted DONALD TRUMP on Monday officially announced that his company is paying $150M to purchase the Doral golf resort out of bankruptcy. As part of the deal, Trump "insisted Marriott exit as the Doral's longtime operator so that his company could run the property." He said that he will spend another $150M renovating the 692-room hotel and redoing the four golf courses there. Trump said that he has hired GIL HANSE, a "leading designer of golf courses, to remake the four courses that are part of the Doral complex" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/28).
ALL-STAR PARTY SCENE: In Orlando, Shannon Owens writes the NBA lockout "undoubtedly took its toll on the NBA All-Star festivities." With "just over eight weeks to plan an all-star event, a few high profile All-Star events were [noticeably] absent from the itinerary: NBA Players Association Gala and the LEBRON JAMES, DWYANE WADE 'Two Kings' dinner." Large corporate sponsorship and parties were "few to none and Orlando's All-Star weekend also had to compete with the Oscars, Daytona 500 and Universal Studios' Mardi Gras to attract celebrities and VIPs" last weekend. Owens writes the city of Orlando "did a great job hosting this somewhat last-minute large scale event as evidenced by the turnout at the NBA jam sessions and the games." But Owens notes there was a "bit of 'star' missing from the All-Star this weekend and I'm grading this as a C-" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/29).
LACK OF NOTICE: Kentucky State Fair Board Chair RON CARMICLE said that he "asked board President HAROLD WORKMAN on Tuesday to rehire the KFC Yum! Center's ousted" GM TED NICHOLSON. Carmicle said Workman fired Nicholson "without prior notice or discussion" with the board. Workman "declined to comment" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 2/29).
NAMES: First lady MICHELLE OBAMA will attend the CIAA basketball tournament Friday in Charlotte to promote her "Let's Move" anti-obesity project (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/29)....The Fullerton (Calif.) City Council has asked the Parks & Recreation Department to “come up with a way of memorializing” late Baseball HOFer GARY CARTER, who played Little League in the city. Mayor SHARON QUIRK-SILVA said that dedicating a street or a field after Carter are “among the possibilities” (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/29)....Former Univ. of Texas football coach DARRELL ROYAL and his wife, EDITH, have “announced the creation of the Darrell K. Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Diseases.” Royal has been “living with dementia for several years” (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 2/29)….Basketball HOFer DAVID ROBINSON’s private-equity firm Admiral Capital Group has “received $15 million to invest for the Texas Teacher Retirement System” (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS NEWS, 2/29)….The WNBA Atlanta Dream has won the “Team of the Year” award at the 7th annual Atlanta Sports Awards (THE DAILY)....Lucky Strike S.F., a pub set to open across the street from AT&T Park, has announced MLB Giants P BRIAN WILSON has joined the restaurant as partner and owner (Lucky Strike)….Patriots LB JEROD MAYO, WR JULIAN EDELMAN and RB KEVIN FAULK recently served breakfast at Children’s Hospital Boston as part of the team’s “Celebrate Volunteerism” campaign (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/29).