Turner Sports hired NATE SMELTZ from ESPN to be Turner Sports VP/Communications. Smeltz is relocating to Atlanta and will report to Turner Senior VP/Communications SAL PETRUZZI. Smeltz had been with ESPN since '00, eventually overseeing PR for ESPN's MLB and NBA content. On Twitter yesterday afternoon, ESPN Senior VP/Corporate Communications CHRIS LAPLACA tweeted a message to Smeltz saying, "Safe travels! See you soon. Silver lining: your old office will work nicely as my personal wet bar. #gottherebeforemike&josh." ESPN VP/PR JOSH KRULEWITZ tweeted, "Now as good a time as any to say the PR guy formerly known as @Nate_ESPN is a special guy with enormous talent. Good luck my friend."
People and Pop Culture
The 49ers named KUNAL MALIK Chief Technology Officer, effective May 1. Malik previously led the creation of the IT department at Facebook (49ers)....Univision President of Sports SANDY BROWN is stepping down "just over a year" after taking the position. He will "stay on as an adviser" to the Spanish-language network. Brown "developed the company's sports network, which is set to launch in April" (AP, 3/6)....The Raiders named Winston Group President & CEO LAMONTE WINSTON Dir of Player Engagement. Winston had a previous stint as Chiefs Exec Dir of Player Development (Raiders)....Churchill Downs racetrack named RYAN JORDAN GM and promoted GREG BUSH to VP/Operations (Churchill Downs)....Madison Square Garden Co. named KIM KERNS Senior VP/Communications (CABLEFAX DAILY, 3/7)....The Nassau Coliseum named BOK Center Assistant GM JERRY GOLDMAN GM (TULSA WORLD, 3/6)....Clayton State Univ. named former Florida Gulf Coast Univ. AD CARL MCALOOSE to the same position (NAPLES NEWS, 3/6)....Central College AD AL DORENKAMP will retire at the end of the '11-12 academic year (Central).
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GOLFWEEK reported former financier ALLEN STANFORD, whose golf sponsorships "included tournaments and players on the PGA and LPGA tours, was convicted Tuesday in U.S. District Court of bilking investors of $7 billion in a massive Ponzi scheme." Stanford was "found guilty on 13 of 14 counts in the criminal indictment, including fraud, conspiracy and obstruction." He was found "not guilty on one count of wire fraud." Stanford, whose net worth was a reported $2B, formerly title-sponsored the annual Memphis, Tenn., stop on the PGA Tour, the Stanford Int'l Pro-Am, the Tour Championship on the LPGA, and players including VIJAY SINGH, HENRIK STENSON, DAVID TOMS, CAMILO VILLEGAS and MORGAN PRESSEL (GOLFWEEK.com, 3/6).
OLYMPIC HERO? In London, Rhys Blakely writes Republican presidential candidate MITT ROMNEY's "rescue of the 2002 Winter Olympics was the springboard of his political career." However, in a "deft piece of political jujitsu, his rivals are turning the Olympics against him." An attack video from the DNC accused Romney of "organising the 'most expensive Games in U.S. history,'" and the charge "undermines his campaign claim to be a fiscal conservative." Sources said that Romney had "exaggerated his rescue role." Former Salt Lake Olympic Committee board member KEN BULLOCK said, "The idea that Romney single-handedly saved the games is a fairy tale" (LONDON TIMES, 3/7).
RUMOR HAS IT: Gawker Media Founder NICK DENTON was profiled on NBC’s “Today” show this morning, with NBC’s Matt Lauer saying Denton was “one of the most powerful men in media who’s become a force to be reckoned with by breaking all the rules.” NBC’s Jamie Gangel said, “If you’ve spent any time on the Internet, you probably know his popular and infamous sites -- Gawker, Gizmodo, Deadspin, to name a few, … (and) why so many people are obsessed with them.” Denton said of printing gossip and rumors on his sites, “This is going to sound really, really pretentious, but I believe in the larger truth. I believe that the truth is arrived often in a rather messy fashion and gossip is part of the process, that we’ll put out a story and it’ll be rough-and-ready and then frankly, television and newspapers will come and follow like a day or two later once we’ve done the dirty work” (“Today,” NBC, 3/7).
HOF BALLOT: In K.C., Blair Kerkhoff notes the National Collegiate Basketball HOF yesterday announced its '12 class. Inductee JOE DEAN's "contributions to basketball run the gamut," and include a stint with Converse and serving as LSU AD. Also being inducted as a contributor, JIM HOST is the "founding father of college sports marketing" (K.C. STAR, 3/7).
NAMES: ABC said in a statement yesterday, "We have not approached TIM TEBOW about being the next Bachelor. This started as a joke by [host] CHRIS HARRISON and then took on a life of its own" (LATIMES.com, 3/6)....Chicago aldermen yesterday approved Mayor RAHM EMANUEL's appointment of former NBAer B.J. ARMSTRONG to the Chicago Park District board to oversee the renovation of 100 inner-city basketball courts (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/7)....Former NFLer FREDDIE MITCHELL has been "charged with tax fraud for his role in a scheme to file false federal returns on behalf of professional athletes." The faked returns "sought refunds ranging from $170,000 to $1.9 million" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/7)....Reebok Founder PAUL FIREMAN, after “spending millions to turn Willowbend Country Club into a golfing destination, agreed” yesterday to sell the property for an undisclosed sum (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/7)….Patriots OT MATT LIGHT had dinner with EchoStor Technologies CEO JOHN DOOLEY and some friends at Stella in Boston’s South End (BOSTON HERALD, 3/7)….NASCAR driver TONY STEWART was spotted with some friends at the Marquee club at Las Vegas’ Cosmopolitan hotel Monday. Seahawks WR SIDNEY RICE was also there. Meanwhile, NASCAR driver DALE EARNHARDT JR. was at Carrot Top’s show at the Luxor on Monday (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 3/7).
IN MEMORY: ESPN Dir of Ticket & Event Marketing LIZ CORCORAN died on Saturday after a battle with cancer. She was 46. Corcoran worked for ABC Sports and ESPN for the last 16 years. A funeral was held this morning in Bronxville, N.Y. (John Ourand, THE DAILY).