Longtime NFLPA General Counsel RICHARD BERTHELSEN announced he will be retiring after serving the union for 40 years. Berthelsen joined the NFLPA as its first ever legal counsel in ’72 (Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal). Berthelsen became General Counsel in '83. He will officially retire on May 15, but is taking a consulting role with the organization (NFLPA). NFL Network’s Albert Breer noted on Twitter that Berthelsen, in a speech to NFLPA player reps at the union’s annual meeting, said: "You here in this room have stepped forward as leaders to build this game. I hope you have HOF careers… I’m going to remember you as the men who built this game. This has been an incredible, unbelievable experience” (TWITTER.com, 3/22).
People and Pop Culture
NHLPA Exec Dir DONALD FEHR has "won admirers over time for his candor, intelligence, doggedness as a negotiator and devotion to core principles, even when it wasn't necessarily a boon to his popularity quotient," according to a profile piece by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. After years of "instability, the NHLPA has added a bona fide cleanup hitter to its leadership hierarchy." What Fehr "lacks in schmooze-ability, he makes up for in determination." He knows from experience that "nothing undermines a sense of unity more than intellectually bullying the membership." That is a lesson he learned "from his mentor, MARVIN MILLER, and applied it" through 26 years with the MLBPA. Crasnick wrote with hockey's labor agreement scheduled to expire on Sept. 15, "we'll see if Fehr's message plays as well on ice as it did on grass and dirt." Fehr "brings welcome experience and direction to a hockey union that's been rudderless since BOB GOODENOW's resignation" in '05. Only Fehr knows "how much time and energy he's ready to commit to the process, but he certainly seems to be enjoying his involvement." Crasnick noted during a recent interview, he "sounded more relaxed and gregarious than the tightly wound baseball version of Donald Fehr." Asked about his objectives, Fehr said, "I want them to have that agreement, and begin a relationship with us to set the stage for other things in the years to come. I know that's sort of amorphous, but it's really the goal here" (ESPN.com, 3/21).
NBC Sports Group has promoted PRINCELL HAIR to Senior VP/News & Talent. Hair will begin his role immediately and report to NBC Sports Exec Producer SAM FLOOD. Hair was previously Comcast Sports Group Senior VP/News Operations (NBC Sports).
EXECS: Florida Atlantic Univ. AD CRAIG ANGELOS was informed earlier this week that his contract "would not be renewed.” Associate AD MELISSA DAWSON was named interim AD and a Board of Trustees member has been assigned by FAU President MARY JANE SAUNDERS to head a search committee (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 3/21)….Ole Miss officially named Western Kentucky Univ. AD ROSS BJORK AD yesterday. Bjork will take over for PETE BOONE, who is “retiring in mid-April” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 3/22)….Stats LLC named CHRISTOPHER MCNALLY to the newly-created position of VP/Strategic Activation. McNally was previously Queue Marketing Communications Group VP/Business Development (Stats).
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STACEY AUGUST, mother of Tigers 1B PRINCE FIELDER and ex-wife of former MLBer CECIL FIELDER, is writing a book entitled "STEALING HOME ON A FIELDER'S CHOICE." The book is expected to be available online and in bookstores this spring (DETROIT NEWS, 3/21)....SI.com's Andy Staples noted former agent JOSH LUCHS in his new book, "ILLEGAL PROCEDURE: A SPORTS AGENT COMES CLEAN ON THE DIRTY BUSINESS OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL," offers a "humble suggestion that would solve many of the issues that cause so much frustration for the NCAA's enforcement staff" (SI.com, 3/20)....N.Y. publishing company Right Fit Reading yesterday released the first-to-print unauthorized biography of Knicks G JEREMY LIN, "FROM THE END OF THE BENCH TO STARDOM" (THE DAILY).
NAMES: FORTUNE magazine, in its list of the "World's Most Admired Companies," ranked Nike at No. 26 (FORTUNE, 3/19 issue). In California, Kimberly Pierceall notes Dodgers Special Assistant TOMMY LASORDA "sided with the city of Ontario" (Calif.) in its struggle with L.A. for control of Ontario Int'l Airport. Lasorda appears in a two-minute commercial, saying "C'mon LA! Let's set Ontario free" (Riverside PRESS-ENTERPRISE, 3/22). Redskins Owner DAN SNYDER, coach MIKE SHANAHAN, Exec VP & GM BRUCE ALLEN and offensive coordinator KYLE SHANAHAN were at a Hooters in Waco, Texas Tuesday night, and were reportedly with NFL Draft prospect QB ROBERT GRIFFIN III (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/21)....Patriots QB TOM BRADY and Rangers LW SEAN AVERY reportedly attended Audemars Piguet's black-tie gala at the Park Avenue Armory last night in N.Y. (N.Y. POST, 3/21)....ESPN's ERIN ANDREWS celebrated St. Patrick's Day at Southern Hospitality Hell's Kitchen on Saturday, while former MLBer DARRYL STRAWBERRY sat at another table with 49ers WR MARIO MANNINGHAM (N.Y. POST, 3/21).
IN MEMORY: The Chicago Sun-Times' first African-American sportswriter LACY BANKS died yesterday at the age of 68. Beginning in '08, Banks became his "own journalism subject, chronicling his health battles with prostate cancer, a brain tumor and heart disease in blogs he wrote for the Sun-Times." Banks was the "longest-serving sportswriter on the Sun-Times' staff," remaining on staff until his death (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/22)....Former NFL coordinator RON ERHARDT died yesterday at the age of 80 in Boca Raton, Fla. Erhardt is the father of ESPN President of Customer Marketing & Sales ED ERHARDT (THE DAILY).