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Volume 24 No. 132

People and Pop Culture

USA Track & Field interim CEO MIKE MCNEES is leaving the organization. The move comes two weeks after the organization named MAX SIEGEL as its new CEO. McNees joined USATF in '09 as its COO. He was named interim CEO in '10 after DOUG LOGAN was dismissed from that position. He previously served as a county administrator in Idaho and was a hurdler on the Indiana Univ. track team (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).

EXECS: The AFL BOD voted unanimously to extend the contract of Commissioner JERRY KURZ. He is in his third season as commissioner and with the extension, will be in place through ’17 (AFL)….The Breeders’ Cup named former Turfway Park President & CEO ROBERT ELLISTON COO. He replaces MATTHEW LUTZ, who stepped down at the end of '11 (, 5/7)….Dodgers CFO PETER WILHELM resigned yesterday. He was in his sixth season with the club (, 5/8)….Blackhawks Dir Player Personnel NORM MACIVER has been promoted to Assistant GM. Maciver has been with the team five seasons (Blackhawks)….JAMIE KIMBROUGH was named PR Dir for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS)….The Univ. of Memphis named JULIAN SWARTZ Assistant Dir of Basketball Operations (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 5/8)….Aquarius Sports & Entertainment Founder & President MARC BLUESTEIN was elected as an at-large trustee for the United Way Worldwide. Bluestein will support the organization’s U.S. Movement over the next three years (United Way).

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The WALL STREET JOURNAL's James Hookway writes when boxer MANNY PACQUIAO is "home in the Philippines, boxing is almost an afterthought" as he "fine-tunes a hit weekly TV game show and plans for a larger-than-life role outside the ring." Pacquiao's advisors have said that his primetime show, 'MANNY MANY PRIZES,' pitched "somewhere between 'WHEEL OF FORTUNE' and 'AMERICAN IDOL' ... might help him get elected president of the Philippines someday" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/8).

FREQUENT FLIERS: In L.A., Ken Bensinger noted 66 American Airlines customers "bought tickets that gave them unlimited first-class travel for life" on the airline under the AAirpass program, introduced by the company in '81. The "marquee item was the lifetime unlimited AAirpass, which started at $250,000." The unlimited passes were bought "mostly by wealthy individuals," including Baseball HOFer WILLIE MAYS and America's Cup-winning skipper DENNIS CONNER. F1 Grand Prix of America Exec Chair LEO HINDERY JR bought a five-year AAirpass in '91, "with an option to upgrade to lifetime after three years." He said the airline later "asked me not to convert. They were gracious. They said the program had been discontinued and if I gave my pass back, they'd give me back my money." But Hindery "declined," and to date, he has "accumulated 11.5 million miles on a pass that cost him about $500,000, including an age discount and credit from his five-year pass" (L.A. TIMES, 5/6).

THE GODFATHER: The FINANCIAL TIMES' Roger Blitz wrote U.K. entrepreneur PATRICK NALLY is "known as one of the godfathers of modern sport: the marketing strategist that resurrected the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup commercially and turned them into multimillion-dollar bonanzas originated with him." Nally closed the deal for Coca-Cola "to sponsor the World Cup." He also "helped conceive the Rugby World Cup, the World Athletics Championships and the London Marathon." Today, he is "back in the game of sports marketing after a long period of inactivity." He has "revived the name of West Nally, the company he set up with PETER WEST, the late BBC sports broadcaster, mainly as a website resource for students of the art of sports marketing and promotion" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/5).

COACHING TAB: Univ. of North Carolina figures indicate that the school will pay its football coaching staff $4.07M "during its first year on the job." That number includes $2.13M UNC will pay to head coach LARRY FEDORA. Fedora's salary includes a "one-time payment of $400,000, which the university was to provide to him by March 15." The school's highest-paid assistant coaches, BLAKE ANDERSON, DAN DISCH and VIC KOENNING, will each make $250,000 annually (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 5/8).

NAMES: Brewers LF RYAN BRAUN and Packers QB AARON RODGERS in June will open a restaurant in Brookfield, Wisc., called 8*twelve, which will be owned and operated by SURG. This is the second Braun-SURG partnership and the first for Rodgers. Braun and Rodgers helped develop the concept for 8*twelve, and both players will make appearances at the restaurant throughout the year (SURG)....The Sudbury, Mass. home where BABE RUTH lived from '22-26 is on the market for $1.65M, which is more than Ruth "made in his entire playing career." The 5,000-square-foot, five-bedroom, 3 1/2 bathroom home on a two-acre plot is known as Home Plate Farm (AP, 5/7)....Rockies P JAMIE MOYER's foundation, which helps grieving children, yesterday received a $1M grant from the New York Life Foundation. It is the largest donation in Moyer's philanthropic work (DENVER POST, 5/8)....The PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open made a $2M donation to San Diego-area charities (, 5/7)....The Lions announced Bass Pro Shops will serve as the title sponsor for the inaugural Lions/Kevin VanDam Charity Fishing Tournament that will be held on June 12 (Lions).