ESPN's JIM DURHAM, who was the lead play-by-play announcer for ESPN Radio's NBA coverage, passed away over the weekend at his home in Tomball, Texas, at the age of 65. His final ESPN assignment was last Tuesday’s NBA season opener between the Celtics and Heat. He joined ESPN in ‘92, where he called college basketball and MLB games in addition to the NBA. Prior to joining ESPN, Durham had been a TV announcer for the Mavericks from ’93-'01. He also served as radio and television commentator for the Bulls from ’73-91, White Sox TV play-by-play announcer from ’89-90, and Astros TV commentator from ’83-85. Durham last year was honored by the Basketball HOF with the Curt Gowdy Media Award (ESPN). In Chicago, K.C. Johnson notes Durham called the Bulls’ “first championship season" in '91. The tributes to Durham that “flowed freely” yesterday “spoke not only to Durham's broadcasting talent, but also to his generosity and gentlemanly nature.” The Chicago native was “widely hailed for having time for anyone to talk broadcasting and basketball.” Durham “worked solo when he first joined the Bulls before suggesting using JOHNNY 'RED' KERR for color commentary.” Their partnership featured “healthy doses of humor along with knowledge.” Durham was honored as Illinois Sportscaster of the Year in ‘79, ‘89 and ‘90 and “won two local Emmy awards” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/6). In Ft. Worth, Dwain Price reports there was a “moment of silence” for Durham yesterday at American Airlines Center before the Trail Blazers-Mavericks game. Mavericks Owner MARK CUBAN said, "J.D. is a Hall Of Famer, he's a legend. We were fortunate to have him here with the Mavs for so many years; he'll be irreplaceable” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/6).
REMEMBERING A LEGEND: In Illinois, Mike Imrem writes Durham was “as natural at broadcasting sports as anyone who ever did games" in Chicago. Durham “respected the games he broadcast and enjoyed them and appreciated working them” (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 11/6). In Chicago, Joe Cowley notes Durham “called Bulls games during MICHAEL JORDAN's first seven seasons.” His “most memorable call might have been Jordan’s shot over CRAIG EHLO to defeat the Cavaliers in the 1989 playoffs” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/6). ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan said Durham “was one of the great radio broadcasters of our time.” MacMullan: “He wasn’t a guy that had big, bombastic declarations. He didn’t have gimmicky catchphrases. That’s not what Jim was about. He was consistent (and would) vividly describe the game for you. He was as an old throwback to one of those great old radio guys” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 11/5). ESPN.com’s Marc Stein wrote about some of the things he will remember from Durham, including “how he made the broadcasts of some really bad Mavericks teams in the '90s sound as important as the games he called for Michael Jordan's Bulls." He also will recall "how good" Durham and analyst DR. JACK RAMSAY were on ESPN Radio (ESPN.com, 11/5).
Golf Inc. magazine recently released its '12 list of the most powerful people in the sport, and this year's ranking "reflects an industry that is seeing tepid improvement." The people who made the biggest movements this year "are the developers, buyers and operators who have money to invest." But the top of the list is "still dominated by operators and organization leaders," including Troon Golf Chair & CEO DANA GARMANY at No. 1 for the second consecutive year (GOLF INC., fall issue).
35 MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE IN GOLF
Troon Golf Chair & CEO Dana Garmany
Nicklaus Cos. Chair Jack Nicklaus
ClubCorp President & CEO Eric Affeldt
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem
R&A CEO Peter Dawson
Trump Organization Chair Donald Trump
European Tour Chief Exec George O'Grady
Billy Casper Golf CEO & Chair Peter Hill
PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka
Gary Player Golf CEO Gary Player
Developer Mike Keiser
USGA Exec Dir Mike Davis
KemperSports CEO Steve Skinner & President Josh Lesnick
Century Golf Partners/Arnold Palmer Golf Management CEO Jim Hinckley
TaylorMade-adidas Golf CEO Mark King
China Golf Assoc. Vice Chair and Forward Management Group President Wang Jun
Fore Golf partners Charlie Staples, Tom Bennison and Mike Miraglia
Faldo Enterprises Chair Nick Faldo
World Golf Foundation CEO Steve Mona
Architect Gil Hanse
Acushnet Co. Chair & CEO Wally Uihlein
Mission Hills Group Chair Ken Chu and Vice Chair Tenniel Chu
Sequoia Golf Group President & CEO Joe Guerra
Golfer Tiger Woods
ClubLink Chair & CEO Rai Sahi
Great White Shark Enterprises Chair & CEO Greg Norman
Heritage Golf Group CEO Bob Husband
Coore & Crenshaw co-Founders Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw
Pacific Golf Management President Arihiro Kanda
Golfer Rory McIlroy
ISM Founder Chubby Chandler
Kohler Co. President & Chair Herb Kohler
Concert Golf Partners Managing Partner Peter Nanula
The National Golf Foundation President & CEO Joe Beditz
Arnold Palmer Design Co. President Arnold Palmer
THEIR PICKS: Golf Channel’s Damon Hack said the USGA's Davis is the “most influential leader in golf today” because he “rules with intelligence and humility. He’s respected across the board.” Golf Channel’s Gary Williams: “I think it's Mike Davis. He’s accessible. He’s changed the persona that most people have of the USGA. He’s willing to talk. He’s willing to listen.” Golf Channel’s Ryan Burr said, “It’s easy. It’s Tiger Woods. Tiger is the leader. When Tiger speaks, people listen. If Tiger wants something, he can get it done” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 11/6).
The Warriors announced the following promotions: STEVIE GRAY to Senior Dir of Ticket Operations, DAN MARTINEZ to Senior Dir of Communications, KEVIN COTE to Dir of Digital Marketing, ABUSHERI OHWOFASA to Dir of Community Relations, ANDY FAHEY to Manager of Digital Marketing, RC DAVIS to Senior Producer, CHRIS GILBERT to Senior Manager of Ticket Operations, GREG UHRIK to Senior Manager of Suite Sales, JEANNE MCGRATH to Manager of Suite Services, MELISSA VICERAL BEACH to Manager of Ticket Services, RON COBB to Manager of Payroll, MARCO NICOLA to Coordinator of Game Operations and ANDREW LOOMIS to NBDL Santa Cruz Warriors Assistant GM (Warriors).
EXECS: Golfsmith named SUE GOVE President & CEO. Gove was previously President & COO of the combined Golfsmith and Golf Town venture (Golfsmith)....The Mid-American Conference named Media Relations Assistant PHIL BURWELL Associate Dir of Media Relations (MAC)....USA Today Sports Media Group has named DINO MARKUS Dir of Video for USA Today Sports and DEREK SAMSON Dir of Content for USA Today High School Sports. Markus formerly was Dir of Video Production & Programming for Bleacher Report. Samson formerly was Assistant Managing Editor for the Yahoo-owned Rivals.com....Social gaming outfit WedgeBuster has named Coyle Media President PAT COYLE to its board of advisors. WedgeBuster earlier this fall closed on a $2.2M funding round that included Saints QB DREW BREES (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal)....The Dodgers named PAT CORRALES Special Assistant to the GM (Dodgers)....Back9Network named UConn Dir of Institutional Advancement PAUL PENDERGAST Chief Development Officer (Back9Network)....Sources said that the Canadian Soccer Association today will "announce former Vancover 86er TONY FONSECA as technical director." The CSA has "been without a technical director" since '09 (Vancouver PROVINCE, 11/6)....The USL Des Moines Menace named MATT HOMONOFF GM. Homonoff previously served as MLS DC United Manager of Corporate Sponsorships, and NASL FC Edmonton Dir of Sales (DES MOINES REGISTER, 11/6)....The Sports & Fitness Industry Association named Mizuno USA President BOB PUCCINI Chair (THE DAILY).
In Indianapolis, Shari Rudavsky reports doctors for Colts coach CHUCK PAGANO said that his cancer is “in remission.” Pagano’s oncologist said that a test of his bone marrow "showed no sign of his disease, acute promyelocytic leukemia.” But Indiana Univ. Health Simon Cancer Center associate professor of medicine LARRY CRIPE said that it "is not the same as being cured and Pagano will receive two more rounds of chemotherapy” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 11/6).
AMERICA'S FINEST: Packers TE TOM CRABTREE, OT MARSHALL NEWHOUSE and TE RYAN TAYLOR “spent their Saturday playing video games with active duty members of the military from Wisconsin.” The event “took place at the Lambeau Field Atrium as part of the Pro vs. G.I. Joe program.” Members of the soldiers’ families were in attendance at the event, and with the players, "interacted with the soldiers via video conference during and after the game.” The event was “sponsored by WPS Health Insurance through the Operation Fan Mail program” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 11/4)....The Magic “donated more than 800 tickets to active and retired military personnel and their families as part of Seats For Soldiers Night” at Amway Center for Sunday’s game against the Suns (ORLANDOPINSTRIPEDPOST.com, 11/5).
COME FLY WITH ME: Golf HOFer GARY PLAYER is featured in the N.Y. TIMES' “Frequent Flyer” column. Player: “All I can say is, I would like to meet the person who has flown more than me. I have been traveling for about 60 years, 90 percent of which has been on commercial airlines. I’ve logged more than 15 million miles.” Player added, “I wasted a lot of life sitting in an airline seat. We calculated it once, and it came out to about three years. That’s why I’m so amazed at travel today. I never thought I would live to see the day when there was a nonstop flight from South Africa to the United States” (N.Y. TIMES, 11/6).
NAMES: Patriots LB BRANDON SPIKES has terminated DREW ROSENHAUS as his agent. Rosenhaus declined comment (Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal)....Red Sox 2B DUSTIN PEDROIA is “taking a wait-and-see approach” on his agents SETH and SAM LEVINSON. A few clients have “already jumped ship.” But Pedroia said the Levinsons "have been very good to me and my family” (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/4)....49ers CEO JED YORK and former NFLer GUY MCINTYRE on Thursday launched Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo County’s annual Holiday Food and Fund Drive in San Jose (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 11/3)….The Red Wings and Fifth Third Bank have partnered again on the SHOTS program (Students Helping Others Through Service), an initiative that encourages high school students in southeastern Michigan to volunteer their time in an effort to make a positive impact on their community. Red Wings radio play-by-play announcer KEN KAL will serve as ambassador for the program (Red Wings)….The U.S. Postal Service yesterday announced that its WILLIE STARGELL stamp, commemorating the late Baseball HOFer, had “finished as the most popular player in its Major League Baseball All-Stars Forever competition.” The other stamps honored HOFers JOE DIMAGGIO, LARRY DOBY and TED WILLIAMS (POST-GAZETTE.com, 11/5)….76ers G JASON RICHARDSON sold his six-bedroom home in Charlotte for $1.3M. Meanwhile, Nets F GERALD WALLACE sold his six-bedroom, 8,300-square-foot home in the city for $1.2M (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/2 issue).