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Volume 24 No. 115

People and Pop Culture

NASCAR named Nationwide Series Dir JOE BALASH Int'l Competition Liaison. The position will be the point of contact for competition-related matters with the NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series and other int'l competitions and series in which NASCAR may be involved. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Dir WAYNE AUTON will succeed Balash. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series Dir & Racing Development Dir CHAD LITTLE will step into Auton's former role. NASCAR also named Canadian Tire Series Dir BRAD MORAN NASCAR Touring Series Dir. NASCAR also announced VP & CAO ED BENNETT has been promoted to Senior VP. Brand, Consumer and Series Marketing Managing Dir KIM BRINK, Racing Operations Managing Dir JIM CASSIDY and Entertainment Marketing Managing Dir ZANE STODDARD were promoted to VP. Bennett will continue to lead NASCAR's corporate administration (NASCAR).

EXECS: The PGA named Championships & Business Development Managing Dir KERRY HAIGH Chief Championships Officer (PGA)....The WNBA Mystics named MIKE THIBAULT head coach & GM (Mystics)....DDB Chicago named TBWA\Chiat\Day Group Account Dir MARK HANSEN, Account Management Dir. Since '09, Hansen has "managed accounts like Gatorade and Visa." DDB's accounts include State Farm, McDonald's, Mars and Safeway (, 12/18).   

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The AP’s Pat Eaton-Robb reports NFL Giants WR VICTOR CRUZ yesterday “visited the home” of JACK PINTO, a “6-year-old Connecticut shooting victim who was buried in a replica Cruz jersey.” Several elementary school-age children “played touch football in the front yard” of the Pinto family home yesterday. Cruz left the home “about 45 minutes later” (AP, 12/19).

AWARDS & RECOGNITION: Forbes’ ’12 “30 Under 30” list of sports industry figures features a mix of athletes and execs, including Wasserman Media Group Business Development Dir DAN CAREY, Preplay Sports CEO ANDREW DAINES, The Recruit Scoop Founder ALEX KLINE, Warriors Assistant GM KIRK LACOB, Proskauer Rose attorney MEGHA PAREKH, WMG Consulting Group Dir JEZALI RATLIFF, MLBAM Business Development Dir REBECCA SHAW WHITENER and Barclays Center Senior VP MICHAEL ZAVODSKY (Forbes).

CHARITY STRIPE: Colts Owner JIM IRSAY and Pacers Owner HERB SIMON are “pledging $750,000 each to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s fundraising campaign aimed at ending a labor dispute with its musicians” (AP, 12/19)….Bobcats F MICHAEL KIDD-GILCHRIST “donated 150 gray Jordan Brand T-shirt jerseys” and 150 backpacks yesterday to players in the Sterling Elementary Basketball league at Somerdale Park in New Jersey (, 12/19)….Penguins co-Owner & Chair MARIO LEMIEUX joined Univ. of Pittsburgh Medical Center officials yesterday at the dedication of the Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers (, 12/18)….The Patriots Charitable Foundation teamed with the Vince Wilfork Foundation, the Patriots Alumni Club and Bass Pro Shops recently to "host a holiday shopping party for 50 kids in need." Nearly two dozen Patriots players took part, “helping kids shop for items” at Bass Pro Shop next to Gillette Stadium (, 12/18)….Jazz F and former Butler Univ. player GORDON HAYWARD has made what the school “calls a significant gift to the fund-raising campaign for renovation of Hinkle Fieldhouse.” His gift will be "recognized as the 'Gordon Hayward Men’s Basketball Video Room' in the planned new basketball suite” (, 12/18).

NAMES: The World Golf HOF announced COLIN MONTGOMERIE and KEN SCHOFIELD will be inducted next year (World Golf HOF)….Gold Medal-winning snowboarder SHAUN WHITE yesterday cut off his “trademark long red hair” in order to donate it to Locks of Love. He said he has been thinking about it for a “long while” (, 12/18)....MLB free agent 1B ADAM LAROCHE appears in a PSA for SAFE (Seatbelts Are For Everyone), a non-profit in Kansas “designed to increase seatbelt compliance” (, 12/18)….Denver Int'l Airport announced that Broncos QB PEYTON MANNING will be the “new voice in the train cars passing through the airport this holiday season" (DENVER POST, 12/14)….Former Univ. of South Carolina football coach and current ESPN college football analyst LOU HOLTZ spoke Monday at the school's commencement and received an honorary doctorate in education from the school (Columbia STATE, 12/17)….Vikings QB CHRISTIAN PONDER and ESPN’s SAMANTHA STEELE were married late Monday afternoon in St. Croix County Court in Wisconsin (, 12/18).

We are now accepting entries for the 6TH ANNUAL SPORTS BUSINESS AWARDS. Do you know of a company, team, league, event or executive that was the best of the best in '12? Submit your entry for this year’s awards. The deadline for all entries is Friday, January 11. We’re honoring the best in 15 categories:

Sports Team Talent Representation and Management
Sports League Corporate Consulting, Marketing and Client Services
Sports Event Property Consulting, Sales and Client Services
Sports Executive Sports Event and Experiential Marketing
Athletic Director Sports Sponsor
Sports Media Sports Facility
Sports Television Sports Technology
Digital Sports Media  

To submit an entry, go to