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Volume 24 No. 160

People and Pop Culture

The PGA of America named KEVIN RING to the newly created position of CMO. Ring had been in IMG’s consulting division since '00 and most recently had led the golf consulting practice. His clients included Chevron, KPMG and Thomson Reuters. At the PGA, Ring will oversee the association’s marketing, creative resources, research and communications departments. One of his first duties will be to develop a brand communications plan and campaigns that will enhance the PGA’s membership programs. While Ring has assisted clients in other sports, such as MLB and the USTA, he has primarily worked in golf. He begins at PGA HQs in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on Feb. 18 and will report directly to PGA CEO PETE BEVACQUA. Additionally, the PGA of America promoted Managing Dir KEVIN CARTER to Chief Business Officer where he will lead broadcasting, merchandising and business development. Carter oversees the PGA’s relationships with its corporate partners, such as AmEx, Mercedes-Benz and Omega. The organization also promoted Managing Dir CHRISTINE GARRITY to Chief Administrative Officer & General Counsel. Carter and Garrity will report to Bevacqua (Michael Smith, Staff Writer).

HURRICANE COMING: The Univ. of Miami named BLAKE JAMES AD after he had been serving in the role on an interim basis since Oct. 4, when former AD SHAWN EICHORST left for the same position at the Univ. of Nebraska. James becomes UM’s third AD since PAUL DEE stepped down in ’08. James said that “his yet-to-be-signed deal was for five years at an undisclosed salary” (MIAMI HERALD, 2/9). The AP’s Tim Reynolds wrote it is a “critical time for Miami's athletic department, especially the administration, where virtually everyone in the employee directory has been a relatively new hire or has assumed a new role in the past couple years” (AP, 2/8).

BACK TO SCHOOL: In this week’s SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, John Ourand reports JUSTIN CONNOLLY “will oversee the Longhorn Network and the soon-to-be-announced SEC Network” as ESPN Senior VP/College Networks. In the newly created position, Connolly will report to Senior VP/College Sports Programming BURKE MAGNUS, and “will remain based in Bristol, Conn.” Connolly’s duties “will expand well beyond distribution.” He will “oversee content acquisition and scheduling at the networks.” Connolly, who was a member of SBJ/SBD’s Forty Under 40 class of ’11, has been at ESPN since ’03 (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/11 issue).

EXECS: Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment promoted ANTON WIMMER to MLS Toronto FC Dir of Ticket Sales & Service and MIKE COSENTINO to AHL Toronto Marlies Senior Dir of Business Operations (MLSE)....The PBR named DENISE ABBOTT Senior Dir of PR (THE DAILY).

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In N.Y., Gartland & Fagen wrote former MLBer MIKE PIAZZA "comes out swinging in a new memoir" entitled "Long Shot" (N.Y. POST, 2/10). Also in N.Y., David Waldstein wrote there were no "bombshells in Piazza's book," which was "written by LONNIE WHEELER and was scheduled to be released this week." There are a "good number of intriguing disclosures as he recounts his improbable rise to stardom." However, there is "little in the book that would have given pause to any Hall of Fame voters" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/10).

GET PUMPED: The Arnold Sports Festival, which is co-promoted by former California Gov. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, "gets under way later this month" in Columbus, Ohio. During the competition, 18,000 athletes will compete in 46 different sporting events. That compares with 10,000 athletes who participated in 36 events in the London Olympics. The event brings in 175,000 visitors "from across the globe" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 2/10).

CHARITY STRIPE: Bobcats C BRENDAN HAYWOOD is "going to pay" electric bills for the upcoming year for 15 women at the Center of Hope homeless shelter in Charlotte. The women are “part of the Salvation Army’s rapid re-housing program, which helps single women transition from living in a shelter to living in market-rate housing by providing them with job resources and assistance” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/11).

CRIBS: Heat President PAT RILEY sold his 12,856-square-foot Mediterranean-style home in Coral Gables, Fla., last March for $16.8M and the buyer “plans to tear down the home” that was built in ’91 (MIAMI HERALD, 2/9)….NBC’s BOB COSTAS and wife JILL SUTTON have “bought a house in a gated community” in Newport Coast, Calif., for $4.7M. There are “four bedrooms, six bathrooms and 4,534 square feet of living space” (, 2/9).

NAMES: A source said that Chargers physician DAVID CHAO has been “totally exonerated” by three independent doctors following an NFLPA protest that claimed he was unfit to serve in his current role (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 2/10)....ESPN golf analyst ANDY NORTH has been selected as ’13 Lombardi Award of Excellence honoree. The award will be presented at the 23rd annual Vince Lombardi Award of Excellence Dinner Ball on March 2 at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee (, 2/10)....Former MLBer MARK GRACE was “booked into jail” yesterday morning “to begin serving a four-month term for his DUI conviction” (, 2/10)….Actor JAMES FRANCO will be the grand marshal of this year's Daytona 500 (, 2/8)….Ravens QB JOE FLACCO and his wife, DANA, during N.Y. Fashion Week “attended TOMMY HILFIGER's men’s show on Park Avenue” and appeared on “Live With Kelly And Michael” (, 2/9).

IN MEMORY: Former NBC cameraman LOU GERARD died on Friday at the age of 86. He was “one of the great characters among many great characters within NBC Sports in its glory days” (N.Y. POST, 2/11)….Former BYU announcer JAY MONSEN died of cancer yesterday at the age of 79. He served as “the ‘Voice of Cougar Sports’" for KBYU-TV from 1972-1984 and became the school’s electronics media relations director in '84. He also “served as BYU’s associate sports information director from 1984-1988” (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 2/11).