49ers Dir of Player Personnel TOM GAMBLE yesterday “accepted a similar position” with the Eagles, who “gave him his first NFL job 25 years ago,” according to Eric Branch of the S.F. CHRONICLE. As Eagles VP/Player Personnel, he will report to GM HOWIE ROSEMAN and “will work in the college and pro personnel departments, as he did with the 49ers.” The timing “isn't ideal for the 49ers” with the NFL Combine next week. But they “probably were braced for Gamble's exit after the well-respected personnel evaluator was reportedly a candidate for general-manager openings with the Jets, Jaguars, Chiefs and Chargers since the end of the regular season.” Gamble was the “director of pro personnel in his first six seasons with San Francisco before being promoted after the 2010 season.” Gamble will “fill the role" of RYAN GRIGSON, who left the Eagles a year ago to become Colts GM (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/14). ESPN's Chris Mortensen said of Gamble, “This guy brings a wealth of experience and expertise, and I think it’s something that the Eagles badly needed, certainly in that front office” (“NFL 32," ESPN2, 2/13). In Pennsylvania, Bob Grotz writes Gamble is “considered one of the most tenacious, experienced, hands-on talent evaluators in the NFL” (DELAWARE COUNTY TIMES DAILY, 2/14). Gamble’s father, HARRY, was Eagles President from '86-95 after "first joining the franchise as an assistant coach" in '81 (MERCURYNEWS.com, 2/13).
People and Pop Culture
Topps President & CEO RYAN O'HARA will step down next month, but will remain on company's BOD and serve as a strategic advisor, a move that essentially opens up the exec to other opportunities outside of Topps. Topps Chair MICHAEL EISNER hired O'Hara three years ago to run the company, following a stint as CEO of TV Guide Network. During O'Hara's tenure, Topps signed new deals with the NFL, MLB and EPL. "The timing is right for this, and we are set on an amazing path," he said (John Ourand, Staff Writer).
MEDIA PLAYS: ESPN Senior VP/Communications Counsel & Corporate Outreach ROSA GATTI will retire Feb. 28 after 33 years at the company. ESPN promoted Senior Dir of Corporate Outreach KEVIN MARTINEZ to VP/Corporate Outreach (CABLEFAX DAILY, 2/14). Gatti was named to SBJ/SBD's '13 class of "The Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business" (THE DAILY)....NBCUniversal named USA Today Sports Media Group Senior VP & Head of Multimedia Sales PETER LAZARUS Senior VP/Cable Ad Sales. Lazarus previous worked for NBCU for nearly nine years as Senior VP/Sports & Olympics Sales Marketing (TVNEWSCHECK.com, 2/11)....MLB Network named former ESPN/ABC Sports Dir MIKE MARTIN Dir and promoted Senior Producers RICH CIANCIMINO and ETHAN KLEINBERG to Coordinating Producer (THE DAILY)....Fox Sports named ESPN Content Development Senior Dir of Strategy ROLANDA GAINES Dir of Strategic Marketing & Communications for FS South, FS Carolinas, FS Tennessee and SportSouth (Fox).
TEAM WORK: The Lions named JENNIFER CADICAMO VP/Marketing & Partnership Activation, WADE MARTIN VP/Corporate Partnerships and BEN MANGES Corporate Communications Dir (Lions)....Kroenke Sports & Entertainment yesterday named MLS Timbers Senior VP/Business Development & Broadcasting RYAN BRACH Senior VP/Partnership Marketing. Brach will oversee corporate partnerships with the Nuggets, Avalanche, NLL Colorado Mammoth and MLS Rapids (KSE)....The Wild named former NHLer ANDREW BRUNETTE Hockey Operations Adviser (STARTRIBUNE.com, 2/13)....The Single-A Midwest League Quad Cities River Bandits named Single-A South Atlantic League Charleston RiverDogs Assistant GM HAROLD CRAW GM (River Bandits)....The NLL Charlotte Hounds named Bobcats Inside Sales Consultant DAVID HUSON Ticket Sales Associate (Hounds).
EXECS: Easton-Bell Sports named BOD member TERRY LEE Exec Chair & CEO. The company also named Fenway Consulting Partners Managing Dir TIM MAYHEW President & COO. Lee succeeds PAUL HARRINGTON, who resigned (Easton-Bell)....British Olympic Association CEO ANDY HUNT is stepping down at the end of the month (REUTERS, 2/13)....WinSport President & CEO DAN O'NEILL has resigned. WinSport VP/Sport DR. STEPHEN NORRIS will take the position of interim President & CEO (CALGARYHERALD.com, 2/13).
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Dolphins Owner STEPHEN ROSS "may join with" Flagstone Property Group CEO MEHMET BAYRAKTAR in the "development of the long-stalled Island Gardens on Miami's Watson Island" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 2/13). Bayraktar "won the right to develop on the waterfront crown jewel back in 2001." He said that Ross has "signed a Letter of Intent to 'co-develop' the entire project." With 50% of the deal, it "could put Ross' investment close to" $400M (MIAMI HERALD, 2/11).
REAL ESTATE REPORT: Tigers RF TORII HUNTER "listed his luxury home" in Newport Beach, Calif., for $3.975M. Hunter paid $3.8M for the property in '07 (REALTOR.com, 2/13)....Clippers coach VINNY DEL NEGRO last month sold his home in Highland Park, Ill., for $1.2M, the "same price he had paid for it about 4 1/2 years earlier." Meanwhile, free agent MLBer JIM THOME has "reduced the asking price on his six-bedroom, stone-and-brick mansion" in Hinsdale, Ill., to $3.5M from $3.8M (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 2/14).
CHARITY STRIPE: The Green Bay Packers Foundation has "awarded a record" $450,000 to 145 civic and charity organizations in the state of Wisconsin. The number of groups that benefited "almost doubled the 79 groups that received a total of $255,145 last year." Foundation Committee Chair CHARLIE LIEB said that the "dramatic donation increase was due to the Packers adding $3 million to its endowment fund last year" (PACKERSNEWS.com, 2/13).
CHANNEL SURF: Hallmark Channel will debut its original movie “Mr. Hockey: The GORDIE HOWE Story” on May 4, with MICHAEL SHANKS portraying Howe and KATHLEEN ROBERTSON as “Mrs. Hockey,” the late COLLEEN HOWE (Hallmark)….Texans RB ARIAN FOSTER will appear on Monday’s episode of CBS’ “Hawaii Five-O” (ESPN.com, 2/13).
NAMES: Former Rockets GM CARROLL DAWSON will be honored during NBA All-Star Weekend as the recipient of the Jerry Colangelo Award, which recognizes members of the NBA community for their character and leadership on the court an in their communities (Rockets)....Former MLBer CHIPPER JONES will appear tomorrow at the 37th annual Nat’l Wild Turkey Convention & Sport Show (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 2/14)....Boston-based nonprofit MassChallenge, which "runs an annual contest for business start-ups," is taking its competition to Israel with the help of Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/14)....Univ. of Memphis football coach JUSTIN FUENTE had his contract extended "by one year -- through the 2017 season." The terms on the contract, which "paid him $900,000 in 2012, remain the same" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 2/14)....The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs announced Baseball HOFer BARRY LARKIN and former U.S. Olympic softball SS NATASHA WATLEY will travel as sports envoys to India from Feb. 12-18 in conjunction with MLB and USA Softball (MLB)....An 800-pound bronze statue of late Ohio State football coach WOODY HAYES is "set in place" at the school's Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Artist ALAN COTTRILL of Zanesville started the piece "five years ago" (DISPATCH.com, 2/14)....Model ELAINE ALDEN wrote on Twitter yesterday she is engaged to Raptors G LANDRY FIELDS (NYPOST.com, 2/13).
IN MEMORY: Former Annapolis Capital sports editor and columnist JOE GROSS died Tuesday at the age of 72. Gross spent 34 years with paper (Annapolis CAPITAL, 2/14).