ESPN Programming Pioneer Matthews Dies At Age 65; Sonoma's Cardinale Passes Away
Former ABC Sports Senior VP/Programming LOREN MATTHEWS, “one of the key executives to ESPN’s growth into a major media outlet,” died Friday at age 65. The cause of death was not announced. Matthews joined the net in ’80 and was “instrumental in ESPN acquiring much of its current programming, especially” MLB (TIMESUNION.com, 3/23). ESPN Exec VP/Programming & Acquisitions JOHN WILDHACK said, “Loren’s programming expertise was second to none. Equally important was the high degree of integrity, passion and loyalty Loren displayed throughout his career” (ESPN). Tributes to Matthews spread across Twitter. CBS Sports’ Tim Brando wrote, “Prayers to the family Loren Matthews. His wife SHARON, and his sons. All of whom made him so proud. Loren was as kind as he was powerful in TV.” Author James Andrew Miller noted, “A brick in the Bristol foundation is now missing. … Helped create new era of sports programming, along w/Bristol's cultural DNA.” ESPN Senior VP/Corporate Communications Chris LaPlaca wrote, “Great exec, better person. Took me under his wing in early days. We all owe him.” Michigan State AD Mark Hollis: “Thoughts & prayers to the family & friends of Loren Matthews. A pioneer in cable sports and friend to many in college & pro sports.” Univ. of Cincinnati President Santa Ono wrote, “Loren Matthews formerly of ABC Sports, NY Mets & instrumental in the success and growth of ESPN as its SVP has died. He had a huge heart RIP.”
TRACK EXEC PASSES AWAY: Sonoma Raceway VP/Marketing & Communications JOHN CARDINALE died at age 47 on Thursday at his home after a two-year battle with gastric cancer. Track President & GM STEVE PAGE in a statement said, "There is a hole in the heart of this organization. John Cardinale was as true a friend, as loyal a colleague, as devoted a husband and father and as fine a human being as you could ever hope to know. John has been a part of every good thing that has happened at this track over the last 15 years. We are all so fortunate to have had him in our lives and to have shared in his intelligence, his wit, his integrity and his brave spirit" (THE DAILY). In Utah, Tom Zulewski wrote Cardinale was “the man in charge who made sure race newbies like myself had everything they needed, from where to sit in the media center to knowledge behind what goes into events like a NASCAR race.” Zulewski: “Race media, drivers, and PR types everywhere are mourning a big loss” (THESPECTRUM.com, 3/21). NHRA driver and team Owner JOHN FORCE said Cardinale was “one of the best PR people on the NHRA tour.” A memorial fund "has been set up on behalf of his family." Donations may be sent to the John Cardinale Memorial Fund, care of Sonoma Raceway, 29355 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476 (SFGATE.com, 3/22).