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Volume 24 No. 112

People and Pop Culture

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Founder, Chair & CEO TED LEONSIS topped a list of the most influential sports figures in Maryland, with his ranking "attributed largely to his role in three major sports leagues and his active role in supporting community causes," according to Marty Conway of Leonsis on top of being a sports exec also is an active venture capitalist, philanthropist, filmmaker and author. The rankings were based off of a formulated "impact score for sports-industry leaders living in Maryland" (, 7/13).

Ted Leonsis Monumental Sports & Entertainment Founder, Chair & CEO
Steve Bisciotti Ravens Owner
Kevin Plank Under Armour Founder, Chair & CEO
Peter Angelos Orioles Owner
Ted Lerner Nationals Owner
Daniel Snyder Redskins Owner
Ron Shapiro Sports agent
Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball HOFer and Single-A New York-Penn League Aberdeen Ironbirds Owner
J.P. Grant Race On LLC Founder (Baltimore Grand Prix organizer)
Michael Phelps Retired swimmer
Janet Marie Smith Dodgers Senior VP/Planning & Development (former Orioles exec)
Kevin Anderson Univ. of Maryland AD
Tom Chuckas Maryland Jockey Club President & COO

With the start of NFL training camps right around the corner, Bills President & CEO RUSS BRANDON is spending his last real week of summer vacation with his family on Canandaigua Lake, which is just south of Rochester, N.Y., and about an hour-and-a-half drive from his home in the Buffalo suburb of Williamsville. Brandon and his wife have three children -- RJ (12), JACK (11) and GRACE (8) -- and they try to make the lake house home base in the summertime to ease the travel of the boys’ baseball schedules.

: When I’m down at the lake, it’s all about having quality time with the kids. We’ve got some jet skis and it’s a lot of jumping off the dock and swimming and tubing and all the fun things you do at the lake. We try to get down this time of year because it’s our downtime, but it’s still not nearly as much as I’d like. The cool thing about Canandaigua Lake is, it’s very family oriented and I don’t want to say old school, but time sort of stands a little bit more still here.

PLAY BALL! The main focus of the weekend is baseball tournaments. My oldest son RJ has a travel tournament in Clarence, N.Y., and my other son Jack, he has a tournament in Lewiston, N.Y. They’re both right in the middle of travel baseball so it’s a lot of running around with those guys because they play on three different teams and they’re all over the place. One of them played in Ohio last week, so it seems like every weekend we’re going all over the place for these guys.

CREATURE OF HABIT: I can’t sleep in on the weekends, I’m an early riser. So on the weekend I try to get some stuff that I might want to do out of the way before my kids, who do a really good job sleeping in, even think about getting up. I have to get my workout in and I definitely have to have my coffee. I’m not an avid runner, but I like to go for a run around the lake and I like to lift. During the season we do some stuff at the facilities when I’m working, but when I’m on my downtime I just try to run a little bit then get to the gym and do that early in the morning to get home and spend time with the kids.

MAINSTREAM MEDIA: When it comes to reading, I’m more of a periodical guy. I definitely read the papers. I’m an avid paper reader. I’ll get on my iPad and roll through the local papers and skim a few others. Then I check out and all the other national sites and keep updated on all that kind of stuff. The TV is always on ESPN in my house. With two young boys -- even my daughter too -- it’s either on ESPN or it is on “SPONGEBOB” or “PHINEAS AND FERB” or some kids related show. It’s never anything different.

SUNDAY FUNDAY: On Sunday I’m having a function at my house for our coaches and their families to sort of kick off training camp. It’s a Bar-B-Que for all the coaches and their families, some of our football support staff. We all head off to training camp next Thursday, so everyone who’s been on vacation, it’s an opportunity to get back on the same page. It’s impossible not to talk football with the guys. Everyone’s been gone for a little bit, the coaches, we pretty much get from the end of June to middle of July off, then everyone’s going full speed from Monday through the end of the season.

CLOSING OUT: What I love to do, especially during the offseason now, is to take Sunday night to just sort of unwind. I love baseball, so I always watch the ESPN game on Sunday night. Then just sort of go through the week’s schedule, start mentally going through things that need to get done. Sunday night I try to keep it really low key. Usually if I’m home we’ll cook out at the house and just hang out as a family.

Read our newsroom blog for stories on how NBA team presidents gave new Kings President Chris Granger a rousing sendoff as the Exec VP of the NBA’s team marketing and business operations (TMBO) at the Wynn Las Vegas this week. Also read more anecdotes from former HBO Sports and MSG President Seth Abraham, including the secret to preparation, his pursuit of Bill Russell and the strangest job interview he ever had.

McGillis arrives at Southern Miss after six years at USF
Southern Miss named Univ. of South Florida Exec Associate AD BILL MCGILLIS AD, making him the sixth, full-time AD in school history. McGillis also previously served as Univ. of Evansville AD for five years and had stints with the Univ. of New Mexico and Univ. of Houston. Southern Miss President RODNEY BENNETT said that "final details of a multi-year contract still were being hashed out." McGillis replaces JEFF HAMMOND, "who had been hired in June 2012 to a one-year contract that paid $200,000 annually" (HATTIESBURG AMERICAN, 7/19).

EXECS: Fox Sports 1 named ROY HAMILTON Senior VP/Talent Development, while JUDY BOYD, KENT CAMERA and JACOB ULLMAN were each named VP/Production. The net also named MICHAEL HUGHES Exec Producer for “Fox Sports Live” and AZZIE MACKENZIE, BARDIA SHAH-RAIS and BRAD ZAGER Coordinating Producers for shows and events (FS1)….Indians Senior VP/Sales & Business Development VIC GREGOVITS is leaving the club on July 31st to pursue other opportunities (THE DAILY)….Performance swimwear company Arena North America named former U.S. Olympic water polo player CHRIS DUPLANTY Dir of Sales (Arena)….TCU promoted MIKE SINQUEFIELD to Associate AD/Administration and MATT LEWIS to Dir of Football Operations (TCU)….Western Illinois Univ. named Indiana Univ.-Purdue Univ. Fort Wayne AD TOMMY BELL to the same position, beginning Aug. 12 (WIU)….The Univ. of Iowa named Arizona State Univ. Assistant AD LYLA CLERRY Associate AD/Compliance (Iowa)….Univ. of North Carolina-Wilmington Deputy AD PAT HOWEY will retire at the end of August after 30 years at the school (UNCW).

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NASCAR Senior VP & CMO STEVE PHELPS on Thursday at a breakfast of automotive, marketing and advertising decision-makers at the Detroit Athletic Club said the sport has "an aging fan base" and noted that it has to "get younger and more diverse." Phelps: "We have to become more relevant to the times" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 7/19).

CENTER OF ATTENTION: In Minneapolis, Mike Kaszuba writes former NFLer MATT BIRK is "not yet jumping into any political ring," but he said that there have been "plenty of knocks on his door" since retiring after last season. Birk "declined comment on reports that he met with the Republican National Senatorial Committee." But he said Thursday he "should have some clarity on my short-term future in the next week" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/19).

NAMES: Seahawks QB RUSSELL WILSON and Russell Investments, a Seattle-based asset management firm, have "partnered together to create a charitable program entitled 'Investing with Russell.'" For each touchdown Wilson scores this season -- running or passing -- the firm "will donate $2,000 to Wilson's charitable foundation" (, 7/19)....Members of the MLS Dynamo on Thursday presented Houston Fire Department Assistant Chief THOMAS MUNOZ a "check for $21,123 to benefit the families of four Houston firefighters who died May 31 fighting a blaze in Southwest Houston" (, 7/18)....Redskins QB ROBERT GRIFFIN III is on the cover of this week's Washington Post Magazine accompanied by an excerpt from DAVE SHEININ's book, "RGIII: THE PROMISE" (, 7/18)....A jersey worn by Baseball HOFer TED WILLIAMS in '46 "sold for $184,000 and a BABE RUTH model bat from 1925-27 went for more than $166,000 in live bidding this week by Hunt Auctions" (AP, 7/18)....ESPN Communications Manager BEN CAFARDO, the son of Boston Globe writer NICK CAFARDO, is getting married on Saturday in Cumberland, R.I. (THE DAILY).