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Volume 24 No. 158

People and Pop Culture

Former NBAer JAY WILLIAMS has "agreed to become managing partner for the Leverage Agency, a sports, entertainment and media marketing company" founded by BEN STURNER, according to Steve Wiseman of the Durham HERALD SUN. Williams said of the opportunity with Sturner, "We kept waiting for the right time. He's a legit character. I trust him. To do something with him on a bigger level, considering the network I have and the network he has, it's really the perfect time for us to try to take the sports world by storm." Williams while at Duke Univ. "sent letters to executives at top companies to forge relationships." That groundwork gives him "contacts in this new venture, which Sturner and Williams stress is sports marketing, not contract negotiations." Williams "explored the sports agent business but admits he was 'turned off' by that aspect of the business." Williams plans to "continue to work in television along with his new role with Leverage." His contract "is up" at ESPN (Durham HERALD SUN, 7/29). In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports Leverage also is adding former Anheuser-Busch VP/Sports & Entertainment Marketing BRAD BROWN to "head sports and entertainment consulting." Brown will be based in St. Louis and travel, while Williams will be based in N.Y. and L.A. Brown said, "The thought is that I can bring buy-side knowledge to the sell side and really help sponsors activate" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/29 issue).

The PGA of America named RHONA AIME CFO. Aime most recently held various regional roles with Paris-based multinational food-products corporation Group Danone. Prior to joining Group Danone, she spent nearly 12 years with Coca-Cola (PGA of America)....Sports Authority promoted Senior VP/Merchandising & Softlines STEPHEN BINKLEY to Chief Merchandising Officer. Meanwhile, Exec VP, Chief Merchant & CMO GREG WATERS has left the company to pursue other interests (Sports Authority)....The British Basketball Association named BDA Sports Founder & Chair BILL DUFFY to its Advisory Board. Duffy will counsel the BBA on development of coaches and players (BBA)....Syracuse Univ. named Univ. of Oregon Senior Associate AD/Communications & Brand Management JOE GIANSANTE Exec Senior Associate AD/Chief Communications Officer & External Affairs (Syracuse)....Mississippi State Univ. named Louisiana Tech Associate AD LEAH BEASLEY Assistant AD/Marketing (MSU)....The Univ. of North Carolina-Pembroke promoted PATRICK STERK to Associate AD/Compliance, Business Operations & Administration (UNCP)....Ohio Univ. named Univ. of Virginia Associate Dir of the Virginia Athletics Foundation RYAN WHITE Senior Associate AD/Development (OU).

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NFL Panthers Owner JERRY RICHARDSON yesterday made his first training camp appearance this season and his "first since July 16 when his son, JON, died after a long fight with cancer." Also joining Richardson were Basketball HOFer JERRY WEST and broadcaster JIM GRAY (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/30).

HEALTHY HABITS: Former NBAer ALONZO MOURNING, who received a kidney transplant in '03, wrote a special piece for the Miami Herald on behalf of the Mourning Family Foundation. He wrote, "Under a new proposal out of Washington, D.C., Medicare reimbursement for dialysis care will be cut 12 percent." If Medicare funding cuts "go through as proposed," the "health and wellbeing of patients will be negatively affected." Budget cuts are "occurring everywhere you look these days, and I'm a believer in prudent budgeting." But individuals "with kidney failure should not be put at risk simply to try to save money" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/29).

THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN: ESPN's Marcellus Wiley noted 49ers coach JIM HARBAUGH "is working on a solution to give" CB TARELL BROWN the bonus he missed when he did not attend off-season workouts because his agent, BRIAN OVERSTREETdid not inform him he had to attend to collect the bonus. ESPN's Max Kellerman said, "I love the fact that coach came out and defended his guy, like, 'Come on man, don't play him cheap like that.' Obviously, he'd have been there if he knew $2 million was on the line. Don't be pennywise and pound foolish." Wiley said Brown "should have read every clause in his contract," but this example is "another way that coach Harbaugh gains equity with his players" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 7/29).

PAVING THE WAY: Dodgers trainer SUE FALSONE is profiled by USA TODAY's David Leon Moore in a sports section cover story, and he notes Falsone is the "first and only female head trainer of a major professional sports team." She is a "role model and takes that seriously." Falsone: "I've heard from numerous young women who say, 'I want to have a job like yours. I never thought I could do that, and now I can'" (USA TODAY, 7/30).

NAMES: Blackhawks Chair ROCKY WIRTZ yesterday traveled to Las Vegas to share the Stanley Cup "with Wirtz Beverage Nevada employees, military personnel at Nellis Air Force Base and industry contacts at the Bellagio" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 7/30)....The Giants yesterday celebrated their ’12 World Series win with PRESIDENT OBAMA “during a short ceremony" at the White House. Obama said, “You guys are a second-half team. I expect you to be a second-half team this time around” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/30)….ESPN NFL analyst TEDY BRUSCHI and retired Patriots broadcaster GIL SANTOS yesterday were inducted into the team’s HOF. Coach BILL BELICHICK “in a surprise appearance, his first” at such a ceremony, “saved his most candid words” for Bruschi (BOSTON HERALD, 7/30)….The JACKIE ROBINSON biopic “42” “scored the top spot on the DVD and Blu-ray sales chart” in its first week of release (, 7/29).