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Volume 24 No. 156

People and Pop Culture

Today is the last day to submit an entry for the '14 Sports Business Awards. Do not let this year’s winners be determined without your entry. We’re honoring the best in the categories of:

* Sports Team
* Sports League
* Sports Event
* Sports Executive
* Athletic Director
* Sports Media
* Sports Television
* Digital Sports Media
* Talent Representation and Management
* Corporate Consulting, Marketing and Client Services
* Property Consulting, Sales and Client Services
* Sports Event and Experiential Marketing
* Sports Sponsor
* Sports Facility
* Sports Technology

Entries are being accepted through the end of the day Friday. Submit your entry at

IMG execs GEORGE PYNE and BEN SUTTON are leaning toward staying with the company in the aftermath of William Morris Endeavor's $2.4B acquisition, according to industry sources. Pyne, the President of IMG Sports & Entertainment, and Sutton, President of IMG College, stayed in L.A. after Monday night's BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl to negotiate their new roles with WME's co-CEOs, ARI EMANUEL and PATRICK WHITESELL. Pyne and Sutton were spotted walking the sidelines of the BCS game with Emanuel, Whitesell and other WME execs. While the talks have progressed and it appears that Pyne and Sutton could lead the new WME sports division, sources say no contracts have yet been signed. It is going to take 3-6 months for the full transfer of IMG's ownership to WME. Contrary to recent reports, which indicated that WME would attempt to renegotiate the purchase price down, the contract is believed to be binding and any renegotiation would come with stiff penalties. WME did have a provision in the purchase contract for a small adjustment in price if IMG had missed its revenue projections for the end of the year. IMG College does significant business during bowl season in December, but sources say the company exceeded its revenue goals.

NASCAR on Thursday named Int'l Motor Sports Association VP/Racing Operations RICHARD BUCK Sprint Cup Series Managing Dir. Buck replaces JOHN DARBY, who will remain as NASCAR's Competition Managing Dir. Buck, Nationwide Series Managing Dir WAYNE AUTON and Camping World Truck Series Managing Dir CHAD LITTLE will report directly to NASCAR VP/Competition ROBIN PEMBERTON. Buck will remain in his role with IMSA through the Rolex 24 at Daytona later this month. Buck also was NASCAR Touring Series Managing Dir, but will relinquish that role to Touring Series Dir BRAD MORAN (NASCAR). USA TODAY's Nate Ryan wrote the hiring of Buck is the "first major announcement of a month expected to be full of competition changes." NASCAR President MIKE HELTON said the hiring signifies one of many ways of "re-creating NASCAR's approach to competition." He added that Darby would "attend fewer races and spend more time working on long-term projects" at the Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C. (, 1/9).'s Lee Spencer noted Buck "brings a wealth of motorsports experience to the position," as he "came up through open-wheel ranks as a crew chief, team manager and director of operations, and led teams to three Indianapolis 500 victories during his tenure in CART." Buck prior to joining NASCAR in '05 "worked with teams" from NASCAR's top three divisions. While one of Darby's "greatest strengths is his relationship with the competitors, Buck believes that's one of the traits that will make him equally effective" (, 1/9).

OTHER MOTORSPORTS MOVES: Pocono Raceway named Penn State Univ. Building Coordinator KEVIN HENRY Senior Dir/Facility Operations and promoted BEN MAY to CMO and ROGER GREEN to Senior Dir/Corporate Partnerships (Pocono)....Toyota Racing Development "effectively removes" the interim tag from President & GM DAVID WILSON, who had overseen its NASCAR program since June (, 1/9). 

The BCS era officially came to an end Monday night, and despite this being the first Saturday without college football since Labor Day weekend, longtime BCS Exec Dir BILL HANCOCK has no plans to slow down or take a break. While Hancock is looking forward to spending more time with his grandkids and on his hobbies this offseason, he is looking ahead to the College Football Playoff that will debut next year. Hancock said, “I believe it’s very important to begin the work for next year right after the previous year. I don’t subscribe to the ‘go spend a week on the beach’ theory. I subscribe to the ‘get right back to the office’ theory.”

UP IN THE AIR: I enjoy flying, I like to travel. I always work on the plane. My system is, when I board the plane I’ll read until we get to 10,000 feet, and when they allow us to turn on our computers I go to that and immediately start working. I’ll catch up on e-mail, or if I have a paper or some kind of a document to prepare I do it on the plane. You may have seen that I’ve written two books. I wrote almost all the books -- both of them -- on airplanes. I don’t listen to music or watch TV, I just work on my computer. It’s quiet. It’s not very comfortable, but I’ve learned to get comfortable.
FAMILY MATTERS: I live in Kansas City and have been here since 1978. Most of my family’s still in Oklahoma, where I grew up. But my son NATE and two grandsons, and daughter-in-law KRISTIN are here. When we’re home, we see them about every other day. We go to their music programs and their sports events. We’re very involved in their lives. It’s sort of like being a parent again, but only we’re calmer. The grandsons in Kansas City are 10 and 7, and we also have a granddaughter in Oklahoma who’s 13. We go to see her about once a month. Our grandkids went to the Rose Bowl game, all three of them, and they had a blast. The boys are bigger fans than the 13-year-old girl is, but they love being together.

THE PIANO MAN: Sunday will be a good day. I hope it will be a typical Sunday for me. I’ll go to church -- I sing in the choir -- and Sunday afternoon we have symphony tickets. The only season tickets that I have are season tickets to the Kansas City Symphony. Their program is probably eight or 10 performances during the year. I always wanted to be a musician. In college I had a dream of majoring in piano. I played piano, clarinet and the sax. I grew up in a very musical home. I listen to classical music mostly, but I dive into some ‘50s or ‘60s music in the car. And I also love show tunes. I can probably quote all the dialogue from “OKLAHOMA,” “SOUND OF MUSIC” and “MY FAIR LADY.”

BREATH OF FRESH AIR: The other thing about my Sunday is I go for a reasonably long bike ride -- 15 miles -- or a long walk with my wife. I’m not running marathons anymore -- I broke my hip and am out of the marathon business -- but I’m still a bike rider. In the summer, on the days that I ride, I ride between 10-15 miles and enjoy doing a longer ride on the weekend when I can -- 30-50 miles. I rode my bike across the country a few years ago, which is one of the great experiences of my life. So I’m still biking and I love to also hike. I love to backpack. I’m dreaming of the Appalachian Trail someday when I retire. There’s a lot of places to hike in Kansas City, but not backpack, not overnight. There’s lots of streams, lots of creeks and many of them have hiking trails alongside. It was 9 below the other day, but I like the winter, I enjoy it. And the secret is to get out in it. Clothing today is so good that the temperature hardly affects you. So I don’t miss any days of getting outdoors either to walk or to bike ride.

SOCIAL STUDIES: Spending time with my grandchildren is the best. But I also work on my hobbies, which are music, and have the exercise of course, and then also history. I research history of my hometown of Hobart in Oklahoma. I love all kinds of history and that’s my primary way of relaxing.

The Nets and Barclays Center promoted BARRY BAUM to Exec VP & Chief Communications Officer, ELISA PADILLA to Senior VP/Marketing, RANDY LEWIS to Senior Dir of Analytics & Social Marketing, ASHLEY KAHLER to Dir of Partnership Marketing and CHRIS HARRINGTON to Manager of Legal Services. Meanwhile, Barclays Center promoted LISA BREFERE to VP/Food & Beverage Service and LOGAN MEIER to Senior Dir of Facilities Presentation. The Nets also promoted TYREL KIRKHAM to Senior Dir of Merchandising, JOYCE JELKS to Senior Dir of HR, VICTOR PEREIRA to IT Dir and TOM KOLKER to Manager of Broadcast & Digital (Nets/Barclays Center).

EXECS: Fox Sports named MLB Network Senior VP/Production MARK LOOMIS Coordinating Producer for golf event production and studio programming. Loomis will report directly to Exec Producer JOHN ENTZ and President & COO ERIC SHANKS (Fox)....MLS Exec VP/Competition & Game Operations NELSON RODRIGUEZ will step down from his post on Jan. 31 after working for the league for 14 years (, 1/9)....ESPN promoted CARRIE BRZEZINSKI to VP/Marketing Solutions. Brzezinski has spent her entire career in the media industry, including six years at ESPN (ESPN)....Dynasty Sports & Entertainment named McDermott Will & Emery attorney BRIAN LEVY General Counsel (DSE)….Apparel brand 2XU named former tennis player RANDY BECKER Head of U.S. Sales Operations for Tennis & Golf (2XU)….Regan Communications Group named Entercom New England Senior VP JULIE KAHN Exec VP/Sports & Media. Kahn also will serve as special advisor to Founder & President GEORGE REGAN JR. (Regan).

Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to

SPORTS ON EARTH's Jeb Lund wrote CHRIS KLUWE, who recently accused the Vikings of releasing him because of his support for gay rights, "is a problem" for the NFL. He "hasn't harmed anyone" or taken "anything illegal or cost his team a season." However, there "isn't a paint-by-numbers NFL resolution to his complaint, that is, employing bigots who marginalize human beings on one of the biggest hot-button issues of our time." The NFL "wants to provide you a hermetic entertainment experience in which real life does not intrude, and events on the field do not redound to real life either" (, 1/9).

AWARDS & HONORS: Turner Sports' MARV ALBERT and ESPN's RICK REILLY have been elected to the National Sportscasters & Sportswriters Association HOF. NBC's MIKE EMRICK has been elected the '13 National Sportscaster of the Year and PETER KING of SI and The MMQB has won his third National Sportswriter of the Year Award in the last four years. Award recipients will be honored during the 55th annual NSSA awards weekend, June 7-9 in Salisbury, N.C. (NSSA)....Longtime baseball scouts JACK MCKEON and RAY CRONE SR. are to be presented with lifetime achievement awards at the 11th "In the Spirit of the Game" gala at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in L.A. on Jan. 18. The banquet is hosted each year by the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation (, 1/8).

CHARITY STRIPE: The NFL on Thursday announced that New Jersey school children have donated 30,000 items to help other local children who are in need as part of a Super Bowl XLVIII project entitled, "Super Kids -- Super Sharing" (, 1/9)....The seventh annual Morgan & Friends Fight Cancer Golf Tournament hosted by St. Andrews Country Club Jan. 5-6 raised a record $600,000 to further the fight against breast cancer through early detection and testing. A total of $3.4M has been raised by the Morgan Pressel Foundation since '07 (St. Andrews).

NAMES: A Nets spokesperson said that Owner MIKHAIL PROKHOROV is “planning to attend” the team’s game next Thursday at London’s O2 Arena against the Hawks. It will be the “first time Prokhorov has attended a game” since the team’s Nov. 1 game against the Heat at Barclays Center (N.Y. TIMES, 1/10)….Wisconsin Gov. SCOTT WALKER on Sunday held a fundraiser from the "comfort of a Lambeau Field suite” during 49ers-Packers (, 1/9)….Univ. of Tennessee women's basketball coach emeritus PAT SUMMITT “has been nominated for a Congressional Gold Medal, one of the two highest honors for a U.S. citizen.” U.S. Rep JOHN DUNCAN JR. (R-Tenn.) “introduced the legislation” (, 1/9)….Bengals QB ANDY DALTON and wife JORDAN are “expecting their first baby” (, 1/9).

IN MEMORY: Former Philadelphia Daily News sports columnist BILL CONLIN, whose career “ended in the disgrace of child molestation accusations,” died Wednesday at 79 in Largo, Fla. He died in the Largo Medical Center, to which he had been “admitted with multiple illnesses, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and a colon infection.” Conlin, resigned from the Daily News in ’11 shortly before the molestation charges were made public, received the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in ’11 from the BBWAA. He spent four decades at the Daily News and appeared in more than 300 episodes of ESPN’s “THE SPORTS REPORTERS” (, 1/9).