The Pac-12 on Thursday “made a significant internal move” in hiring West Coast Conference Commissioner JAMIE ZANINOVICH to replace KEVIN WEIBERG as Deputy Commissioner, according to Chris Dufresne of the L.A. TIMES. Weiberg “will step down in July.” The conference in a statement said Weiberg “would relocate to his home in Kansas but continue to work part time on a variety of projects.” Zaninovich is in his seventh year as WCC Commissioner and is a member of the NCAA tournament selection committee (LATIMES.com, 3/13). In Seattle, Bud Withers wrote the timing of the Zaninovich hire "seems curious, given that the overriding buzz this week is conference basketball tournaments." But that might be "why the announcement was made now -- to avoid any future appearance of conflict of interest." Being on the selection committee, Zaninovich will "be in the unique position of leaving the room when not one, but two, leagues are discussed -- his old one and his new one." The move also makes Zaninovich "well-positioned to be the top guy in the Pac-12" if current league Commissioner LARRY SCOTT has "any sort of wanderlust in the next few years." Meanwhile, Weiberg was noted for being "helpful in particular in the kaleidoscope of conference realignment that burst forth" starting in '10. He came to the league after serving as Big 12 Commissioner, making him "well-connected for that role" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 3/13).
People and Pop Culture
Evolution Media Capital Exec JAY ADYA was born and raised in Western Massachusetts as a die-hard New England sports fan, but he has spent the past nine years living in the heart of Yankees country. Adya resides in Brooklyn, N.Y., and after spending most of the work week on the road, he is looking forward to getting home to his wife, SIREESHA, and two sons KAIDEN (5) and AYAN (4). With some nicer weather on the horizon for the Northeast this weekend, the Adyas are looking forward to taking advantage of all their neighborhood’s eclectic offerings.
SO LONG, WINTER: This winter has been pretty bad, pretty demoralizing. So we’re looking forward to hopefully having reasonably good weather this weekend. I’m told it is supposed to be about 50 or 55 degrees outside, which constitutes a heat wave after the last several months. It’s time to get out and about since we’ve all been cooped up, so I’m looking forward to running around and throwing the ball with the boys. We’ll go to the park or to the playground. We just like to be out and active as much as possible. (The boys) swim, they’re starting up baseball next month and they have tennis classes in the summertime.
SCHOOL SPIRIT: Usually when I get home (on Fridays), my wife and I just hang out with our kids until they go off to bed and about half the time we go out to dinner ourselves. This weekend, actually, we have an event to go to for the school our kids go to. There’s an annual fundraiser nearby in our neighborhood. The public school that the kids go to, the Parent Teacher Association is pretty active and they have an annual silent auction fundraiser that they do and it happens to be this Friday, so we’ll be there. If my wife and I are not going out somewhere on Friday or Saturday nights, we’ll open up a bottle of wine and have a glass or two.
GET UP AND GET MOVING: I wish our schedule was a little bit flexible, but we usually -- by necessity -- tend to start the mornings pretty early. I try to get up in the morning and hang out with our kids but then also try to sneak in a workout if possible, whether it’s going for a run or going to the gym. In the summer time I play a lot of tennis. I do love coffee, so we usually go to a local spot near our neighborhood and either get a cup of coffee or ground coffee on Saturday and Sunday mornings. But the only consistent routine that happens on any given weekend is going to the grocery store. I always go to the grocery store either sometime Saturday in the late afternoon/early evening or Sunday in the early evening. That’s usually the hour or so that I get to myself.
MARCH MADNESS: On Saturday, I will probably go meet up with some friends who went to Big East schools and watch some of the Big East Tournament. A bunch of friends of mine from graduate school actually went to Georgetown, Seton Hall, St. John’s and the like. So we usually meet up at some point during the Big East Tournament to watch the games and hang out. Usually I would have rooted for Syracuse, but they’re not in the Big East anymore, so I don’t really have a dog in the fight this time around.
GARDEN PARTY: The Garden and the Big East are always going to be linked, so it will always be a pretty cool atmosphere and the teams that are still left in the conference will still draw -- the Villanovas and Georgetowns of the world. But there’s no doubt that Pitt and 'Cuse are big losses, both because of their history in the conference, but also Syracuse is a tremendous draw from the New York and Tri-State area. But the Garden in March with college basketball is always a pretty special environment and I expect that to continue regardless of the teams.
LET'S DO BRUNCH: We go to brunch fairly regularly (on Sundays). There’s a little breakfast spot called Home/Made kind of near our apartment, which is your somewhat typical Brooklyn restaurant. It has locally grown, organic, kind of healthy food. So we usually get some form of freshly made French toast and egg-based omelet. The benefit of that place is they’ve got big couches and big space for our kids to kind of run around while they’re pretending to eat their food. Then we usually make dinner at home on Sunday nights, some kind of grilled fish, salmon or otherwise, and then a couple vegetables on the side. We try (to eat healthy). We’re trying to pass that along to our kids as well to the extent possible.
Timex Group USA named former Pegasus Sports Performance CEO STAN BRAJER VP/Sports Sales (Timex)....Daytona Int'l Speedway named S.F.-based High Five Marketing Digital Coordinator MATTHEW VINSON Digital Marketing Manager (NEWS-JOURNAL.com, 3/13)....The Mariners named Seattle-based Red Lion Hotel Dir of Catering & Conference Services ALISIA ANDERSON Dir of Ballpark Sales & Marketing (Mariners)....Coastal Carolina Univ. named Associate VP/Marketing & Media MATT HOGUE interim AD (CCU)....Atlanta Motor Speedway's Children Charities named SCOTT FILMORE Exec Dir (AMS)....The College Football Playoff named former NFLer SHAWN MOORE Dir of Community Relations (TWITTER.com, 3/13)....The MLB Giants named former MLBer JEFFREY LEONARD Community Ambassador (MLB.com, 3/13).
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In the latest edition of the WALL STREET JOURNAL's "House Call" feature, GARY PLAYER writes he logs "hundreds of thousands of miles a year traveling to compete on golf courses on behalf" of his company and the many businesses he represents. Player: "While I own houses in Florida and South Carolina, home is really a 3,500-acre ranch in Colesberg, South Africa, in the Great Karoo region of the Cape Province." He bought the land the house is located on in '74 "when there was just a tiny guesthouse and stables." He writes, "The ranch is isolated. If I handed you binoculars, you wouldn't be able to spot a house or a person." Player notes he is at the house "about three months a year -- but not all at once" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/14).
Shannon Rovers at Penguins-Blackhawks
GREEN MEANS GO: U.S. snowboarder GRETCHEN BLEILER in a special for USA TODAY writes Russia as part of its bid process to host the Sochi Games said that it "would be staging a 'zero waste' Olympic that followed green building standards in 'harmony with nature.'" On paper, the Games "might pass for being somewhat green." Bleiler: "The problem is that you can't destroy an old-growth forest ecosystem and just rebuild it elsewhere. ... Sochi's environment has been devastated, and as our attention shifts away, we must demand change. History can't repeat itself. The best thing that can come out of Sochi is for bid cities and the IOC to truly consider the environmental price paid and the impact to future host cities before any sites are chosen" (USA TODAY, 3/14).
THE DATING GAME, MATE: D-Backs P JOSH COLLMENTER has "assented to a contest loosely titled Win a Date with Josh Collmenter, sponsored by The Daily Telegraph in Sydney, Australia," as part of the promotional efforts around the two-game MLB season-opening Dodgers-D-Backs series next week. The teams arrive in Sydney Tuesday morning and "open their season at the Sydney Cricket Ground next weekend." In between, Collmenter "will conduct his blind date, culled from Twitter and Instagram submissions and chosen by a panel" of D-Backs (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/13).
NAMES: The Ford Motor Co. Fund will award $1M in automotive design scholarships over the next 20 years to commemorate late Lions Owner & Chair WILLIAM CLAY FORD, who passed away on Sunday (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/14)....Former Fiesta Bowl CEO JOHN JUNKER on Thursday "was sentenced to eight months in federal prison ... after acknowledging that he participated in an illegal campaign contribution scheme" (AP, 3/13)....NFL free agent DT HENRY MELTON is being sued by Texas-based Chill Restaurant & Bar Owner DONALD PAYNE for misdemeanor assault. The suit is for more than $1M, with Payne claiming assault and negligence. Melton's agent, JORDAN WOY, hinted that Melton "would sue the bar" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/14)....ESPN NFL analyst BRIAN DAWKINS on Thursday spoke at the Bob Hayes HOF induction banquet, where former Jaguars Owners WAYNE and DELORES WEAVER were enshrined (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 3/14)....Former BNP Paribas Open Owner CHARLIE PASARELL on Thursday received his Int'l Tennis HOF ring at a ceremony. The HOF holds the ceremonies at the home area of each member (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 3/14)....NASCAR team Owner ROGER PENSKE "made his first hole-in-one last weekend at Augusta National's 154-yard fourth hole" (INDYSTAR.com, 3/13).
Get up early on Monday and look for our video announcement of the nominees for the 2014 Sports Business Awards. Nominees will be revealed in 15 categories. Look for an email and tweet that will exclusively unveil the nominees at roughly 7:00am ET on Monday. This year’s winners will be announced in a live ceremony in New York on Wednesday, May 21.