The PGA of America and Chief Business Officer KEVIN CARTER have parted ways. Carter came to the PGA from the NFL in '06 and was part of the effort to form a corporate partner program, signing deals through the years with Mercedes-Benz, American Express and Omega, among other brands. He also worked with the European Tour to help form the first global partnership program for the Ryder Cup. Carter was elevated to Chief Business Officer last year upon the arrival of new CEO PETE BEVACQUA, but they mutually agreed last month to part ways. A statement to SportsBusinesss Journal said, "The PGA of America is appreciative of Kevin Carter’s service at the PGA of America as Chief Business Officer, and we wish him well as he pursues new career opportunities." The PGA has not determined if Carter's position will be replaced or whether his duties will be dispersed among the existing staff. CMO KEVIN RING, who is in a N.Y. PGA office, is overseeing the corporate partner program. Mercedes-Benz, Omega and Samsung are the three patron sponsors now, while National Car Rental has an official status deal and Standard Life Investments is a Ryder Cup global partner.
People and Pop Culture
RENEE BROWN has had her hand in almost every sector of women's basketball, from her playing days at UNLV to coaching at Kansas, Stanford and San Jose State to serving on the USA Basketball Selection Committee to her current role as WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations & Player Relations. Brown's passion for and knowledge of the sport run deep. She has been paying close attention during the NCAA women's basketball season, keeping an eye out for those special seniors who may have an opportunity to become the next big stars of the WNBA. So it comes as no surprise that Brown will leave behind her cozy home in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., this weekend to enjoy all the festivities Nashville has to offer around the NCAA women's Final Four.
BACK TOGETHER AGAIN: Friday what I would like to try to do is catch up with all the various college coaches that will be (in Nashville). The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Convention (WBCA) will be there, so it’s great to have an opportunity to see all the different college coaches that I know. At one point I was a college coach, a long time ago, so I’ve got very good working relationships with so many of them. It will be a good chance to see them, talk to them. What’s really fun also is that we’ve got many former WNBA players that are head coaches or assistant coaches that I will get a chance to see -- people like DAWN STALEY, SHERYL SWOOPES, CYNTHIA COOPER -- all former players of ours that also will be at the women’s Final Four. That’s exciting -- to get a chance to talk to them and pat them on the back and tell them how proud we are of them.
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES: Before I do anything (Friday) night, there’s a celebration for BETTY JAMES. She passed away in February, and she was with the WBCA forever. She is like the godmother of basketball. There’s going to be a celebration of her life and her commitment to the women’s game, so I will definitely go to that. It’s being held at the Omni Nashville. Then I’m sure we’ll go out to dinner. We haven’t done our homework on where the best barbeque place is but I know I’m going to go get some barbeque while I’m in Nashville.
SCOUTING REPORT: What I love about Saturday is that’s the day that they have open practices, so I will go to all four practices. I used to coach at Stanford, so I will definitely be sitting front row at Stanford’s practice. I worked with GENO AURIEMMA with USA Basketball, so I’ll be sitting in on his practice. Each one of those coaches, they have a great story. MUFFET MCGRAW -- we’ve got so many of her players like RUTH RILEY and SKYLAR (DIGGINS) in the league. Then you go over to Maryland and BRENDA FRESE has one of the top players and we’ve got a number of players from Maryland -- CRYSTAL LANGHORNE to name one. So it’s just fun going there and all four teams, in my mind, have a top senior that we’re interested in that will be drafted into our league next year.
BEST OF THE BEST: Another fun thing on Saturday is they announce the All-American team, so I definitely like attending that. I always try to figure out who the winners are before I get there, so that’s kind of fun trying to talk to various coaches to see if one of their players was named an All-American. But it’s a great event to see how happy and proud both the players and the coaches are. They fly (all the players) in, so even if you’re not playing in one of the tournament games, they will fly in the All-American team. They put them in All-American sweatsuits and everything. It’s a great way to shine the light on the top players in the NCAA.
WALK THIS WAY: Sunday morning gives me an opportunity, because I’m an early riser, to walk around Nashville. By 6:00am I want to be up and out of my room walking around, trying to get some exercise in as well as touring. I have to walk. It gives me a chance to really get my thoughts together, to get fresh air, to have an opportunity to just see the town where I am. I enjoy it. Sunday morning gives me an opportunity also to have coffee with various people. When I get down there, I’ll meet different people -- whether it be college coaches or GMs -- somehow we all sort of get together. Some of my favorite people from Nike are there and I’ll definitely get with them. So it’s a great way in my opinion to network with some of the smartest minds in the game.
EYE-TO-EYE: Before the games on Sunday, (WNBA President) LAUREL RICHIE will have a little gathering with any WNBA personnel, any of our team members in town. So around 3:30pm we’re going to be going to the B.B. Kings Blues Club to have some dinner. The games are at 5:30pm and 8:00pm. I prefer to watch games almost at center court, where I’m facing the basket because I like to watch the dialogue of the players that we are evaluating and their coaches and their teammates. From there, you can see them during timeouts. I like to see who’s running to the bench, if a coach is talking to the guard, if the guard is looking her in the eye as the coach is giving instructions or if the coach is talking to them during any kind of timeout, how they are communicating. It’s funny because I watch it and I take notes on it.
ESPN Exec VP & Chief Technology Officer CHUCK PAGANO will retire from the company in February '15. He joined ESPN prior to its September '79 debut. ESPN named Senior VP/Technology & Product Development AARON LABERGE Pagano's successor, and he will assume the day-to-day management of the team, effective June 1, 2014 (ESPN). Pagano guided the company "through the many technological innovations and changes that have occurred throughout the past three decades" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 4/3).
EXECS: Topps named XO Group CFO JOHN MUELLER to the same position, effective April 7 (Topps)....Global Spectrum named SpiritBank Event Center GM SHASHANK GAIROLA to the same position for Florida State's Donald L. Tucker Civic Center (Comcast-Spectacor)....The National Association of Sports Commissioners named Visit St. Pete/Clearwater Dir KEVIN SMITH BOD Chair (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/3)....The Bills named ALEXANDRA VITALE Multimedia Reporter (BUFFALONEWS.com, 4/1).
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Actor WILL FERRELL "has attached himself to star" in "MATCH MAKER," a planned sports comedy about the conflict between tennis players BOBBY RIGGS and BILLIE JEAN KING. STEVEN CONRAD "has come aboard to write a script for the project, which is being developed by Chernin Entertainment and Gary Sanchez Productions." The film will adapt DON VAN NATTA' JR.'s ESPN The Magazine article, "The Match Maker: Bobby Riggs, The Mafia and The Battle of the Sexes." Chernin Entertainment "picked up the rights to the piece last year and has been developing it since" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 4/3). Sources said that it was Ferrell's "passion for tennis that gave Chernin the idea to pursue him for the role of Riggs" (VARIETY.com, 4/3).
ON AN ISLAND: Philadelphia-based attorney ANDREW BARROWAY, who is in talks to purchase a majority stake in the Islanders, "is no stranger" to team Owner CHARLES WANG. Barroway was the "lead plaintiff in a consolidated class-action suit against Wang's company, Computer Associates, that originated" in '98. The suit, which was settled in '03, "alleged that Computer Associates violated several sections of the Securities Exchange Act, including artificially inflating revenues and concealing the business' deterioration." But six legal analysts "agreed that while it appeared odd," thetwo were doing business together now, "there was nothing to suggest that it was more than a bizarre coincidence" (ESPNNY.com, 4/3).
THE EYES OF TEXAS: The Univ. of Texas paid Korn/Ferry Int'l $266,990 to help find new football coach CHARLIE STRONG. The firm "billed Texas $250,000" for helping hire Strong in January, "plus an administrative fee" of 6%, or $15,000. An "additional invoice dated March 19 charged Texas $1,990 in expenses, mostly travel expenses for Korn/Ferry consultant JED HUGHES." UT "also hired" Korn/Ferry to help find new men's AD STEVE PATTERSON "for $200,000 plus expenses." Meanwhile, Colorado State Univ. "paid about $320,000 to search firm Spencer Stuart" to hire football coach MIKE HOOKER in '11 (USA TODAY, 4/4).
MAN ON THE RUN: MASN Nationals color analyst F.P. SANTANGELO is "considering launching a 'Run Til They Tag You' fitness group" that would meet at Nationals Park "one morning a week, doing group runs and group workouts while welcoming all comers of all fitness levels" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 4/3).
AWARDS & HONORS: Jalbert Productions Founder JOE JAY JALBERT will be inducted into the U.S. Ski HOF on Saturday in Park City, Utah (THE DAILY)....The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass named NASCAR Digital Media Managing Dir JOHN MARTIN, Learfield Sports UMass Sports Properties GM PAM BATALIS, MLS Senior VP/Global Sponsorships DAVID WRIGHT and CAA Sport co-Head HOWARD NUCHOW winners of the '14 Harold J. Vanderzwaag Distinguished Alumnus Award (UMass).
GIVING A BOOST: Univ. of Memphis boosters LAURA and RAY ROSAS "recently made an undisclosed, multiyear donation that included naming rights" to the school's baseball practice facility, which has been renamed the W.S. "Babe" Howard Training Facility. Their gift "will be used to build onto the current indoor training complex, which was constructed as part of the stadium's extensive renovation" in '09 following a $3M gift from FedEx (Memphis COMMERCIAL-APPEAL, 4/3)....The foundation of Hockey HOFer TED LINDSAY is donating $1M to the Beaumont Health System to “help children with autism and their families” (AP, 4/2)....Patriots S DEVIN MCCOURTY this week participated in “The Great American Milk Drive” at the Greater Boston Food Bank, promoting the “importance of donating nutrient-rich milk to food banks to fight hunger” (BOSTONHERALD.com, 4/2).
NAMES: Wizards Owner TED LEONSIS on Wednesday watched his team clinch its "first playoff berth under his watch from the owner’s suite rather than his usual courtside seat.” Leonsis let the players and coaches “publicly have their moment to relish perhaps the most satisfying win in the past six seasons.” When he made it to the locker room, Leonsis “didn’t address the team but spoke to a few players individually” (WASHINGTON POST, 4/4).…PRESIDENT OBAMA on Thursday hosted members of Team USA at the White House, “praising the athletes’ drive and thanking them for representing their country” at the Sochi Games. Obama also joked, “You guys are too rowdy. You didn’t bring anything you weren’t supposed to, right?” (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 4/4)….Mavericks Owner MARK CUBAN is “studying the potential benefits of human growth hormone use for athletes recovering from injuries.” Cuban on Thursday said that he has “made a significant financial commitment to fund a potential university study on the issue.” He added, “It’ll be a two-year study that applies HGH to injuries preoperative to postoperative injury recovery.” He would “not specify the university that plans to do the study other than to say it has a highly respected medical school” (ESPNDALLAS.com, 4/3)….Patriots QB TOM BRADY this week attended the Colcci show at Sao Paulo Fashion Week to watch his wife GISELE BUNDCHEN (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/4)….Memorabilia from former MLBer JOHNNY PESKY’s personal collection “will be sold during a live auction at Fenway Park next week.” Items include Pesky’s ’04 and ’07 World Series rings (AP, 4/2)….St. Louis-based KMOX-AM broadcaster MIKE SHANNON is opening up a third location of his restaurant, Mike Shannon’s Grill, this summer at Lambert-St. Louis Int’l Airport (STLTODAY.com, 4/4).