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Volume 24 No. 155

People and Pop Culture

SI last night presented Texans DE J.J. WATT and Astros 2B JOSE ALTUVE with its ’17 Sportsperson of the Year award, with the star-studded gala returning to Barclays Center for a second consecutive year. The pair’s efforts in restoring hope to hurricane-battered southeast Texas, through extensive charitable works and the Astros’ first World Series title this fall, was documented in a film clip shown during the event narrated by PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH. “I don’t think I could accept this award without mentioning the 200,000 people who donated to the fund ... without mentioning all the firefighters and policemen, and all the people who got in their own boats and went out in the streets to help save people,” Watt said. “This award is about humans being good to help other humans, and I think it’s incredible.”

Kaepernick only briefly referenced the NFL and vowed to remain an advocate
SURPRISE APPEARANCE: Extending a ceremony theme of off-field exploits and civic activism, COLIN KAEPERNICK received the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, with the honor presented to him by an emotional BEYONCE as part of a surprise appearance. She said, “Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion, only to hope to change the world for the better. To change perception, to change the way we treat each other, especially people of color. We’re still waiting for the world to catch up.” Kaepernick in his well-received, five-minute remarks only briefly referenced the NFL and vowed to remain an advocate against racial injustice. “I accept this award not for myself, but on behalf of the people,” he said. “Because if it were not for my love for the people I would have not protested. And if it was not for the support from the people, I would not be on this stage today. With or without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people because my platform is the people.”

OTHER ATHLETES HONORED: Former MLBer CARLOS BELTRAN received a new Hope Award for his work repairing his native Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. He was presented the award by San Juan Mayor CARMEN YULIN CRUZ. Also honored last night were Lynx F MAYA MOORE, 76ers C JOEL EMBIID, youth star BUNCHIE YOUNG. The SI ceremony will be televised nationally for the first time on NBCSN on Friday, and on Univision on Saturday. 

Name: Bill Hancock

Position: CFP Exec Dir

Age: 67

Where I’m from: Hobart, Okla.

Where I call home: K.C./Dallas

Best advice: I’m going to keep it simple. Treat other people the way you would like to be treated.

Execs I admire: Some of the people that I have really learned a lot from over the years just through observing are former Big Eight Commissioner CHUCK NEINAS, former NCAA exec TOM JERNSTEDT, former Pac-10 Commissioner TOM HANSEN, former SEC Commissioner MIKE SLIVE, former ACC Commissioner GENE CORRIGAN, former Big Ten Commissioner WAYNE DUKE, Charlotte AD JUDY ROSE and outgoing Univ. of Virginia AD CRAIG LITTLEPAGE.

Must have for a new hire: I look for people with a good heart, who are smart and who possess good work ethic but also have a good balance between their professional and personal lives. I also look for someone who reads and is knowledgeable about the industry.

Book shelf: The last good book I read is focused on the past -- “THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH.” I’m always interested in reading about history and this was quite an eye-opening read.

Must-have music: For me, I love classical music. MOZART and CHOPIN are the first two that come to mind. But I also love Broadway music. I was listening to GLENN MILLER this morning during a staff meeting in my office and people couldn’t figure out who it was!

First thing in the morning: Exercise is always the first thing. I'm a former runner, so wherever I am I always like to either go on a long walk or use the elliptical if that's available. Then I'll read the news so I can be up to date on that and have a good breakfast before I start my day.

Talking tech: I love my iPhone. But two other things that I enjoy using are Photoshop and Excel. If you were to take those three things away from me, I would struggle.

Food for thought: I'm a really big fan of barbecue. One of my favorite places to go is Hard Eight BBQ in Dallas. I also really love Mexican food, so either of those two are my go-to meals.

How I unwind: Reading and exercising are probably the two activities I do most, but I also like to study history. I'm a self-proclaimed history buff so my relaxation is reading or researching historical events. I also love spending time with my three grandchildren -- they are always a lot of fun.

Day in the life
: I'll spend part of my day interacting with our constituents, which are conference commissioners, ADs and the media. I'll also generally just be around the office to help our staff, who are tremendously hardworking, dedicated and thrilled to be working for the CFP just like I am. I consider myself to be the luckiest guy I know because I used to direct the best of men's college basketball (as the Final Four Dir) and now I direct the best of college football. It's truly remarkable and I couldn't ask for anything better.

Minnesota United President NICK ROGERS is "leaving the organization." Rogers was named president in '13 when BILL MCGUIRE "became owner of the club," which was then known as the NASL Minnesota Stars. Rogers then "oversaw the club's transition" to MLS through its first season in '17. The team said that the position of president "will not be filled" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/6). The MLS club in September brought on CHRIS WRIGHT to be CEO (THE DAILY).

EXECS: Univ. of Minnesota Dir of the M Club GEORGE ADZICK will retire in January after more than 11 years in the role (UM).


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Lightning Owner JEFF VINIK said that he and other investors will "create a venture capital fund" with as much as $50M or more to "support startup entrepreneurs, some with direct grants." Vinik said that he is "taking a major equity stake in the startup accelerator DreamIt, which works with startups focused on health care and urban technology to help them raise capital quickly." Vinik said that he "expects to end up with an ownership stake in the company equal to that of its founders" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 12/6). N.J.-based bioelectronic medicine company electroCore has announced that two groups associated with Vinik were "among the investors that participated in a round of fundraising" that brought in a little more than $70M for the company (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 12/5).

COACHING CAROUSEL: Oregon football coach WILLIE TAGGERT "received a six-year," $30M deal to become the new coach for Florida State (TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT, 12/6)....Memphis football coach MIKE NORVELL agreed to a five-year, $13M contract extension to remain in his position. Sources said that Norvell’s new contract "runs through" the '22 season. His contract makes him one of the "highest-paid Group of Five coaches in the country" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/6)....According to reports, UCF hired Missouri offensive coordinator JOSH HEUPEL as its new coach and "agreed to a five-year contract that pays him a guaranteed" $1.7M (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/6).

NAMES: Michigan State men’s basketball coach TOM IZZO recently appeared in the audience on the show "JUDGE MATHIS," featuring retired Michigan judge GREG MATHIS. One litigant on the show said he is an Ohio State fan, and Mathis “points out to the man that sitting directly behind him is a college basketball coach who routinely beats his favorite team.” Izzo “looks on smiling and waving.” Seated next to Izzo is Michigan State assistant coach MIKE GARLAND (MLIVE.com, 12/5)....NBA Commissioner ADAM SILVER and Activision Blizzard CEO BOBBY KOTICK were named to the “Bloomberg 50:” a list of execs, entrepreneurs, experts and entertainers whose ’17 merits applause and recognition (ECONOMICTIMES.com, 12/2)....Newly appointed Nebraska football coach SCOTT FROST’s count of Twitter followers has “spiked since his hiring on Saturday.” On Friday he “had about 50,000” and by Monday his tally “rose by 30,000 (OMAHA.com, 12/5)....Boston College AD MARTIN JARMOND and his wife JESSICA “welcomed their second child into the world on Monday night” (BOSTON HERALD, 12/6).