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Volume 21 No. 1

People and Pop Culture

Salgado has more than 500 athlete clients.
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch spied the massive man on the sideline hours before game time at MetLife Stadium. The two approached each other, hugged and slapped hands.

“This is the man right here,” Lynch said, smiling broadly. The ritual is repeated several times, with other players like Osi Umenyiora, the New York Giants defensive end; Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll; and IMG agent Sandy Montag, all of whom greet the mountain of a man effusively.

Meet Rich “Big Daddy” Salgado, who has turned the decidedly humdrum world of disability and life insurance into not just a thriving business — with more than 500 athlete clients — but also an entryway into the world of professional sports and power.

“His people skills are extraordinary,” said agent Tom Reich, who first met Salgado when he was getting started in Pittsburgh in the mid-1990s. “He has a following that has only increased exponentially.”

Describing Salgado’s influence is no easy task. Quite obviously he has the ears of hundreds of players who put insuring their careers in his hands. He built that practice through networking for almost two decades, to the point that both the big and small in sports come to him for help and advice — and not just in insurance.

“If I was stuck in some foreign country, if I got arrested or stranded, he probably would be the first guy I would call,” said Jay Glazer, the Fox Sports personality and MMA trainer, who is a client and notes how Salgado is always available for a friend.

Salgado, with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, is big in both stature and reputation.
When Glazer needed a location to do his farewell show on MSG Network several years ago, Salgado got him to do it from a Sbarro restaurant, a Salgado client. Reich had a terminally ill friend whose wish was to go to a New York Yankees game. Salgado took her last month.

“Everybody knows Big Daddy,” said Michael Strahan, the former Giants great and now Fox Sports broadcaster.
At Fox News, Salgado has become almost an informal booker on all things sports.

“In the sports world he is very well connected,” said Bill Shine, a Fox News executive vice president. “He helps us out.”

At the Super Bowl in Dallas earlier this year, Salgado appeared on the air as an interviewer for Fox. When Salgado and a team of investors relaunch a shoulder pad company next month, he plans to demo the product on Fox.

Clearly Salgado relishes the attention. His office has a few pictures of athletes and memorabilia but also three framed articles written about him. As he strolls around MetLife Stadium and its parking lot, it’s as if he is at home — shaking hands, exchanging waves.

Salgado, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs in at 340 pounds, earned the moniker Big Daddy while playing football at the University of Maryland from 1986 to 1990. Asked if anyone calls him Rich, or pray tell Richard, Salgado laughs and says Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin is the only one to exclusively use his first name.

Steve Tisch, the Giants co-owner, admits that he too calls him Big Daddy.

“Every time I introduce him and say, ‘This is Big Daddy,’ I smile,” Tisch said. “In lieu of cheerleaders, he is our mascot.”

Because Salgado is based in New York and he counts Strahan as a good friend and client, the Giants are his team. He attends every home and away game, relishing the exposure it brings him. He sends pizzas to the offensive line every Friday night during the season.

The head of security walks by before the Seahawks game and says, jokingly, that he works for Salgado.

Salgado got his professional start when, after graduating from Maryland, he went to visit his college roommate, Neil O’Donnell, in Pittsburgh. A week’s visit turned into a few years as he moved in with the then-Steelers quarterback, becoming almost a type of valet. He got to know the athlete community in Pittsburgh, and a friend suggested the insurance business for him.

Before he could do that, though, O’Donnell asked Salgado to care for his ailing father, Jack. For six months, he provided hospice care, calling it the toughest work he ever had to do and saying it was what motivated him to finally take up his friend’s offer.

He formed Prime Sports One, but he soon became more known for a T-shirt company he created with former New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis called Big Daddy Wear. In fact, once the T-shirt company folded, he said, getting players to realize he was more than just about selling shirts was tough.

Eight years ago, Salgado formed Coastal Advisors, and in the last six years he has signed 35 first-round picks in the NFL. Of his 500 clients, about 375 are in football, with a healthy balance of the remainder in ice hockey. He is breaking into basketball and baseball, and even recently signed a few actors and actresses.

Salgado, who is not married, works with his brother, Lewis, and another partner, Bobby Hotaling. With insurances rates pre-set, what he sells is honesty and that he cares.

“You get guys who get sold policies that are intended to do nothing but make the person who sold them a commission,” he said. “I don’t need another 80 stitches on the other side of my head because I got headaches thinking, ‘Oh, did I take advantage of this guy.’”

Those first 80 stitches are from an aneurysm he suffered in 2008 from which he has made a full recovery. His friends did not know how serious it was, and the night before he went into the hospital, at a dinner with Strahan and Glazer, they were joking about inheriting his assets.

“We wanted to divvy up his cars,” Glazer said. “He never let on how bad it was.”

Salgado’s next big venture is Impact Performance, the shoulder pad company. He and a group of investors are looking to revive the franchise, which has been dormant about a year, and he thinks he has the perfect slogan: The guy who protects you off the field now protects you on the field.

Ken Meyerson, 47, who died last week in his sleep, always referred to the tennis agent business as our “little world.”

Meyerson, best known for representing Andy Roddick, had a long history in tennis.
Cognizant that making a living by earning commissions off endorsements and tennis exhibitions was not easy and that pro tennis in the United States was in decline, Meyerson never shied from the fact that his business was tough. He was best known for his representation of Andy Roddick, but he also represented Michael Stich, Mardy Fish and Justine Henin, to name a few.

His history in tennis was deep. He worked for industry standard bearer ProServ and later SFX Sports, where he ran tennis. More recently, when he moved two years ago from BEST, where he was the group’s tennis head, to French conglomerate Lagardère, it launched the latter’s sports agency business and ultimately fueled the sale of BEST to Lagardère.

Meyerson was a president at the sports group, Lagardère Unlimited.

Among his last tweets, in a message posted Oct. 1, he congratulated client Agnieszka Radwanska for winning an event. During the U.S. Open, he had negotiated a shoe and apparel deal for her with Lotto.

John Tobias, who managed the tennis division at Lagardère Unlimited with Meyerson, said there was no indication of illness and that the apparent heart attack was a total surprise. The day before he died, Tobias was on the phone with Meyerson for three hours.

“He was a big personality and was loved by so many people,” Tobias said.

Meyerson is survived by his wife, Claudia, and daughters Charlotte, 17, and Emily, 2.

After a long and successful career in front of the cameras, Kraig Kann has moved from the anchor desk to the LPGA, where he now serves as the tour’s chief communications officer. Kann spent 16 years at Golf Channel as host of numerous shows, and he even spent a couple of seasons as its lead play-by-play announcer. Kann spoke with staff writer Brandon McClung.

Age: 45
New title: Chief communications officer, LPGA
Previous title: Golf Channel anchor/host
First job: Paper route, Park District baseball coach
College education: Bachelor of journalism (broadcast), University of Missouri
Resides: Orlando, with wife Kimberly, and children Hailey, Trent and Kendall
Grew up: Suburban Chicago (Western Springs, Ill.)
Executive most admired: Joe Gibbs, co-founder, Golf Channel
Brand most admired: Under Armour
Favorite vacation spot: Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Last book read: “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,” by Malcolm Gladwell
Last movie seen: “Moneyball”
Favorite movie: “Remember the Titans,” “Fletch,” “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Favorite musician/band: Dave Matthews Band

What is the biggest challenge in your new position?
Creating a bigger platform and a greater stage to communicate the new LPGA message. I need to grow the mountain from which the LPGA stars can shout about all the great things they do.

What is the biggest risk you've taken in your career?
Probably taking this position. Letting go of a 25-year career in television to go in a different direction was not an easy decision. But I don’t have a rearview mirror and I’ve always liked risk and the challenge and motivation that come from it.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Longevity at Golf Channel and handling as many roles as I was given is something I’m very proud of. But starting my media consulting venture in 2010, HTK Media, has been my biggest step. Client projects and speaking seminars have provided an avenue to use my media experience to help others shape and deliver a better media message. It also helped me land at LPGA.

What is your biggest professional disappointment in your career?
Not finding my way into a play-by-play opportunity in baseball or college football. I still think about it a lot.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into this industry?
Be ready to be told “no,” but stand firm in your commitment to making the most of every opportunity. … And have a plan! “A goal, without a plan, is just a wish.”

What is one story you are continuing to watch in sports today?
College football conference realignment. Every school is trying to brand itself and create added revenue and exposure. But at what cost to the fans, and how does it affect the players?

What is one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
These days it really seems like it’s money first at all costs and people second. I’ll always be a people guy.

The Philadelphia Phillies hired Joe Jordan as director of player development. Jordan was director of amateur scouting for the Baltimore Orioles.

The NBA named Don Vaden director of officials.

The Patriot League hired Ginger Fulton as associate executive director for sport management and governance. Fulton was senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at Seton Hall University.

The Army Athletic Association hired Jason Butikofer as associate athletic director for development. Butikofer was director of the annual fund and premium seating at the University of Minnesota.

Binghamton University hired Patrick Elliott as athletic director. Elliott was athletic director at Saint Peter’s College.

Kennesaw State University hired Padraic McMeel as associate athletic director for development. McMeel was assistant athletic director for external affairs at Missouri State University.

William Woods University promoted Jason Vittone to athletic director and Tracy Gastineau to associate athletic director.

Centerplate hired Marc Spooner as executive chef for Tropicana Field.

Prudential Center hired Kerry Graue as public relations manager.


RaptorAccelerator hired Matt Pazaras as head of sales and Michelle LaMothe as head of commercial programs. Pazaras was senior vice president of sales and marketing for Cambio, and LaMothe was a corporate account manager for Madison Square Garden.

Speedway Children’s Charities hired Jennifer Henshaw as executive director. Henshaw replaces Jaime Carlin, who was promoted to director of marketing at Texas Motor Speedway.

Sporting Goods and Apparel

TaylorMade Golf Co. promoted Bob Maggiore to chief marketing officer.

Finish Line hired Sally McKelvey as vice president of strategy. McKelvey was senior director of operations financial planning and analysis for 7-Eleven.

Awards and Boards
Armada Sports and Entertainment named Paul Mangiamele, Bennigan’s Restaurants president and chief executive officer, and Mary Beck, MLB Network senior vice president of marketing and promotion, to its board of directors. named Tonya Antonucci, former Women’s Professional Soccer commissioner, to its board of directors.

People news
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Seven for the Sixers

Members of the Philadelphia 76ers’ new owners group show off their Sixers jerseys at an Oct. 18 news conference announcing their acquisition of the club. From left: CEO Adam Aron, managing owner Josh Harris, David Blitzer, Art Wrubel, Jason Levien, Martin Geller and Travis Hennings.

Obama, Biden pitch in to honor military families

First lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, joined MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and representatives from MLB and the St. Louis Cardinals at the St. Louis VA Medical Center for a military family appreciation event on Oct. 19, the day the World Series began in St. Louis. From left: Cardinals legend Red Schoendienst; Sue Selig, the commissioner’s wife; Biden, Obama and Selig; and Tim Brosnan, MLB executive vice president of business.

Salute to Women in Sports

The Women’s Sports Foundation had its annual Salute to Women in Sports Awards Gala on Oct. 19 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, with broadcasters Donna de Varona (swimming, left) and Julie Foudy (soccer), accepts a special tribute to the Pac-12 Conference for 25 years of women’s athletics. De Varona graduated from UCLA and Foudy from Stanford.

Foundation founder and tennis legend Billie Jean King (left) and foundation CEO Kathryn Olson

Sportswoman of the Year Award-Team winner Abby Wambach of the U.S. women’s soccer team and presenter and tennis star Venus Williams

ACC Basketball Media Day at ESPNU

For the second straight year ESPNU hosted ACC Basketball Media Day at its Charlotte studios. All 12 ACC coaches, 24 players and ACC Commissioner John Swofford were in studio Oct.19 previewing the coming season. Swofford (second from left) here joins ESPN’s (from left) Nick Dawson, Dan Margulis and Allison Schmalberger.

Travelers Championship donates a cool million

Nathan Grube (yellow tie), Travelers Championship tournament director, and Andy Bessette (red tie), Travelers Insurance EVP and chief administrative officer join representatives from New England charities at the Travelers Championship check presentation at the Hartford Club in Hartford, Conn., on Oct. 19. The PGA Tour event, held in June, donated more than $1 million to local charities.

Best foot forward

The National Consortium for Academics and Sports hosted its 14th annual Giant Steps Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Oct. 11 at the Marriott World Center Orlando. Former University of Central Florida basketball player Angelica Mealing (second from left) was presented with a Courageous Student-Athlete Award for overcoming personal obstacles to excel in sport and influence others. Presenters were (from left) UCF assistant women’s basketball coach Greg Brown, UCF President John Hitt and his wife, Martha, and UCF Athletic Director Keith Tribble.

Former football player and professional skier Jeremy Bloom (second from left) received a Civic Leader award for his Wish of a Lifetime Foundation that helps seniors fulfill their “bucket lists.” Presenters were (from left) the NFL’s Rory Verrett, Orlando Sentinel sports columnist Shannon Owens and NASCAR’s Dawn Harris.

Panasonic keeps soccer in its sponsorship lineup

Marking Panasonic’s renewal of its deal with Major League Soccer and addition of a partnership with U.S. Soccer at the U.S.-Ecuador match at Red Bull Arena on Oct. 11 (from left): CMO Betty Noonan and Chairman and CEO Joe Taylor of the Panasonic Corp. of North America, U.S. women’s national team player Alex Morgan, U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Soccer United Marketing President Kathy Carter.

MiLB’s O’Conner speaks at Tisch Center

Pat O’Conner, Minor League Baseball’s president and CEO, spent the morning of Sept. 30 talking to 100 Tisch Center sports business students at New York University. From left: Professors Wayne McDonnell Jr., Joel Cormier and Mark Warner; academic chair and professor Robert Boland; O’Conner; Darryl Henderson, MiLB coordinator of affiliate programs; Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean; and Jennifer Bobrow Burns, associate director of career services.

Game time for IMG and Denali

At the Washington vs. Colorado football game Oct. 15 in Seattle (from left): John Convery, EVP of vendor relations and marketing for Denali Advanced Integration; Roger VanDerSnick, IMG chief sales and marketing officer; Andre Riley, Washington GM for IMG College; Denali owner Mike Daher; and IMG College President Ben Sutton.

Derrick Rose greets fans

Derrick Rose met fans in Chicago on Oct. 15 to celebrate the launch of his new Adidas shoe, the adiZero Rose 2. Rose visited the Adidas store on Michigan Avenue and Foot Locker on State Street, then hit the court at the James Jordan Boys & Girls Club for the “Run with D Rose” event, where some Adidas Facebook fans were given the chance to play 3-on-3 with the MVP.

Time Warner, Speed2 team up with Johnson

At the Time Warner Cable/Speed2 Digital Pit at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 8 where both companies promoted Speed2 on TWC’s Sports Pass (from left): Nicole Schneiderjohn and Bonnie O’Donnell of  Fox Networks Distribution; five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson; Kristin Malaspina of Time Warner Cable; and Amy Walsh of Hendrick Motorsports.

An impressive drive

Golf Channel President Mike McCarley (left) with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer (center) and Golf Channel co-founder Joe Gibbs announce the renaming of the cable network’s street address to “Golf Channel Drive“ during an employee gathering Oct. 18 at Universal Studios Florida. The cable network is undergoing extensive building renovations to its Orlando headquarters and has incorporated new branding as part of the NBC Sports Group.

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Tom Osborne Athletic director, University of Nebraska

When visiting Lincoln, Neb., to pay a call on Tom Osborne, it’s not hard to remember which building to look for.

Osborne, the University of Nebraska’s athletic director, has his office on the third floor of the Tom and Nancy Osborne Athletic Complex, at the north end of Memorial Stadium. It looks out over the practice fields for the football program that he coached for 25 years.

Osborne’s office, where the color scheme stays loyal to Nebraska’s red, features photos and mementos from his Hall of Fame coaching career and his time as AD, which began in 2007. Among the Cornhusker treasures, there’s also a hint of Capitol Hill, reflecting Osborne’s three terms in Congress as a U.S. representative.

1. Osborne is an avid fisherman. 2. Photos include shots from his D.C. days, with former Speaker Dennis Hastert and President George W. Bush. 3. Baseball and volleyball venues. 4. Commemorative box from ‘07 volleyball team. 5. Osborne and wife Nancy visited legendary coach John Wooden in January 2010. 6. Miniature version of the 1997 national championship trophy. 7. Osborne holds his nameplate from the voting board at the U.S. House of Representatives.

Coins minted 1995-2008 mark games, awards, accomplishments.
When players from the Nebraska-Oklahoma 1971 “Game of the Century” reunited, they signed special helmets like this with Nebraska on one side and Oklahoma on the other.
Conference table and TV at one end of Osborne’s office. Walls and chairs are all done in Nebraska’s red Left: Football coach Bo Pelini (left) and Osborne cut the ribbon on football letter-winners wall. Right: Nameplate on desk lists core values of the athletic department. Left: Bowling ball signed by the school’s 2009 national championship bowling team. Right: Osborne was on the football coaching staff in 1962, when Nebraska’s current sellout streak began.