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Volume 21 No. 2

People and Pop Culture


The Phoenix Suns hired Tanya Wheeless as senior vice president of communications and public affairs. Wheeless was president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Bankers Association.

Kansas State University promoted Reid Sigmon to senior associate athletic director and chief operating officer; Jill Shields to senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator; and Kenny Lannou to assistant athletic director for communications.

The Summit League promoted Myndee Kay Larsen to senior associate commissioner and David Brauer to assistant commissioner for communications.

Speedway Motorsports Inc. promoted Jessica Fickenscher to the new position of vice president of special projects.

Barclays Center hired Dmitriy Materanskiy as director of international partnership sales.

The Central Hockey League’s Texas Brahmas named Josh Tannenbaum director of communications and Josh Hirsch the team’s broadcaster.


Scarinci Hollenbeck added Anthony Caruso, who focuses on sports and entertainment law.

Deep Alliance Marketing hired Brianna Rueschaw as office manager and project coordinator.

Intersport hired Scott Malaga as senior vice president of strategic partnerships.

The Aspire Group named Ben Pincus manager of the Fan Relationship Management Center for Florida International University. Pincus was a group sales specialist for Madison Square Garden.

Iomedia hired Andrew Lafiosca as director of sales and marketing for sports and entertainment. Lafiosca was vice president of marketing and sales for the New York Red Bulls.

PlayOn! Sports hired Bo LaMotte as executive vice president of distribution. LaMotte previously formed his own media consulting firm, Digital Media Distribution.

Sports Image named Scott Kennedy owner and president of a franchise in North Carolina.

Emily Ries formed Blitz Sports Group, a full-service sports marketing group. Ries most recently worked with Under Armour.

Paragon Marketing Group promoted Matt Waitz to vice president and account director.

Learfield Sports hired Mary-Bec Gwyn as general manager of Rocket Sports Properties at the University of Toledo. Gwyn was general manager at Missouri State University with Nelligan Sports Marketing.

Univision hired Jason Newman as vice president of sports sales and Rick Resnick as vice president of sports marketing. Newman was senior director of sports management at ESPN, and Resnick was vice president of marketing at Time.

Multiteam Companies
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment named Preben Ganzhorn director of marketing and community for Toronto FC.

Palace Sports & Entertainment named Sam Walton event coordinator and Rob McCalebb director of suite sales and service. Walton was an executive producer at Signature Professional Group, and McCalebb was manager of premium seating for the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena.


The Columbus Crew promoted Andrew Arthurs to senior vice president of soccer business development and named Samuel Beall group sales account executive. Beall was an account executive with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

D.C. United named Tricia Aoki customer service and retention specialist; Keith Baulsir manager of corporate partnerships; Alexander Dowell receptionist; Maureen Dowling account executive of corporate partnerships; Andrew Sides graphic designer; Roy Tewell corporate and inside sales director; and Mikael Tigrett account executive, ticket sales.

The New England Revolution promoted Brian Bilello to president and Michael Burns to general manager. Former President Sunil Gulati was named a senior adviser to The Kraft Group and the Kraft family.

Sporting Goods and Apparel
Hillerich & Bradsby Co. named Lawrence Writer chief operating officer and chief financial officer. Lawrence was a director at AlixPartners.

Sports Commissions and Tourism Boards
The Kansas City Sports Commission named Kathy Nelson president.

Awards and Boards
MLS named its club and executive award winners for 2011. Among the awards were Doug Hamilton Executive of the Year: Mike Golub, Portland Timbers; Corporate Partnership Executive of the Year: Ryan Brach, Portland Timbers; Marketing Executive of the Year: Cory Dolich, Portland Timbers; Ticketing Executive of the Year, Joe Cote, Portland Timbers; Local Digital Editor of the Year: Brian Costello, Portland Timbers; Team Administrator of the Year presented by ATP Event Experts: Francisco Tobar, D.C. United.

ImAthlete named YPO International president and former Fandango CEO Chuck Davis to its board of advisers.

The Sports Financial Advisors Association named Bruce Ritter of Ritter Wealth Counsel to its board of directors.

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America awarded Peter Dernoeden, turfgrass science professor at the University of Maryland, the Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award.

Lynn Agnello, senior vice president of marketing partnerships and suite sales and services of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury, received the award for Best Executive in the Stevie Awards for Women in Business.

People news
To have your personnel announcements included in the People section, please send information and photos to Brandon McClung at 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202, or email them to Electronic photos must be a jpg or tiff file for Macintosh, 2.25 inches wide at 300 dpi. Color only, please. News items may also be sent via fax to (704) 973-1401. If you have questions, call (704) 973-1425.


(From left) Dan Richlen of Wunderman; Steve Pegram, NASCAR director of stakeholder communications; and Mark Dill and Mike Kirks of Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Producer Neal Edelstein spoke on a panel discussing how Hollywood showcases motorsports.

New NASCAR Sprint Cup champ Tony Stewart related some lessons he has learned as a team owner.

Rich Luker looked at economic and demographic trends in sports and where motorsports fits in.

Stephen Venute of AARP Foundation and Chris Hartweg of Wunderman

Emmanuel Lupe of Jetset Magazine and Regan Fletcher of Polar Mobile

Action sports star Travis Pastrana talked about his NASCAR transition.

Coca-Cola’s Alison Lewis gave a view from the sponsorship side.

NASCAR’s Steve Phelps introduced Tony Stewart and took part in a featured session on NASCAR research.

MLB salutes the White Sox

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig presented the Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence to Chicago White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf at last month’s owners meetings in Milwaukee. The team was acknowledged for its White Sox Volunteer Corps program.

Saints serve it up for Vilma's good cause

New Orleans Saints players and owner and EVP Rita Benson LeBlanc gather around at Morton’s steakhouse in New Orleans to support the Jonathan Vilma Foundation’s second annual Celebrity Server event Nov. 7. It raised money to build a school in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Marking Francis' appointment at WISE

At the Nov. 16 gathering celebrating the appointment of Kathy Francis as the new chair of Women in Sports & Events (from left): The New York Road Runners’ Mary Wittenberg, WISE founder and Chair emerita Sue Rodin, Francis, MLB’s Wendi Lewis and Soccer United Marketing’s Kathy Carter.

Gathered for the Golden Goggles

At the USA Swimming Foundation’s Golden Goggles Awards on Nov. 20 in Los Angeles (from left): Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming executive director; Randy Griffin, Marriott International VP of global sales; Speedo President Jim Gerson; Matt Farrell, USA Swimming CMO; Joanna Todd, Marriott International VP of segment strategy; and Olympic gold medalists Summer Sanders and Ryan Lochte.

A very Garden Thanksgiving

TD Garden President John Wentzell (left), Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Kim Jacobs, wife of Boston Bruins principal Charlie Jacobs attend the 16th annual Table of Friends on Nov. 22. Boston-area homeless were served Thanksgiving dinner on the event floor at TD Garden.

March of Dimes honorees

At the March of Dimes New York Division’s 28th annual sports luncheon Nov. 30 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City (from left): Emcee Boomer Esiason; NCAA president and Sports Leadership Award winner Mark Emmert; Hope Solo and Abby Wambach representing the Sportswomen of the Year Award winners, the U.S. women’s soccer team; New York Yankee and Sportsman of the Year Award winner Mark Teixeira; and emcee Craig Carton.

Surf's up and deal's extended in Maui

Officials gather before the championship game of the EA Sports Maui Invitational Nov. 23 to commemorate EA Sports’ signing a multiyear deal to continue as title sponsor. From left: KemperLesnik’s Tom Valdiserri, EA Sports’ Chris Thorne and Roy Stigall, the Maui Visitors Bureau’s Terryl Vencl, EA Sports’ Carolyn Feinstein, KemperLesnik’s Eric Jonke, Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, Chaminade University President Bernie Ploeger and Athletic Director Bill Villa, and KemperLesnik’s Steve Lesnik.

"Sunday Night Football" team gets Taste of NFL

Members of NBC Sports’ “Sunday Night Football” team were at the James Beard House in New York City on Nov. 19 as an all-star cast of chefs prepared a special meal for friends of Taste of the NFL (from left): Mark Haugen, Jack McDavid, Stephane Motir, Bob Costas, Michele Tafoya, Bobby Flay, Stephan Lewandowski and Al Michaels.

Please submit photos for review of industry conferences, parties, product launches and openings showcasing the people and personalities at the event. Include the event date, location, names/titles of those featured along with credit information. The photo specifications are as follows: 300dpi, tiff, jpeg or eps color images. Submit digital photos for review at: or send color prints to: Faces & Places, c/o Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202.

Kevin White
Athletic Director, Duke University

Part 1: White talks about conference realignment, the NCAA and what he thinks about paying student athletes.
Part 2: White on plans for Duke athletics, from facilities to revenue generation to building a winning football program.
Part 3: White talks about running, hanging ten and the gadget he can't live without.

Conference realignment has been front and center in the news.
White: “My sense is it’s still a pretty fluid environment out there.”

Where do you see the conference realignment headed?
White: “Four or five major consortias with 14 to 16 institutions.”

How has your conference benefited from it?
White: Adding Syracuse and Pitt is “a home run for the ACC.”

What has Duke’s role in the expansion process been?
White: Evaluate, vote, but Commissioner John Swofford “does all the heavy lifting.”

What have you learned about the NCAA’s Mark Emmert?
White: “He’s a consummate leader [with] the ability to move an agenda.”

What about the plan to pay student athletes a $2,000 stipend?
White: It’s reasonable. Student athletes’ share “hasn’t really changed since the ’30s.”

What’s new at Duke on the facilities front?
White: Looking at “a pretty dramatic face lift of Wallace Wade [Stadium].”

Football has been a greater challenge than basketball. What’s your vision?
White: “To become pretty darned competitive, in the ACC” and nationally.

Can you find additional revenue in football before the victories come?
White: “It is a bit of a chicken-and-egg game.”

What about balancing preservation and revenue generation at Cameron Indoor Stadium?
White: “Preserving the authenticity of Cameron is absolutely critical and non-negotiable.”

You teach a sports business class. What do you tell students?
White: “It’s an industry that’s absolutely exploding.”

What kinds of technology have you embraced?
White: “I am an absolute Black-Berry freak. … I’d be a great commercial.”

You were a sprinter in college. Do you still run?
White: “That’s probably a misnomer. I’m a bad jogger.”

Is that when you do some of your best thinking?
White: “It’s the time … when nobody else can get to you.”

Where do you run?
White: “I’ve got trails around Duke” and the house, plus the treadmill.

What other forms of entertainment do you like?
White: “I’ve had a great love affair with the sport of surfing.”

Where could people have seen you catching a wave?
White: “The Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific and Hawaii and everyplace else.”