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Volume 21 No. 2

People and Pop Culture

Los Angeles Dodgers Chief Financial Officer Peter Wilhelm resigned.

The Houston Astros hired Samir Mayur as director of business development.


The Minnesota Timberwolves hired Bob Stanke as director of interactive services.

John Marinatto resigned as commissioner of the Big East Conference.

Cowley College hired Richard Speas as athletic director. Speas was athletic director at Blinn Junior College.

Kennesaw State University hired Erin Kerr as director of athletic development. Kerr was assistant director of athletic development at Wake Forest University.

Oakland University promoted Adrian Kowal to assistant athletic director for compliance, Gordie Lindsay to assistant athletic director for development, Scott MacDonald to assistant athletic director for communications and Elisabeth Putnam to assistant athletic director for facilities and operations.

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference named Joe Novak director of hockey operations. Novak was assistant athletic director for events management at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Central Methodist University hired Kenneth Oliver as vice president for institutional growth and student engagement. Oliver will remain athletic director at Texas A&M University-Kingsville through June 15.

The University at Buffalo hired Danny White as athletic director. White was senior associate athletic director at the University of Mississippi.

The University of Central Florida hired Andy Seeley as assistant athletic director for communications. Seeley was associate director of athletic communications at the University of Minnesota.

The University of Portland hired Scott Leykam as athletic director. Leykam was senior associate commissioner for external relations for the West Coast Conference.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee named Andy Geiger athletic director. Geiger was formerly athletic director at Ohio State University.

Western Kentucky University promoted Todd Stewart to athletic director. Stewart was senior associate athletic director.

St. Bonaventure University promoted Jason MacBain to sports information director.


Michigan International Speedway promoted Kelly Daniels to director of accounting.

George Martin resigned as NFL Alumni Association executive director and NFL Alumni Foundation chief executive officer.

The Arena Football League’s Arizona Rattlers organization hired Ronny Henderson as director of marketing. Henderson was chairman and vice president of development for Arizona’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.

The Chicago Blackhawks promoted Norm Maciver to assistant general manager.

The American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch hired Amanda Johnston as sponsorship services manager. Johnston was marketing and sales coordinator for Venture Sales Group.

Horse Racing
Breeders’ Cup Ltd. named Robert Elliston chief operating officer. Elliston was president and chief executive officer for Turfway Park.


Team Epic promoted Brian Nelson to associate.

CBS Sports Network named Greg Trager vice president of programming. Trager was vice president of programming and production for the Sportsman Channel.

The American Le Mans Series named Jamie Kimbrough director of public relations.

Multiteam Companies

Palace Sports & Entertainment hired Doug Wernert as manager of brand networks. Wernert was an account supervisor for Weber Shandwick.

Aramark named Eric Foss chief executive officer and president, replacing Joseph Neubauer, who will remain the chairman of the company. Foss was chief executive officer for Pepsi Beverages Co.

Awards and Boards
United Way Worldwide named Marc Bluestein, Aquarius Sports and Entertainment founder and president, to its U.S. board of trustees.

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.

Rucker's a hit with PGA Tour

Country music performer and avid golfer Darius Rucker hands a check to PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem representing the money Rucker’s song, “Together, Anything’s Possible,” has raised for tour charities. Rucker’s song generated $63,886.22 from iTunes downloads in 2011. Funds will be used to support charities such as The First Tee.

ESPN upfront in New York

Broadcaster Trey Wingo (left) and Sean Bratches, executive vice president of sales and marketing, were among those onstage for the ESPN upfront presentation on May 15 at Best Buy Theater in New York City.

Class in session with Dolich

Alan Ledford, Pat Gallagher and Brett Fuller took part in a panel discussion on facilities during Andy Dolich’s Current Business Issues in Sports class at Stanford University on May 8. From left: Ledford, former president and CEO of the Sacramento River Cats and now owner of four minor league baseball teams; Gallagher, former executive of the San Francisco Giants; Dolich, adjunct faculty member at Stanford and longtime professional sports executive; and Fuller, director of business development for AECOM.

Announcing college football inductees

Steve Bartkowski (left) and Jimmy Johnson (second from left) join National Football Foundation President and CEO Steve Hatchell (second from right) and Burke Magnus, ESPN SVP for college sports programming, at the announcement of the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame class. Former Cal quarterback Bartkowski and former Miami and Oklahoma State coach Johnson represented the class of 14 players and three coaches at the event May 15 at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York City.

TWC media upfront in Los Angeles

At the Time Warner Cable Media “Cabletime” upfront May 10 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles (from left): host Andy Adler; Los Angeles Lakers TV broadcaster Francisco Pinto; TWC Deportes VP Pablo Urquiza; Joan Hogan Gillman, TWC EVP and TWC Media president; Mark Shuken, SVP and GM of TWC Sports Regional Networks; Scott Pruitt, TWC VP of marketing and communications; and Lakers TV broadcaster Adrian Garcia Marquez.

P&G says 'Thank you, Mom'

Jodi Allen, Procter & Gamble VP of North America operations and marketing, speaks at a press event announcing P&G’s “Thank You, Mom” gifts to mothers of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes for the 2012 London Games. The event was May 8 in New York City.

Big anniversary for Texas bowl game

On May 10, ESPN Regional Television played host for a 10th anniversary event marking the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl game’s return to TCU’s newly renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium. From left: Brant Ringler, the bowl game’s executive director; Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price; Pete Riley, Bell Helicopter EVP of integrated operations; Pete Derzis, ESPN Regional Television SVP and GM; and Bill Thornton, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, and co-chairman of the bowl game’s executive council.

Dynamo duos

Stakeholders were ready for some soccer as the Houston Dynamo played its first game at BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12. From left: Dynamo President Chris Canetti (left) and MLS Commissioner Don Garber
Photos by: DON MURET / STAFF

AEG Facilities COO Bob Newman (left) and AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke

Manolo Sanchez (left), CEO of BBVA Compass, and Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions founder and Dynamo co-owner

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.

Dario Brignole came to the U.S. from Argentina, where he had worked for Nike and Head, and made what he considers his official entry into the industry as an intern at IMG’s office in Washington, D.C. He spent 13 years with IMG before starting his own marketing company.

FINGERS DO THE WALKING: I went to the Yellow Pages. … There were three companies: One was IMG, the other was SFX, and the other I think was [ProServ] … I sent a letter to all of them and started calling, and no one answered. I realized that IMG was literally three blocks from where I used to live. Pretty much, I started to show up and make friends in this really small IMG office. … I don’t know if I really ever got an offer like, “Yes, please come on Monday.” It was more like me showing up, all dressed up with a full suit.

Brignole (left) working for IMG in Bolivia at Copa America in 1997, with former Argentine rugby player Matias Corral. Below: Brignole and Roger Federer at this year’s Sony Ericsson Open.
COMMUNICATION BARRIER: [My first day] was very intimidating because, first of all, my English was 20 percent of really what I can communicate. I kind of understood more, but … literally, I was understanding maybe half of the things they were telling me, and I guarantee that expressing myself, they were understanding one-third of what I was saying.

OVERQUALIFIED: In Argentina, when you go to school, when you finish high school, you start working, and you are 18, 19 years old, and you go to school at night. Which means when you graduate, you are 22 years old or 23, but you already have five years of experience. … When they put me at the front

desk as a receptionist, in an office that maybe gets 20 calls in a day, I was totally bored.

AHEAD OF HIS TIME: I presented a marketing plan, how to either bring IMG talent to Latin America, or try to find Argentinian talent to try to sell it overseas. … It’s funny that a lot of things that I wrote there materialized [later]. … That’s one of the things about our business is maybe it’s the right idea, but the timing is not right.

SUITING UP: I forget my belt [on a trip for a job interview within IMG]. … I say, “OK, I will buy a belt tomorrow morning in New York when I’m close to the office.” What happened is close to the office what you have is Gucci, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana. Anyway, I went there [and] the cheapest belt I could get was $170. I think it was more expensive than my suit. … I still have that belt, and it’s a great belt.

: I have a whole system that I explain to [Shine’s] interns. … Why? Because when I did my internship with IMG, honestly, it was really bad (laughs). They were really nice people, but they didn’t have any structure. It was like, “Oh, gosh, the intern showed up, what are we going to do with him? Whatever. Could he grab my cleaning?” You know what I mean, or “Could he grab a couple of Subway sandwiches?”

: There are ups and downs. You have to try to keep positive, but the truth is, Who is going to give you a break? Who is going to give you a meeting? I only want a meeting. I want to be in front of someone that gave me 15 minutes. You work really hard for that.

See also: Chris Wright, President: Minnesota Timberwolves, Lynx

Chris Wright, a former soccer player and coach, made his debut as an executive in that sport before moving to basketball. “You come in and learn,” Wright says. “You have to be prepared to change and to be nimble.”

Wright’s a longtime basketball exec, but he hasn’t forgotten his soccer moves.
LEARNING CURVE: I handled player contracts and the back end of the business operations and from that [owner Edward DeBartolo Sr.] gave me the ability to run the front office as well. I had no idea what it took to sell a ticket or run public relations or handle broadcasts, but Mr. DeBartolo gave me my Ph.D. by giving me the job.

PATH TO GM: I was a soccer player in England and I got into the coaching side very quickly. I kept coming over to the U.S. to soccer camps and got to know a lot of people in Pittsburgh.

FIRST-DAY NERVES: I walked into “The Igloo” [Civic Arena] and wondered what I was doing. I was walking into an arena that looked like a spaceship where I had doubts about the job. But I kept reminding myself that I knew a lot about soccer and DeBartolo wouldn’t have hired me if he didn’t think I could do it.

FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS: What I realized very early was that I needed to find people who were passionate about the game and knew the business functions. That seemed like it would be difficult.

HOT ROD: As an English guy, I loved the singer Rod Stewart so I decided that our theme would be “Hot Legs” after his music. The player introductions were to the “Hot Legs” music and we had a Miss Hot Legs contest. At halftime, I used to drive around the arena with Miss Hot Legs in the car, much to the chagrin of my family.