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Volume 21 No. 1

People and Pop Culture

The Chicago Cubs named former MLB pitcher Ted Lilly special assistant to president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer.

The Seattle Mariners named Joe Myhra vice president of ballpark operations. Myhra was director of maintenance for Safeco Field.

Ripken Baseball named Joe Harrington general manager of the short-season Class A New York-Penn League’s Aberdeen (Md.) IronBirds.

The Philadelphia 76ers promoted Adam Tuval and Ashley Shapiro to account executives and Paige Mollineaux to executive assistant.


Purdue University named Morgan Burke vice president in addition to his title of athletic director.

Northern Illinois University hired Melissa Dawson as senior associate athletic director and director of student-athlete academic support services. Dawson was associate athletic director for student services at the University of Tulsa.

The University of Miami named Tim Harris assistant director of football operations. Harris was football coach at Miami’s Booker T. Washington High School.

The University of Missouri hired Tim Stedman as associate athletic director for advancement. Stedman was associate athletic director for development at Michigan State University.

The University of Washington hired Andrew Garlock and Chris Carra as ticket sales account executives.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers named Ailey Penningroth chief marketing officer. Penningroth was chief marketing officer for the Atlanta Hawks.

The PGA of America promoted Brian Cleek to director of sales.

ProVentures promoted Jerry Casselano to vice president of corporate hospitality.

Octagon hired Michael Swenson to work in its football division. Swenson was TRU Sports Group president.

U/S Sports Advisors promoted Abby Gras to public relations manager and hired Jesse Ghiorzi as senior manager of brand development.

IMG College named Kristen Rose general manager at Georgia Tech and Craig Decker general manager at Miami (Ohio).

ESPN named Joe Disney producer of “SEC Nation,” which will debut on the new SEC Network on Aug. 28. Disney was producer at the Longhorn Network.

Fox Deportes promoted Pamela Torres to director of operations.

Showtime Networks promoted David Nevins to president.


The NHRA named Geno Effler vice president of public relations and communications. Effler was vice president of corporate communications at Volvo Cars of North America.

Hendrick Motorsports hired Christine Brownlow as manager of brand and digital. Brownlow was senior account executive at Taylor.

The IHRA and IRG Sports & Entertainment named Todd Silvey managing editor of Drag Review Magazine.

The U.S. Olympic Museum named Kristen Downs executive administrative coordinator.

D.C. United promoted Mike Schoenbrun to chief revenue officer and named Tom Hunt chief operating officer. Hunt replaces Michael Williamson, who was named chief financial officer of Serie A club Inter Milan.

New York Red Bulls general manager Jerome de Bontin resigned.

The International Tennis Federation named Kenny MacLeod executive director of commercial.


EXOS, formerly Athletes’ Performance, promoted Trevor Moawad to vice president of pro/elite sports.

Awards and Boards
The International Association of Venue Managers named John Bolton board chairman. Bolton is general manger of the BOK Center and Cox Business Center for SMG in Tulsa, Okla.

The National Basketball Retired Players Association named Nancy Lieberman, Dwight Davis and Eldridge Recasner to its board of directors. Lieberman is the first female to serve on the NBRPA’s board of directors.

Sports investment banking firm Accelerate Sports named Andy Dolich, Dave Holland and Doug Renert to its advisory board.

The NCAA appointed Stanford Athletic Director Bernard Muir and University of North Carolina at Asheville Athletic Director Janet Cone to the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.

Lindsay Davenport, Chantal Vandierendonck, Nick Bollettieri, Jane Brown Grimes and John Barrett were elected for enshrinement into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

The Women in Sports & Events L.A. board of directors named Cassie Zebisch director of public relations and media. Zebisch is communications manager at AEG.

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.

Touring the Cactus League

Colorado Rockies owner, Chairman and CEO Dick Monfort, left, joins Frontier Airlines President and CEO Dave Siegel, and Greg Feasel, Rockies executive vice president and chief operating officer, at the team’s first home game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

This group was involved in the development of Cubs Park. Front row, from left, Joe Spear, Populous; Tab Baker, Hunt Construction; Alex Ortiz, Icon Venue Group; Steve Boyd, Populous; and Nicole Kiersztyn Snyder, Ellen Tehan and Adam Sprenger, all with DWL Architects. Back row, from left, Steve Caudle, Aaron Noll, Mark Palmer and David Bower, all with Populous; Troy Hoberg, Hunt; and Steve Rao, DWL.

Ovations Food Services runs food and retail at Cubs Park. From left, Ovations President Ken Young and John Traub, general manager of the Albuquerque Isotopes. Young owns the Isotopes, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Class AAA affiliate.

Chicago Cubs President Crane Kenney, left, Allen Hermeling, the team’s senior director of corporate partnerships, and Colin Faulkner, the Cubs’ vice president of sales and partnerships, attend the first game at new Cubs Park in Mesa.

Chris Calcaterra, left, sports facilities manager of the Peoria (Ariz.) Sports Complex, spring training home of the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners, visits with Jason Wilson, vice president of operations for Professional Sports Catering, the facility’s new concessionaire.

USTA Serves funds for charity

A fundraising reception for USTA Serves, the official charity of this year’s BNP Paribas Showdown in support of under-resourced youth through tennis and education, raised more than $100,000 on March 2 at The Essex House in New York. StarGames President and CEO Jerry Solomon, tennis players Andy Murray, Mike Bryan, Bob Bryan and Novak Djokovic, and USTA Serves Executive Director Dan Faber attended the reception.

MSG, Knicks announce D-League team

Madison Square Garden Co. announced on March 10 that it will own and operate an NBA D-League team in White Plains, N.Y., that will be an affiliate of the New York Knicks. Attending the announcement at Westchester County Center, the team’s home court, are: New York Liberty’s Essence Carson; former Knicks star John Starks; Westchester County’s Kathy O’Connor; D-League President Dan Reed; Allan Houston, Knicks assistant GM and Knicks D-League team GM; Westchester County’s Rob Astorino and Mike Kaplowitz; MSG Sports’ Dave Howard; and Bill Boyce of the Knicks D-League team.

Lesnik joins Chaminade HOF

Chaminade University inducted Steve Lesnik, chairman of KemperLesnik and KemperSports, into the Silversword Hall of Fame at its sixth annual intercollegiate athletics gala on Feb. 28 at the Ala Moana Beach Hotel in Honolulu. Attending the gala were: Chaminade AD Bill Villa; Chaminade President Brother Bernie Ploeger; Lesnik; Carolyn Berry Wilson, past Hall of Fame inductee; and Lee Donohue, honorary gala chair and past Hall of Fame inductee.

Comcast-Spectacor goes Live

Comcast-Spectacor’s leadership team gathers on March 5 after a companywide broadcast of Comcast-Spectacor Live at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Members of the team are: John Page, president, Global Spectrum; Alice Fei, Comcast-Spectacor VP of human resources; Comcast-Spectacor Chief of Staff Dan Gallagher; New Era Tickets President Fred Maglione; Comcast-Spectacor President Dave Scott; Comcast-Spectacor CFO Gary Rostick; Phil Weinberg, Comcast-Spectacor EVP and general counsel; Shawn Tilger, Flyers COO of business development; Ovations Food Services President Ken Young; and Paciolan founder Jane Kleinberger.

USOC designates medical center

The U.S. Olympic Committee announced March 3 that the Steadman Philippon Research Institute and The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo., had been designated as a national medical center in the USOC network. Attending the news conference in Vail were: Dr. Marc J. Philippon, managing partner of The Steadman Clinic and co-chair of SPRI; Dr. Richard Steadman, founder of The Steadman Clinic and founder and co-chair of SPRI; and Dr. Bill Moreau, managing director of the USOC Sports Medicine Division.

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.

Upper Deck last month kicked off a slew of marketing initiatives to mark the company’s 25th anniversary. The man behind the celebration is Jason Masherah, who was appointed president of the trading card company last year and has been with the Carlsbad, Calif., business since 2006. He’s seen the fortunes of the memorabilia industry rise and fall with the economy, but he’s encouraged by some of Upper Deck’s recent innovations and a push into the college space.

There’s an incredible competition for entertainment, and it’s only been heightened in recent years. We’re no different. We’re a form of entertainment, except that we’re not a live event. Just like the games are exploring every way to improve the fan experience, we’ve got to make sure we’re doing the most innovative things.

The changes he’s seen: Our focus really is going back to the hobby shop, because they’re an extension of us. They are a walking billboard for the industry. That’s where you find your sense of community — in those shops. That’s the place where, as a new collector, you learn what to look for. That’s a focus for us going forward. There also are opportunities on the Internet, where communities have moved online.

About the 25th anniversary: We’re doing a lot on social media. We’re having contests, we’re doing a lot of direct-to-consumer advertising with chances to win prizes and talk about your collection. We’re going to have an enormous presence at all of the big trade shows, bringing in athletes and displaying collections all over the country and in Canada.

Doing business in the current economy: You’re seeing growth in online sales and an evolution to the more tech-savvy crowd. … On YouTube, there are literally thousands of videos of people opening boxes of trading cards. Shops are posting those videos to show the excitement, so it’s been interesting to see that change.

About the college sets: We’ve seen ways in which people are more passionate about their college teams than pro teams. There’s a strong allegiance there, and our school-specific sets have tapped into that. We’re going to have our first conference set this fall with SEC football, and that will be another great way to engage consumers in a way that’s never been done before.

A sweet spot with hockey: Canada is very important to us. We’ve got a deal with the Hockey Hall of Fame [in Toronto], and individual deals with some greats like Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr. Hockey is a strong piece of our business. The hobby [business] is really alive in Canada, and with Canada [winning the Olympic gold medal], we could see some lift from that.

— Michael Smith