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Volume 20 No. 41

People and Pop Culture

The West Coast Conference named Glenn Layendecker associate commissioner for business and operations, and chief financial officer. Layendecker was associate athletic director for business and external relations at the University of Portland.

Eastern Michigan University named Dan McLean associate athletic director for development. McLean was major gifts officer for the Mountaineer Club at West Virginia University.


PC Sports, a facilities consulting company, named Tom Bond project director. Bond is the co-founder of Bond Facilities Consulting.

The PGA of America promoted Casey Morton to senior director of media.

The Nashville Predators named Craig MacDonald hockey director at the Ford Ice Center, the team’s new ice rink development in Antioch, Tenn. MacDonald was hockey director for the Evansville (Ind.) Youth Hockey Association.

The American Indoor Lacrosse Association named Charles Simmons vice president of strategic business development. Simmons is vice president of marketing and strategy development at Thomas Scientific.

Engine Shop named Nick Hines to oversee the company’s new West Coast operation in San Francisco. Hines is executive vice president of Engine Shop.

Freedom Sports and Entertainment / FSE College named Roger Jones manager of ticket sales and fan development at Ball State and David Arnold manager of ticket sales and fan development at Tennessee Chattanooga. FSE also named Deanna Terelle manager of ticket sales and youth soccer development for the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Reputation Ink, a public relations and content marketing firm, named Kristi Dosh vice president of public relations. Dosh was a sports business reporter for ESPN.

The Indianapolis Star promoted Ronnie Ramos to managing director for digital and sports.

KSE Media Ventures promoted Scott Long to senior vice president and named Matt Hutchings president and chief executive officer in addition to his duties as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. The company also named David Gluck executive vice president of business operations and new business development.


The International Motor Sports Association named Rick Hall senior manager of corporate partnership and development. Hall was vice president of business development at Activent Marketing.

IndyCar named Tino Belli director of aerodynamic development. Belli was technical director at Panther Racing.

The Sports Car Club of America named Lisa Noble president and chief executive officer.

USA Team Handball named Mike Cavanaugh chief executive officer. Cavanaugh was chief executive officer of USA Table Tennis.

New Jersey Youth Soccer named Evan Dabby executive director. Dabby was senior director of supporter relations and safety for Major League Soccer.

MLS’s Sporting Kansas City promoted Chris Flynn to manager of group sales and Sporting Club Network.

Sporting Goods and Apparel
Björn Borg, a fashion brand, named Henrik Bunge chief executive officer, effective Aug. 1. Bunge was chief executive officer of Peak Performance.

Smack Sportswear named Doug Samuelson contract chief financial officer. Samuelson was chief financial officer of Medacta USA.

Under Armour named Fritz Taylor vice president of run. Taylor was vice president and general manager of running for Mizuno.

’47 Brand named Ryan Johnson consumer marketing manager. Johnson was event and retail activist for New Era Cap Co.

Sports Commissions and Tourism Boards
Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed David Berlin to executive director of the New York State Athletic Commission.

Delaware North Sportservice named Jeff Kline senior vice president of business development. Kline was chief operating officer for Mango Sense USA.

Turner Construction named Dewey Newton general manager of its sports group in addition to his current duties as senior vice president.

The Topps Co. named John Mueller chief financial officer. Mueller was chief financial officer with the XO Group.

Awards and Boards
The V Foundation for Cancer Research named Steve Bornstein board chairman. Bornstein is president and chief executive officer of NFL Network and executive vice president of media for the NFL.

The CFL Players’ Association elected Scott Flory president of its executive committee and returned Jay McNeil as first vice president and Marwan Hage as second vice president. Jeff Keeping was elected third vice president and Brian Ramsay treasurer.

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.

The Final Four came to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and plenty of execs from the world of sports and elsewhere were on the scene for hoops and hobnobbing.

Attending the game in Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ suite were Jones and his wife, Gene Jones, and John Schnatter of Papa John’s Pizza and his wife, Annette Schnatter.

Attending the NCAA men’s basketball championship game, from left: NCAA President Mark Emmert, North Texas Final Four Host Committee Chairperson Charlotte Jones Anderson, former President Bill Clinton, former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush.

CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus and Turner Broadcasting System President David Levy posed for a photo on the floor of the Final Four at AT&T Stadium.
Photo by: JOHN P. FILO / CBS

The Learfield Sports-IMG Tip-Off Party took place at Gilley’s in Dallas on April 4. From left: Jayme McLean, Zach Wagner, Tyler Norman and Adam Froidl represented Learfield Sports’ Badger Sports Properties.

Also at the Learfield Sports-IMG Tip-Off Party, from left: Chet Savage, deputy athletic director, Southern Illinois University; Josh Rebholz, senior associate athletic director for external relations, UCLA; Mario Moccia, director of athletics, Southern Illinois University; Laird Veatch, executive associate athletic director of development for Kansas State University; Chuck Schroeder, Learfield Sports vice president; and Bob Agramonte, Learfield Sports senior vice president.

IMG College President Ben Sutton (center) honored the company’s top sellers and property general managers at IMG College’s President’s Cup Awards Ceremony at Dallas restaurant Stephan Pyles ahead of the men’s Final Four.

Panel at Women’s Final Four

A panel discussed the business of women’s basketball April 7 at the Women’s Final Four Summit in Nashville. Representatives of the NCAA and member schools, USA Basketball, WNBA and other organizations participated. From left: the NCAA’s Anucha Browne; the Big East’s Val Ackerman; Division I Women’s Basketball Committee chair Carolayne Henry; University of Hartford’s Jen Rizzotti; and ESPN’s Rosalyn Durant.

Ready for ‘Draft Day’

At the “Draft Day” movie premiere April 7 in Los Angeles, NFL Network host Dan Hellie, NFL Network analyst Willie McGinest, and Alex Riethmiller, NFL vice president of communications.

Green machine

Austin Dillon, driver of the No. 3 Dow Chevrolet; Miss Sprint Cup Madison Martin; and Michael Lynch, NASCAR vice president of green innovation, pose for a photo after launching the second annual NASCAR Race to Green initiative at Martinsville Speedway on March 28 in Martinsville, Va.

Award winners at UMass

The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the Isenberg School of Management, UMass Amherst, announced the winners of the 2014 Harold J. VanderZwaag Distinguished Alumnus Award. From left: Jeff Price of Acorn Sports Ventures; award winner John Martin, MS ’91, managing director for NASCAR Digital; and Glenn Wong of the Isenberg School of Management. Not pictured are award winners Pam Batalis, MS ’92, general manager, Learfield Sports at UMass Amherst; David Wright, MS ’99, senior vice president at Major League Soccer; and Howard Nuchow, BS ’92, CAA Sports.

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.

The Boston Red Sox didn’t become world champions by taking it easy. So when Opening Day 2014 arrived, they used the pregame ceremony not only to award World Series rings to their players, but also to recognize survivors of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, the city’s Fire Department (two of its members were killed fighting a fire in March), the old and new mayors and previous Boston championship teams, among others. We followed the team’s executive vice president and senior adviser to the president/CEO, Dr. Charles Steinberg, and Sarah McKenna, vice president of fan services and entertainment, as they made sure the season’s first pregame was championship caliber.

                                                                                                      All photos by Michael Malyszko

Click on any photo to begin slide show

Despite having a say in the personnel moves of the New York Yankees as pro scouting manager, Will Kuntz made the surprising jump to Major League Soccer as director of player relations. “Just looking at the last 12 years, the league has grown so much,” Kuntz said. “It’s totally different.” Kuntz spoke with staff writer Bryan Ives.

Age: 30
New title: Director of player relations, MLS
Previous title: Pro scouting manager, New York Yankees
First job: Summer camp counselor
College education: Williams College, 2006
Resides: Dumbo, Brooklyn
Grew up: Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
Executive most admired: Brian Cashman
Brand most admired: New York Yankees
Favorite vacation spot: Buenos Aires, Argentina
 Last book read: “Siddhartha”
Last movie seen: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Favorite movie: “Casablanca”
Favorite musician/band: Miles Davis.

What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
Acquainting myself with the rules of a new sport. Really having to learn the letter of the law by the collective-bargaining agreement and really working through a new industry and new set of rules, new timetables, new player transaction rules.

What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
Leaving the Yankees, but at the same time I don’t view it as risky. I view it more as unusual because very few people leave the Yankees, especially for positions outside of baseball.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
I think just being a part of our pro scouting staff in 2009 as we put together the postseason advanced reports for the Angels and the Phillies and just the level of detail that went into it. … It had a level of commitment and focus that I thought was very rare. It’s not the kind of thing you see over 162 games in the regular season and even really in the first round of the playoffs, which is the division series. Once you get to the championship series and the World Series, it’s just an amazing level of detail.

What career advice do you have for people wanting to get into the sports industry?
It sounds cliché, but don’t ever stop. I never stopped trying and I got very lucky in that I wrote one letter [to George Steinbrenner] and that turned into a job. … You’re going to hear “no” a lot more than you’re going to hear “yes” and it’ll feel disheartening and like you’re not making any headway, but at the same time, if you just keep on pushing — and that goes for once you’re working for a club or league also.

What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
I think really the growth of [Major League Soccer]. It’s actually a watershed moment for MLS. … The crowds have become much more sophisticated and not just in a way that emulates Europe. I think it’s sophisticated in a very organic and real way. These fan bases of these teams are really starting to establish their own identities, and that’s what I see from the sidelines.

What is the one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
This rapid rush to define everything instantly. … I think a lot of what gets lost in it is the casual enjoyment of competition. I grew up a Mets fan, so those teams were often terrible, but it was still great. You could still talk about the finer points of the team or the game without having to really decide whether it was a good or bad game.


What I Like …

An influential person in my career: Al Cappucci, who begged me to join a firm on Wall Street, which led to my starting a business.

An out-of-the-box idea: If you can help people understand what they are capable of achieving on a personal level, you open incredible opportunities for them to live a better life.

A missed business deal: I missed the opportunity to buy 10 percent of Vitaminwater and I blew it — it would have made me $500 million. So instead I kept working for a living and eventually built a career in obstacle racing.   

A sports facility: My favorite has to be Reebok headquarters in Canton, Mass., because that’s where we have a Spartan course, a collection of running tracks, and a CrossFit gym I visit whenever we have partnership meetings.

A hire: My best hires are the ones that last. I don’t pull any punches — if they last with me, they must be great.

Joe De Sena
CEO and co-founder
Spartan Race

Where I'm from: Queens, N.Y. Currently reside in Pittsfield, Vt.
Where I Went to School: Cornell University. Graduated with a bachelor of science degree from the College of Human Ecology.
My First Job: Selling fireworks in Queens, N.Y., at the age of 9
A brand: Apple, because they just get it right, from innovation to design. They think it through completely and nail it on every single detail.

A fantasy job: Working every day under a master in martial arts in their native country — in Japan in a traditional aikido studio, or in China in a traditional kung fu studio.

What I Like about …

Obstacle racing: I love people emailing me who say we changed their lives. They met their partners, they lost 300 pounds, they’re eating better, sleeping better and having more sex.

Sports media: NBC Sports is my favorite way to keep up with participatory sports. I’m partial to that network because they believed in us by committing to the first network coverage of obstacle racing last fall.

What I Would Like To …

See more of in the sports business: More focus on participatory sports. We’re creating a nation of bystanders, and that’s got to stop.

See less of in sports: Less drugs of all types..

What I Don’t Like …

Pet peeve: Laziness.

In business: Lack of commitment.


What I Like …

That would surprise those who know me: That I can eat a pint of Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream in a single cab ride. I allow myself about 12 pints a year.   

Heroes: Russell Crowe in “Gladiator,” Mel Gibson in “Braveheart,” Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi.

Athletes: Spectator sports aren’t my thing, but if pushed, I admire Muhammad Ali and MMA fighter Johny Hendricks.

Team: I don’t have a favorite sports team because, well, I just don’t go through life as a spectator.

Cities: Bath, England, because of the cold, gray, awesome stonework on the buildings there. You can visualize how many hours people put in to create it. Charlevoix, Quebec: It’s cold, lonely and beautiful.

Possession: My Death Race hoodie from Pittsfield, Vt., which is about eight years old. I wear it pretty much every day.

Time of year: Fall, because it’s the calm before the winter. I love getting ready for the hardship of winters in central Vermont.

Bono of U2
Memento: A piece of stone I took from the Great Wall of China 20 years ago. I’m amazed about the commitment of millions of Chinese who built a structure that can be seen from the moon.

Music: U2. It reminds me of four hard years I spent at Cornell when I started listening to them. It brings back memories of college, when I had no money, no TV, no 500 emails a day, no cellphone, just a futon on the floor. It was pretty liberating.

Author: Ayn Rand.

Magazines: Outside magazine and Runner’s World, because they focus on what humans can achieve if they set their minds to it.

Books: Besides my own book, “Spartan Up!” which is coming

out this spring, my favorite book is “Atlas Shrugged,” by Ayn Rand. I’m a big believer in capitalism.

Gadgets: My Apple Airbook. I can’t believe how light it is; it helps me answer over 500 emails a day.

Apps: I don’t have any apps that I use. We’re working on a Spartan Race app, so I’m sure I’ll start using that one.

Chores: Chopping wood and sweating through burpees. Between the two of them, that’s all you need to stay in shape.

Movie: I loved “Batman Begins” (2005) — it’s the best Batman film of all time. It was an authentic performance by Christian Bale on the origins of the character.  

TV show: Best show of all time: “Breaking Bad.”

Concerts: U2 or Dave Matthews.

Artist: Bono.

Food: Besides Häagen-Dazs, it would be rice and vegetables.

Drink: Just water. Plain Pittsfield, Vt., tap water.

Scent: Wood burning in a chimney in the fall.

Vacation spots: Necker Island, where I visit as
a guest of Richard Branson once a year.

1929 Ford Model A pickup at Riverside Farms
Cars: 1960 International Harvester pickup truck and 1929 Ford Model A pickup. We use them frequently for wedding photography for guests at Riverside Farms in Pittsfield, our wedding and event facility in Central Vermont.  

Quote: “If you’re going through hell, keep going,” Winston Churchill.