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Volume 20 No. 46

People and Pop Culture

The Arizona Diamondbacks promoted Matt Helmeid to special projects and brand development director and named John Krazit baseball operations data analyst.

The independent Can-Am League’s New Jersey Jackals named Ryan Moore group sales representative.

The Cleveland Indians promoted Court Berry-Tripp to assistant director of baseball information.

The Pittsburgh Pirates named Drew Cloud executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer. Cloud was vice president in the team marketing and business operations division of the NBA.

Tulane University named Barbara Burke deputy athletic director and chief operating officer, effective in late April. Burke was athletic director at Eastern Illinois University.

Florida A&M University named Kellen Winslow Sr. athletic director.

New Mexico State University named Fred Heinrich associate athletic director for development and Suzanne Rosell director of sponsorship and sales.

Troy University named Steve Stroud senior associate athletic director for external affairs, Hannah Mason assistant director of development for special events, Steve Sikes general manager of Troy Sports Properties and Jessica Lynch account executive for Troy Sports Properties.


Daytona International Speedway promoted David Strahan to senior director of sales.

BMO Harris Bradley Center named Doug Johnson booking director. Johnson is co-founder of Pursuit Live, a Milwaukee-area talent agency.

Delaware North Cos. Sportservice named Donald Versace senior director and general manager of TD Garden.

Global Spectrum named Shashank Gairola general manager of Florida State University’s Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. Gairola was general manager of SpiritBank Event Center in Tulsa, Okla.


The Indianapolis Colts named Amy Waymire community relations assistant.

The Buffalo Bills named Alexandra Vitale multimedia reporter. Vitale was a multimedia journalist and weekend anchor at WTVN-TV in Columbus, Ga.

PGA Country Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla., named Holly Taylor general manager. Taylor was director of the PGA Center for Golf Learning & Performance at PGA Village.

The Tampa Bay Lightning promoted Steve Griggs to president of the Lightning and Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Hockey Canada president and chief executive officer Bob Nicholson will step down, effective June 1.

CAA Sports promoted Jordan Harnsberger to executive.

Team One promoted Jamie Elliott to account supervisor for experiential marketing. The marketing company also named Dylan Bohanan and Courtney Muller account coordinators for experiential marketing.

Huddle Up Group, a sports tourism and events industry consulting firm, named Trevor Rhodes partner. Rhodes was sponsor director at the BolderBoulder road race.

Havas Sports & Entertainment named Bruno Baracho managing director for the company’s office in São Paulo, Brazil. Baracha led new business development and strategic client accounts with 9ine Sports & Entertainment.


ESPN executive vice president and chief technology officer Chuck Pagano will retire, effective in February. Aaron LaBerge, senior vice president of technology and product development at ESPN, will succeed Pagano.

Bleacher Report named Scott Miller national baseball columnist. Miller was a baseball writer for

British Telecommunications named Delia Bushell managing director of BT TV and Sport, effective in July. Bushell was chief commercial officer at Sky Italia. named Jon Solomon a national college football writer. Solomon was an enterprise reporter for The Birmingham News.

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 Class AAA Charlotte Knights opened their new stadium, BB&T Ballpark, to big crowds during the weekend of April 11-13.

Charlotte’s uptown skyline dominates the view from the stands.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Charlotte Knights owner Don Beaver

A young fan gets a field-level view.

Carolina Panthers President Danny Morrison (in tie) and Charlotte Bobcats President Fred Whitfield

Taking in the game from an outfield berm

Fans gather in the Diamonds Direct Luxury Lounge.

The new ballpark holds 10,200.

Honoring Richardson

Honoring former Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson (second from left) at Dallas’ African American Museum: Arkansas coach Mike Anderson, the NCAA’s Bernard Franklin, Harry Robinson of the museum and the NCAA’s Kimberly Ford.
Photo by: NCAA

Taking in the title game

At the NCAA men’s basketball national championship game April 7 in Arlington, Texas: Ron Furman of Westwood One; John Tatum of Genesco Sports, former President George W. Bush and Al Carey of PepsiCo Beverages.
Photo by: M. SNYDER

Ready for duty in Arizona

Holding the “golden shovel” April 15 as part of the first tree planting event leading up to next year’s Super Bowl: Jay Parry of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, the NFL’s Jack Groh, and Christine Gonzales of the host committee.

Frozen in time

2014 NCAA Frozen Four officials gathered at center ice of the Wells Fargo Center before the national championship game April 12 between Minnesota and Union College. From left: Steve Hagwell, Matt Homan, Kristin Fasbender, Jim Knowlton, Kevin McGinniss, John Page and Mike Sulkes.

Bulls welcome sponsors to summit

The Chicago Bulls held their inaugural Sponsor Summit at the United Center on April 10 with nearly 100 representatives from the team’s corporate partners. From left: the Bulls’ Michael Reinsdorf, Ron Lofton of the Black McDonald’s Operators Association, the NBA’s Mark Tatum, BMO Financial Group’s Gillian Fraser and Athletico Physical Therapy’s Carol Czaplicki.

Bowling for sponsors with the Nets

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (left) participated in a Q&A with ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell (center) at the Brooklyn Nets/Barclays Center Partner Summit at Brooklyn Bowl on April 9. Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark hosted the event.

Masters pre-party

Izod and Golf Digest hosted a party at the Pinnacle Experience Hospitality Bistro in Augusta, Ga., April 9 on the eve of the Masters. From left: Mike Kelly, Ken Duane and Manny Chirico of Izod parent PVH Corp., football hall of famer and Van Heusen endorser Jerry Rice, Golf Digest’s Pete Hunsinger, PVH’s Marc Schneider and Gary Sheinbaum of Tommy Hilfiger. Van Heusen and Tommy Hilfiger are also PVH brands.

Conversation with Scheer

Longtime sports executive Carl Scheer stopped by to discuss the industry with members of the SportsBusiness Journal/Daily staff April 8 in Charlotte.

Magic’s first hall of famers

Magic CEO Alex Martins with inaugural members of the team’s hall of fame: Nick Anderson, the team’s original draft pick and now a community ambassador, and Pat Williams, co-founder and senior VP, at a ceremony April 9.

Salute to Leonsis

Ted Leonsis, founder and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tech Council of Maryland on April 8 in Bethesda. With Leonsis is son Zach, manager of business development at Monumental, who introduced his father at the event.

CSN Mid-Atlantic celebrates

Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic celebrated its 30th anniversary April 3. CSN Mid-Atlantic President Rebecca O’Sullivan Schulte poses with original Home Team Sports GM Bill Aber.

Ridge takes tournament role

Tom Ridge (left), honorary chairman of the Constellation Senior Players Championship this year, was in Pittsburgh for a luncheon April 9. With him is tournament Executive Director Joe Rotellini.
Photo by: PGA TOUR

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 Western Collegiate Hockey Association recently named former Minnesota Wild executive Bill Robertson its next men’s hockey commissioner.

Robertson, 53, was one of the Wild’s first employees when he started there in 1998. He served as the club’s vice president of communications and broadcasting for 11 years before leaving the team in July 2011. He previously held communications roles for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Anaheim Ducks.

He’s been working at Bloomington, Minn.-based public relations firm Tunheim Partners, where he has worked with clients such as Minnesota United FC and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

“[The WCHA] has a great history and rich tradition, and I hope to enhance that. … There’s still an education process with all of this realignment [in college hockey],” Robertson said. “We have to do a really good job of making sure people know who’s in the WCHA conference on the men’s side.”

The WCHA, a Division I conference, comprises Alabama Huntsville, Alaska, Alaska Anchorage, Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan on the men’s side. The University of Minnesota was formerly a member of the conference, but it split off this past season to join the Big Ten’s new hockey conference.

Robertson said he is planning to heighten the WCHA’s profile by increasing its media platforms and sponsorship revenue, and by making “the conference tournament a destination for college hockey fans again.”

Additionally, he will explore options regarding the future location of the WCHA offices. The conference now has its main office in Denver but has about a half-dozen people spread across multiple cities.

Robertson said he might move the conference’s offices from Denver to Minnesota.

“We want to make sure we’re doing what’s best to serve the conference’s needs, and part of that is the idea of putting it in a major media market,” said Robertson, a St. Paul native. “The Twin Cities is an ideal location for that.”

As commissioner, Robertson replaces Bruce McLeod, who is retiring after 20 years at the helm of the WCHA.

Robertson’s first day will be May 1.

John Vomhof Jr. writes for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, an affiliated publication.

Pat Dye Jr. became an NFL player agent after growing up in a football household. The son of former Auburn and College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye, he started representing players 27 years ago and founded his own agency, SportsTrust Advisors (formerly ProFiles Sports), 20 years ago. Sports-Trust Advisors now represents 70 players on active NFL rosters, including DeMarcus Ware, Geno Atkins, Ryan Clady, Ryan Tannehill and Eddie Lacy.

In this day and age of creating a brand, leveraging a brand, I think the Hollywood talent agencies and the people in that business are somewhat intrigued by our space, and I think that is what is generating this new round of consolidation.

On NFL players today: One of the biggest changes is with modern technology and social media, I think players are much more brand aware. Creating their brand, protecting their brand, promoting their brand and looking for people who can help them leverage their brand is probably the biggest change.

On NFL general managers: There has been a change in the overall dynamic of general managers. There’s been a gravitation to more of a business bent. You have guys who historically would not have been general managers because they were not necessarily big-time personnel evaluators. … When I came into this business, the only people who were general managers were lifelong scouts who paid their dues.

On new agents: There has been a lot of what I would say are relatively inexperienced and relatively unestablished agents that are signing top clients that a lot of the top, established agencies are recruiting. And I don’t know what is causing that, but it is just fascinating to see some of the decisions that are being made by top players, by top-15, top-20 picks, going with agents who have never had a first-round draft pick. … That’s a head-turn, because it used to be you’d look at the first round, there would be maybe a couple of players who would have picked an agent, and you are like, “Huh?” And the rest of them would go to people who had been around a long time and had a lot of first-round picks.

On agency consolidation: We went through this same cycle it seems like back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. … We have been through this cycle before and we are going through it again.

On selling his business: We have been approached on multiple occasions. … Some are pretty established firms. Some of them want us to merge, some are interested in acquisition. It is something candidly that — me and my firm have been so busy and focused on trying to build our business, it is not something that we have turned our sights on yet.

— Liz Mullen

    Members of the sports industry gathered to salute the 2014 Champions class during a luncheon at last month’s IMG World Congress of Sports in Dana Point, Calif.
    Three were present, while Chris Ilitch stood in for father Mike and two others delivered remarks by video.
    What follows are excerpts from their remarks about lessons, struggles, triumphs and those who helped along the way — all of the things that helped make them Champions.

Photos by Tony Florez Photography


   This is a lady that started at 12 years old in a little town in Louisiana — Opelousas, La. — and I got in the business because a gentleman wouldn’t let me play Little League baseball and I said, “This is just not fair.” You know Barbara Mandrell’s song that she was country before it was cool. … Well, I was a tomboy before it was cool for women to compete, and what a career. What an opportunity to give women that opportunity. I’ve spent my career in helping women compete at the highest level. All of us are in sports here and we understand the importance of sports. To me, to be successful you have to be competitive, and I think sports is a great way to teach you to be competitive.
   My favorite Bible verse is Luke 12:48, and it says, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” I expect to take this award and continue to give back, because I believe it’s important that we give back.


   I first peered into a television camera and talked into a microphone for money Labor Day weekend 1964 at KTBC-TV, the television station in Austin, owned by President and Mrs. [Lyndon] Johnson. … There have been a lot of highs and a lot of lows, some bumps and some bruises, a few selected side trips …
   I’ve tried to deal with the bleak periods with perseverance, with the real highs without gloating, to be kind and understanding to my friends, my colleagues, my family, to treat all of them with dignity and respect, to understand that the game really is the thing and to realize that sports television, when it’s done well, is the ultimate collaborative endeavor.

CHRIS ILITCH (on behalf of Mike Ilitch)

   He’s fortunate enough to have the opportunity to own two teams in his hometown. The town where he grew up, where he played baseball in the minor leagues, where he and my mother raised a family of seven children, where the two of them opened their first Little Caesars pizza restaurant, a hometown that they care an awful lot about.
   When my dad sat down … for his interview about this award he said, “I look at me and Detroit as one. The city is like a family member to me,” and he really means that. My father sees what pro sports teams and the world-class venues for those teams does for the folks in his town of Detroit. Competitive teams that are title contenders give the fans a sense of community pride. Just like having a child hit a home run or score a goal, it fills a parent with pride.  …
   My father said he’s not afraid to use the word love. He doesn’t think it makes him look soft or weak, because he loves to win, but more than winning, I would say he loves his family, he loves the people that work for him, he loves his community and he loves his city.


   I came into the NBA in 1958, played for the Cincinnati Royals for eight years and then was traded to the Boston Celtics. And there, probably the greatest inspiration for me as a player, but also I carried on into the front office, was Red Auerbach. [He said] to win — to be a champion — intelligence, character and talent, in that order, will help you become a champion, and so I carried that into my management when I became general manager of the Bucks and then Cleveland.
   I’ll finish by telling you what I tell our players every fall at the beginning of training camp. First, we want to win, right? We’re here to win, and to win you must first compete. Second is that you must comply with disciplines. Self-discipline and disciplines imposed by the team. And third is you’ve got to get along with your teammates and that means respect, and I go into respect and the fact that you must respect sports, respect the game that you are playing, respect your coaches, ownership, respect your fans, sponsors, all the various constituents.


   I get a question all the time. Javelin? Why the javelin? Well, I actually loved baseball, but unfortunately my range as a pitcher was dugout to dugout and I hit more guys than I ever pitched to. But if you have a good arm you can go somewhere. …
   We hired some great teams [at Gatorade] and I’m thoroughly proud of the fact that the individuals we hired and were on our staff have also gone on … to name a few, Tom Fox, Jeff Price, Greg Via and Scott Paddock. I’m extremely proud of them for what they’ve accomplished. In addition to that … I wanted to recognize an individual also who not only provided me with competition and companionship throughout my life as well as discipline and desire and dedication throughout … my twin brother, who couldn’t be here today.
   I do want to say that the path that I’ve taken is unique. From a coal-mining town of 80 people in Western Pennsylvania, but you learn that grit and that hard work ethic, and it stayed with me.


   I get to make a living doing the two things I love the most outside of my family and that’s selling cars and racing cars. I really owe that to my parents. They are my real heroes. Thirty years ago we went racing at Hendrick Motorsports with five employees. Looking back, it’s hard to believe it’s even possible. Since the beginning, I believed that any team or company was great because of the talent, hard work and passion of its people and I still believe it.
   Now we have more than 500 employees at Hendrick Motorsports and 10,000 in our organization. I go to bed every night thinking about those families and how we can keep getting better. They’re our extended family. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the years, but I’ve always said that we’re going to win together and we’re going to lose together, but whatever we do, we’re going to do it together. We’ve managed to do that for 30 years at Hendrick Motorsports and of everything the organization has accomplished, that’s the thing I’m most proud of.