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Volume 21 No. 22

People and Pop Culture

Baseball

The Milwaukee Brewers hired Octavio Castro as vice president of human resources. Castro was vice president of human resources at Marquette University.

 

The Texas Rangers named Neil Leibman chief operating officer. Leibman will continue to serve as chairman of the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation.

 

Basketball

The Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena hired David Garcia as vice president of guest experience. Garcia was director of fan experience for AMB Sports & Entertainment.

 

The Charlotte Hornets hired Mitch Kupchak as president of basketball operations and general manager. Kupchak was formerly general manager for the Los Angeles Lakers.

 

Colleges

The American Athletic Conference hired Bryan Platt as supervisor of football officials.

 

Arkansas State University promoted Carlos McCants to assistant athletic director for development and lettermen relations, and hired Liz Woidt as associate director of development. Woidt was assistant director for the Seahawk Club at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

 

The University of California, Berkeley, hired Jim Knowlton as athletic director. Knowlton was athletic director at the United States Air Force Academy.

 

The University of California, Riverside, hired Wes Mallette as senior associate athletic director for external relations. Mallette was vice president of communications for Pac-12 Networks.

 

George Washington University named Tanya Vogel athletic director. Vogel was serving as interim athletic director.

 

The University of Maryland promoted Matt Monroe to associate athletic director for annual giving and ticket operations, and hired Laura Chiriaco as executive director of the M Club and director of alumni engagement. Chiriaco was an account specialist for Discovery Communications.

 

The University of North Carolina Wilmington promoted Adam Fearing to director of development for athletics.

 

Facilities

Microsoft Theater and L.A. Live promoted Don Graham to Microsoft Theater general manager, Russell Gordon to Microsoft Theater vice president and assistant general manager, Maria Fulay to senior director of box office and ticketing, Shelby Russell to senior vice president for L.A. Live marketing and L.A. Live Cinemas, Ryan Golden to vice president for L.A. Live events, Sean Otrakul to manager for L.A. Live marketing and Morgan Helsom to assistant manager for L.A. Live marketing.

 

Oak View Group hired Dan Shell as head of its new college-focused division. 

 

Golf

The PGA of America has named Loritz Clark manager of the PGA Minority Collegiate Championship.

 

Marketing

Creative Artists Agency promoted Rachel Feucht to executive in CAA hockey, Kirsten Polley to agent in CAA’s sports media and news department, Bernard Tyler to executive in CAA brand consulting and Kiran Vora to executive in CAA sports property sales.

 

Freaks 4U Gaming hired Marco Niemann as head of new business and strategy. Niemann was head of global sponsorship for Turtle Entertainment.

 

Learfield promoted Britt Oligschlaeger to vice president and Missouri Valley Conference market director, Landon Day to vice president and Big Sky market director and Tony Soares to vice president and Big West market director. Mike Haake was hired as vice president and Texas market director.

 

POV Sports Marketing hired Katie Rose Thornton as vice president of strategy and account management and Jennifer Conger as client services specialist.

 

Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment hired Glen Schorr as general manager at Towson University, Jesse Whalen as director of sales at Georgia State University and Levi McDaniel as an account executive at Samford University.

 

Motorsports

McLaren promoted Zak Brown to chief executive officer for its Formula One team and Jonathan Neale to chief operating officer for the McLaren Group.

 

Tennis

Western & Southern Open Chief Executive Officer Elaine Bruening retired. 

 

Awards and Boards

Bandwagon named Carri Allen Jones to its board of advisers.

 

Other

ANC named Taylor Khan communications administrator and Adam Beizer financial analyst.

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 careers@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Electronic photos must be a jpg or tiff file for Macintosh, 2.25 inches wide at 300 dpi. Color only, please.
Steve Martin at the Spectrum Center during pregame warmups.
Photo: courtesy of the charlotte hornets

Charlotte NBA fans will have some adjusting to do next season, as longtime Hornets broadcaster Steve Martin’s voice will not be heard for the first time in 30 years. Martin, who has called games on both radio and TV since the team’s founding (missing only two or three), is retiring after 50 years in broadcasting. Martin got his start in radio at age 15, running the board at WMKR in his hometown of Millinocket, Maine, working 77 straight days to start his career. He came to Charlotte in 1982 and eventually landed the role as voice of the expansion Hornets, staying with them even as they moved to New Orleans in 2002. Martin also called ACC football and basketball for Raycom Sports and relocated back to Charlotte when the Bobcats were founded in 2004.  Martin talked to SportsBusiness Daily’s Josh Carpenter about his  career in media and what’s next.


On the job for his final home game on April 8.
Photo: courtesy of the charlotte hornets

Ever since I was 5 or 6 years old I had an interest in the sports media, especially in radio. I thought the path would be Millinocket to Bangor to Portland and then I would wind up in Boston and that would be it, I’d be the midday guy at WBZ. But it didn’t work out that way. I got a job offer in Augusta [Ga.] that I didn’t take. I interviewed in Syracuse to call basketball and football and didn’t get it. So I responded to an ad in a trade magazine — WBT in Charlotte wanted somebody.

I was hired in Charlotte in 1982, and the NBA was the furthest thing from anybody’s mind. That time period wouldn’t be the total height of ACC basketball, but it would be its second coming. You could go to downtown Charlotte at noon on the opening day of the ACC Tournament and you wouldn’t see a soul. 

At center court for a jersey retirement ceremony with broadcaster and former player Dell Curry.
Photo: courtesy of the charlotte hornets

I had been in Charlotte about three years and some things happened, and I was getting ready to call and get my old job back. And the phone rang, and the guy on the other end was Tony Renaud, who was at WMAL in Washington and was coming down to be the general manager at WBT. He came down and told me of his plans with the station. There was just starting to be talk in the market of the NBA. Tony said if that happens, we’re going to get the NBA, and you’re going to be the guy. WBT being a 50,000-watt blowtorch, that naturally was going to be the front-runner. 

We got to opening night, Nov. 4, 1988, and we’re playing the Cleveland Cavaliers. And we got beat by 40. We had everybody dress in a tux, all the staff did. And half the fans did, too. And a strange thing happened that kind of proved the NBA was right, as were George Shinn and Max Muhleman. As the game was winding down, everybody in the arena, 24,000 people, everyone stood and applauded. A standing ovation for the final minute of the game, and we’re getting beat by 40. And they kept at it. That was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. That told me that the decision by the NBA to move a team here was right. 

With two-time All-Star Kelly Tripucka, who played for the Hornets from 1988-91.
Photo: courtesy of the charlotte hornets

George took on a partner, Ray Wooldridge, I try to forget his name. He gathered the TV and radio people together before a game in Detroit and said he was having a meeting the next day with Charlotte City Council. He said tomorrow is not gonna be a good day. He didn’t say why, but said to be prepared. He was right. The next day he trotted into City Council and said we needed a new arena and they needed to pay for it. That pretty much ended it. You could hear doors slam all over town. When the team left, I was troubled by it. I thought, yeah, we had some problems where the owner got into some problems in areas where none of us would ever venture. But the franchise itself had delivered this promise. Fortunately the team wanted me to continue, so I went along to New Orleans.

With mascot Hugo in the early Hornets days.
Photo: courtesy of the charlotte hornets

When the Bobcats were founded it was a natural move for me to come back here. There were people involved in this new organization that Bob Johnson had put together. One by the name of Tom Ward. He had a lot of faith in my work. He sought me out in New Orleans and asked if I would entertain the idea of coming back to Charlotte. We started talking and the next thing you know I’m headed back. 

The thing I’ll miss the most is that when the ball goes up in the air at the start of the game, that’s when I’m in my own world. The thing I like about radio is that baskets aren’t good until I say they are, so the audience pretty much hangs on what I’m talking about, and I like that. That’s the appeal of it. Television, you’re kind of like an usher. 

We’re going to do whatever my wife Debbie wants to do. We’re going to be here in Charlotte eight months of the year, and in the summer we’ll go to Maine. The family owns a little camp up there on a nice lake. I’ve been in broadcasting for 50 years and the NBA for 30, so I touched all the bases, and my wife was still married to me. We’ve been married 42 years — she claims it’s only 21 because I’ve been gone half the time.

Josh Carpenter writes for sister publication SportsBusiness Daily