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Volume 22 No. 8

People and Pop Culture

Photo: Getty Images



The deal to sell the Columbus Crew to a group led by the Haslam family and the Edwards family was finalized, and credit goes to all involved — local leaders, a “Save The Crew” fan group and the league office — that ensured one of MLS’s founding teams will stay put with the first local ownership in its 23-year history.


Photo: AP Images


Tough Talk

Stars CEO Jim Lites took the rare, unfortunate tact of publicly and profanely ripping star players, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, calling their play “f---ing horse----.” It drew a strong rebuke from the NHLPA, and is not the ideal way to start a year that will focus largely on the relationship between labor and management.


Photo: Getty Images


Change of Plans

Susanna Dinnage, who was set to become one of the most powerful women in sports, surprisingly decided not to become the Premier League’s new CEO, sending its board back to the search process, with critics questioning the selection process.

Octagon Bowl

Graduate students and faculty from the McCormack Department of Sport Management join Octagon executives who served as judges for presentations at Octagon offices in Stamford, Conn., for UMass Amherst’s annual experiential learning-based Octagon Bowl.
Photo: McCormack Department


Tennis partnership

USTA and Tennis Channel executives celebrate their partnership at the opening of a new broadcast facility Dec. 20 at the USTA Lake Nona facility in Orlando. From left: Tennis Channel host Brett Haber; USTA CRO Lew Sherr; Martin Blackman, GM, USTA Player Development; Tennis Channel analyst Jim Courier; Tennis Channel SVP Bob Whyley; and USTA Executive Director and CEO Gordon Smith.
Photo: Tennis Channel


Hockey Hall of Fame

The Class of 2018 was formally enshrined into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Dec. 12 before a capacity crowd in Nashville. Enshrinees included Red Berenson, Natalie Darwitz, David Poile and Paul Stewart. Hago Harrington was inducted posthumously.
Photo: John Russell / USA Hockey


Lacrosse leaders

Major League Lacrosse Commissioner Sandy Brown and National League Lacrosse Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz caught up Dec. 15 at the first game in the inaugural season for the Philadelphia Wings at Wells Fargo Center.
Photo: Major League Lacrosse


Staff appreciation

Philadelphia Eagles executive leadership — SVP and CFO Frank Gumienny, SVP of operations Jason Miller and President Don Smolenski — handed out Dunkin’ Donuts on Gameday Staff Appreciation Day to workers around Lincoln Financial Field during the team’s final regular-season home game on Dec. 23.
Photo: Hunter Martin / Philadelphia Eagles


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 Arizona Diamondbacks promoted NONA LEE to executive vice president.

The Class AAA Pacific Coast League Omaha Storm Chasers promoted ANDREW ASBURY to marketing and promotions manager; SCOTT POPP to video and multimedia coordinator; NICK SANDBERG to promotions and game operations manager; CORY LIVINGSTON to client services manager; SCOTT ROWEDDER to head groundskeeper; and TOM WALTER to grounds manager. The team also hired ZACH ZILER as group sales manager; STEPHEN MAYES as group ticket sales executive; MICHAEL MCCOY as ticket operation assistant; LAURA WARNOCK as human resources manager; MITCH CUNNINGHAM as retail operations coordinator; and LAUREN KIRK as creative services manager.


The National Basketball Association promoted ORIS STUART to executive vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer.


The Carolina Panthers hired MARK HART as vice president of development. Hart was vice president of business and development for the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Esports team Immortals named founder NOAH WHINSTON executive chairman and ARI SEGAL chief executive officer.


The PGA of America promoted JIMMY TERRY to senior director of PGA Golf Properties and JEREMY WIERNASZ to general manager and director of golf operations for the PGA Golf Club.


The Columbus Blue Jackets promoted KATHRYN DOBBS to senior vice president and chief marketing officer, J.D. KERSHAW to vice president of operations and development and BRETT DYMEK to season ticket account specialist; and hired JEFF LESKO as director of new business development, NATE BELL as manager of new business development, COURTNEY CRUM as group sales coordinator, MARK KIJOWSKI as group event specialist, SARAH PAGE as ticket sales and service coordinator, WYATT BAMFIELD as ticket operations coordinator, BRITTANY ANDREWS as season ticket account specialist and STEVEN WILHELM
as group event specialist.

The Philadelphia Flyers hired BRENT FLAHR as vice president and assistant general manager. Flahr was senior vice president of hockey operations for the Minnesota Wild.


Collegiate Sports Management Group promoted KELLY CLINE to strategic marketing and event planning associate.


The Big Ten Network named FRANCOIS MCGILLICUDDY president. McGillicuddy was senior vice president and general manager for Fox Sports Ohio and SportsTime Ohio.

Multiteam Companies

Comcast Spectacor hired VALERIE CAMILLO as president of business operations for the Philadelphia Flyers and Wells Fargo Center. Camillo was chief revenue and marketing officer for the Washington Nationals.

The Madison Square Garden Co. hired GERALDINE CALPIN as executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Calpin was chief marketing officer for Europe and Australia for WeWork.


The Canadian Olympic Committee named DAVID SHOEMAKER chief executive officer and secretary general, effective Jan. 7. Shoemaker was formerly chief executive officer for NBA China.


USL League One North Texas Soccer Club named MATT DENNY general manager. Denny was director of group ticket sales for FC Dallas.

USL League One Orlando City B hired OGUCHI ONYEWU as sporting director.

USL League One FC Tucson named JON PEARLMAN director of soccer operations.

Awards and Boards

The National Basketball Players Association Foundation named RAY ALLEN to its board of directors.

Haymon Sports named BRETT YORMARK, BSE Global chief executive officer, to lead its newly established advisory board.


The American Gaming Association hired BILL MILLER as president and chief executive officer, effective Jan. 14. 

ANC named REBECCA LEE experiential designer.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency hired ADAM WOULLARD as director of communications and SKIP GILBERT
as managing director of operations, marketing and development.

BodyArmor named BRENT HASTIE president, effective March 2019. Hastie was chief financial and supply chain officer for Coca-Cola North America.

Ironman promoted KIM AQABLI to senior vice president of finance; DIANA BERTSCH to senior vice president of world championship events; BROOKS COWAN to senior vice president of legal; and ELIZABETH O’BRIEN to senior vice president of financial planning and strategy.

Shriners Hospitals for Children hired BOB ROLLER as national director of sports marketing. Roller was athletic director at Campbell University.

Stats hired DERK OSENBERG as director of sales.

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.
Joe Namath trots off the field following the Jets’ 16-7 win over the Colts in Super Bowl III.
Photo: ap images

The New York Jets’ win over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III validated the Jets and their fledgling American Football League, paving the way for the successful merger of the AFL into the NFL.

No picture summed up the euphoria of the moment more than Jets quarterback Joe Namath running off the Orange Bowl field, his finger held aloft. Funny enough, Namath said the gesture was out of character.

“That was the only time I ever did it,” Namath said. “Times were different in the ’50s and the early ’60s. You didn’t flaunt victory. You know you jumped up and down, you hugged each other, you patted each other on the back. But we didn’t run around holding our finger in the air.”

Why did he do it then?

“The finality of having achieved that goal at that time, running off the field, and seeing all of those people ahead of me in the stands just so damn happy and me so happy. And also relieved we had done it,” he said. “It was a very relaxed statement, and yeah, we are No. 1, that’s right.”

Did he know how important that win would be?

“I just knew that if we didn’t win that one, how would we as a team and league be looked at and perceived by the rest of the sports world?” he said.

Namath has his first authorized autobiography coming out later this year, a book he admits has been a struggle to write.

“Why am I writing it? Because basically a publisher and some associates thought there was a place for it, a time for it,” he said. “I was convinced that there was interest in what I would have to say about some of life’s lessons and some of the potholes, fun times, good times.”

I just knew that if we didn’t win that one, how would we as a team and league be looked at and perceived by the rest of the sports world?

The title? That had to be pulled out of Namath grudgingly. He’s no fan of “All the Way.” The phrase is taken from a Namath quote: “If you are not going all the way, then why go at all?”

Namath said he ceded to the publisher, Little Brown, on the title. “I am not even keen on it, I hate to say it,” he said.

So where does Namath plan to spend Saturday, the 50th anniversary? As of this interview he had no great plans, having already celebrated the anniversary with members of his team at a Jets game in October against the Colts. Meanwhile, he points out why the number 12 has been so important to him, from his jersey to other key dates.

“My mother was born in 1912, my daughter Jessica was born on the 12th, my other daughter Olivia was born the 12th month,” he said. “The 12th of January is very special.”