The Sports Business Journal has revealed this year’s category of winners: Pioneers and Innovators in the Sports Business Field.Honorees include a wide range of sports veterans who have left their mark on and off the field playing field, and driving change and innovation in their respective fields. Profiles of our winners will appear starting in March.
Bowlsby has worked in college sports as an athlete and administrator for nearly 45 years, the last decade of which served as a commissioner for the Big 12 Conference. The former Northern Iowa, Iowa State and Stanford athletic director has become one of the most influential figures in college sports over the past five years, elevating the Big 12 and subsequently helping it recover from a loss to The SEC’s Oklahoma and Texas recovered.
Lawler is the ultimate tennis insider, playing the game for nearly 37 years, including the last eight as WTA president. The only female manager in men’s tennis in the late 1980s, when she was with Octagon, she continued that pioneering spirit at the WTA, helping the tour secure a lucrative WTA Finals deal with Shenzhen, China, and has spent the past two Over the years this season, the partnership with the ATP Tour has been stronger than ever.
When you hear Michaels announce the move, you know it’s a major sporting event. Michaels has been broadcasting sports since 1968 and is one of the most respected broadcasters in the industry. While Michaels has become widely known in recent years for spending a lot of time in the booth at NFL games, he’s also captured some of the biggest moments in all of sports. This included the thrill of the Miracle on Ice in 1980 (“Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”), and the 1989 World Series that kept the nation glued to their TVs when the San Francisco earthquake hit.
Pound, a former Olympian who represented Canada at the 1960 Rome Olympics, has over the past five years become one of the most influential figures in global sports. He served as President of the Canadian Olympic Committee, first President of WADA and President of the Olympic Broadcasting Service. In addition, the 80-year-old Pound has also served as the vice president of the International Olympic Committee twice, and retired last year after serving as an IOC member for 44 years.
C. Vivian Stringer
Stringer, one of the most awarded coaches in sports, retired last year after 50 years coaching the women’s basketball team. She coached for a quarter of a century at Rutgers University, which named an arena in her honor. She finished with an astounding 1,055 wins and four Final Four appearances (the first coach to do so with three different teams), and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. Off the field, she advocates for racial and gender equality in sports, coaching countless athletes to achieve their goals and transform society.
It’s impossible to document the evolution of the NBA without illuminating the impact of West, whose second act after a 14-year Hall of Fame career cemented his place among Mount Rushmore basketball executives. After becoming general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1982, West helped build a dynasty that won five NBA championships in nine years, revolutionized the game with “Showtime” basketball and elevated the league status.