Carlos Silva, CEO of World Team Tennis (WTT)



Rick talks tennis with the CEO of World Team Tennis, Carlos Silva this week. Recorded at the Racquet Sports Expo in Orlando.

Silva is planning big things for the summer, World Team Tennis season.

Silva took over the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 2019.

Prior to joining WTT, Silva served for four years as League President of the Professional Fighters League (PFL), and CEO of World Series of Fighting (WSOF). He was the architect of the turnaround at PFL with the creation of the first MMA League Format and subsequent rebrand following the sale of WSOF to a new ownership group led by Donn Davis.

“Tennis has been a cornerstone throughout my life and I look forward to working hand-in-hand with the tremendously talented men and woman at WTT to achieve our common goal of linear and digital growth and promoting WTT‘s fantastic format in 2019 and beyond,“ said Silva.

Silva launched and served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and President of NBCU‘s Universal Sports Network, and Senior Vice President (SVP) with AOL Time Warner. While at AOL he was responsible for developing AOL Sports, News, and Money into top premier digital destinations. Silva also remains as a Board Advisor for PARK LANE, the premier sports investment bank in Los Angeles, where he previously served as Partner.

His production expertise includes hundreds of live major sporting events, including a wide variety of Olympic and International Events. He holds a BS from Boston College and a MS from George Washington University. Carlos also has a passion for tennis and played for Boston College before playing on the pro tennis satellite tour.

Have a listen to Rick and Carlos.


Kyle Petty, NASCAR Broadcaster, Former Driver, Legendary Racing Family



Rick is joined for a fast-paced interview this week, by a member of the legendary NASCAR family, Kyle Petty.

Petty was in Atlanta promoting Coca-Cola, the upcoming NASCAR season and the Atlanta race, the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.

He is former stock car racing driver, and current racing commentator. He is the son of racer Richard Petty, grandson of racer Lee Petty, and father of racer Adam Petty, who was killed in a crash during practice in May 2000. Petty last drove the No. 45 Dodge Charger for Petty Enterprises, where he formerly served as CEO; his last race was in 2008.

Kyle is a delight to talk to and a wealth of information, not only about the history of NASCAR, but also about the future of NASCAR and racing technology.

Have a listen to Rick and Kyle Petty.

 

 


George Lynch, Men’s Hoops Coach at Clark Atlanta, 12-year NBA Career



Rick has the pleasure of talking to one of the classiest guys in basketball for this “Tech of Sports.”

Former North Carolina star, longtime NBAer and current Men’s Basketball Coach at NCAA DII, Clark Atlanta, George Lynch.

With the men’s DII and DIII championships also to be crowned in Atlanta this April, Lynch hopes his squad will be a part of the action. Lynch is in his second year as head coach of the Clark Atlanta University Panthers men’s basketball team.

Lynch’s squad finished 14-12 in 2018-19, 10-7 in Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play. The Panthers ranked in the top half of the SIAC in scoring offense, scoring defense, offensive and defensive rebounding, and scoring margin, and were third in turnover margin, assists-to-turnover ratio. They finished second in 3-point field goals made and free throw percentage.

Lynch spent 12 years in the NBA after being a first-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1993. A defensive force, Lynch also was the first rookie since Magic Johnson to score 30 points in a game. He played for four NBA teams during his career (L.A. Lakers, Vancouver Grizzlies, Philadelphia 76ers, and the New Orleans Hornets), playing the NBA Finals with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001. He was also a second-team All-NBA defensive player that year.

After his playing career, Lynch worked with Southern Methodist University in player training and development and ran a non-profit youth basketball organization in the Dallas area. In 2010, he joined the University of California-Irvine, first as an assistant athletic director for Community Relations and then as a strength coach for the men’s and women’s basketball programs. He served in the same capacity at SMU from 2012 to 2015 before becoming the school’s player development coach in 2015. He has been assistant coach with the Grand Rapid Drive of the NBA’s “G” League since 2017.

Lynch, a graduate of the University of North Carolina, helped lead the Tar Heels to the 1993 Atlantic Coast Conference championship, along with the NCAA National Championship where he was the Most Valuable Player of the NCAA East Regional. Lynch, a four-year letterman, was captain of the 1993 team, was on the NCAA’s All-Tournament team.


Chip Beck, PGA Tour Winner for Pitchfix



Rick is joined by PGA Tour winner and all around nice guy, Chip Beck at the 2020 PGA Show, where he was appearing again for Pitchfix.

Chip Beck is a three-time All-American at the University of Georgia. He has four victories on the PGA Tour and twenty runner-up finishes. He spent 40 weeks in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings between 1988 and 1989.

He was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He was the runner-up at the 1993 Masters Tournament, and was tied for runner-up at the 1986 and 1989 U.S. Open championships. He is also noted for his stellar play at the 1991 Ryder Cup held at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort and is a three-time Ryder Cup participant, also playing in 1989 and 1993 at The Belfry Golf & Country Club in Sutton Coldfield, England. He won the Vardon Trophy in 1988.

Beck shot a round of 59 in the third round of the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational on the Sunrise Golf Club (par 72) in Las Vegas, Nevada, one of only six players in the history of the PGA Tour ever to do so. His round included 5 pars and 13 birdies (a PGA Tour record for birdies in one round) including a three footer on the 18th hole. Beck finished tied for third in the tournament. He also shot a hole-in-one (also a double eagle) at the par-4 9th hole in the first round of the 2003 Omaha Classic, a Nationwide Tour event. It was the first in Nationwide Tour history and second recorded in the history of the PGA Tour umbrella combined. Chip also has played on the PGA Tour Champions.

Pitchfix’s new products will broaden the company’s product portfolio beyond divot tools. In addition to the Greenkeeper Pro divot repair tool, the PickCup, AquaBrush and AimPRO are going to be offered in 2020.

The Greenkeeper Pro is being reintroduced at the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show and now features a more flexible green maintenance solution for all playing surfaces. After significant on-course testing with professional greenkeepers around the world, Pitchfix has developed the Greenkeeper Pro to provide a simple but effective professional ball mark repair solution for all greens surfaces. Utilizing the company’s proprietary RepairTech pin technology, the Greenkeeper Pro is now the most complete repair tool available for professional greenkeepers and golfers alike.

The 33” Greenkeeper Pro is constructed of a rubberized handle, carbon fiber shaft and a spring loaded steel cast head with stainless steel ‘teardrop’ pins. With one push down on the handle into the ball mark, the stainless steel prongs in the head pull up, creating a level surface and a perfectly fixed ball mark without bending down.

The Greenkeeper Pro comes in a two-pack with each tool designed for varying degrees of green hardness.

PickCup is a device designed to improve the efficiency of removing golf balls from the cup while maintaining the integrity of the grass surrounding the hole.

The creation of PickCup is in large part a result of the new R&A and USGA rule that now allows flagsticks to remain in the hole while putting a ball from on the green. Many golfers, when removing the ball from the cup, will insert their hand or putter between the flag stick and the edge of the hole, creating damage to the hole edges. This causes the greenkeeper to move the hole around the green, creating extra repair and maintenance work.

The PickCup solution, easy to install and replace, has a soft edge to protect the grass around the hole and easily fits on any flagstick. PickCup helps improve speed of play, eliminates damage to the edge of the hole, reduces the need for new pin placements and eliminates the requirement to bend over to the retrieve balls.

AquaBrush is a new essential device for golf bags, fitted with interchangeable and replaceable brush-heads and a water reservoir used to clean club heads. Press the button on top of AquaBrush and a spray of water shoots out and on to the club face. Wipe it clean with a towel or the brush attached at the base of the grip.

Aquabrush is available in multiple colors and as with Pitchfix’ range of award winning divot tools, can be logo’s with a club crest, tournament brand or logo.

AimPRO is a compacts, circular ball marker with a mirror on top designed as a practice aid to help golfers learn and master the Aimpoint method of reading the break of a putt. The mirrored surface is placed upon the putting green and helps the golfer learn how to calculate the correct scale of any slope on the green and adjust their aim accordingly. The system promises to help users find the right line and improve the accuracy of their putting. AimPRO is designed to help golfers of any ability learn this relatively new method of reading the break that is proving increasingly popular with Tour Pros.

Founded in 2005, Pitchfix is the market leader for switchblade divot tools and other golf green related products in Europe and Asia and is renowned for its high standards in design and product quality. It aims to be the market leader in divot tools and other golf related products in the United States by designing, manufacturing and distributing an ever-growing line of high quality and innovative European designed products through selected distribution partners.

Pitchfix currently offers an array of diverse and innovative products for golfers worldwide: Twister 2.0 Divot Tool; Classic Divot Tool; Hybrid 2.0 Divot Tool; XL 3.0 Divot Tool; Alignmee Marker Alignment Tool, Hatclip Ball Marker, The Tour Edition and Tour Edition 2.5 Divot Tool, the Multi Marker Chip, Greenkeeper Pro, PickCup, AquaBrush and AimPRO.

The Pitchfix Fusion 2.5 was named “Best Divot Repair Tool” by Golf Digest in its 2019 Editors’ Choice Awards for the third consecutive year.


John Smoltz, Baseball Hall of Famer, Bridgestone Golf



Rick is joined this week by Baseball Hall of Famer and Atlanta Braves legend, John Smoltz.

Smoltz played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball from 1988 to 2009, all but the last year with the Atlanta Braves. An eight-time All-Star, Smoltz was part of a celebrated trio of starting pitchers, along with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who propelled Atlanta to perennial pennant contention in the 1990s, highlighted by a championship in the 1995 World Series. He won the National League (NL) Cy Young Award in 1996 after posting a record of 24–8, equaling the most victories by an NL pitcher since 1972. Though predominantly known as a starter, Smoltz was converted to a reliever in 2001 after his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and spent four years as the team’s closer before returning to a starting role. In 2002, he set the NL record with 55 saves and became only the second pitcher in history (joining Dennis Eckersley) to record both a 20-win season and a 50-save season. He is the only pitcher in major league history to record both 200 wins and 150 saves.

Smoltz was one of the most prominent pitchers in playoff history, posting a record of 15–4 with a 2.67 earned run average (ERA) in 41 career postseason games, and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1992 NL Championship Series

I caught up with Smoltz not in Atlanta, but at a Bridgestone Golf event that was part of the 2020 PGA Show in Atlanta.
Smoltz has now turned his attention to golf and recently won another celebrity tournament. He’ll be making some starts on the PGA Champions Tour and hopes to qualify this year again for the U.S. Senior Open.

Smoltz is also now a respected voice in the baseball broadcast booth. Hard pressed to find someone better to explain the game than Smoltz.


NCAA Final Four Coming to Atlanta with Duke AD Kevin White and Dan Gavitt of the NCAA



Even if you don’t have a ticket to the games being played, there will be plenty of things fans can do leading up to the 2020 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Atlanta, April 3-6, 2020.

Rick talks about that and more with Kevin White, who is best known as Mike Krzyzewski’s boss as the AD at Duke. He is also Chair of the NCAA DI Basketball Selection Committee. Rick also is joined by Dan Gavitt the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball.

Once again, leading up to the DI semis, the NCAA Men’s Division II and III National Championships will be held on Sunday, April 5, at State Farm Arena. The Division III game will tipoff at 12:30 p.m. and the Division II game will begin at 4 p.m. The games are free and open to the public.

Youth basketball fans ages 18 and under can also be part of the Final Four action with the NCAA Final Four Dribble presented by Buick. The one-of-a-kind and free Final Four event will take place on Sunday, April 5, beginning with check-in at 1 p.m. in downtown Atlanta. Fans can bounce into action and dribble their way through the heart of downtown. To register for the event, fans should visit participating Buick dealerships beginning January 15. The first 3,000 participants will receive a NCAA Final Four Dribble t-shirt, a Wilson basketball and free entry into the Final Four Fan Fest presented by Capital One for Dribble participants and accompanying adults. Immediately following, fans are encouraged to head over to State Farm Arena for the free NCAA Men’s DII and DIII National Championships.

“Conducting all three national basketball championships in one city on the same weekend provides student-athletes from each division, as well as their fans, a special experience,” said Gavitt. “We’re thrilled about all the games and the fan events we have planned for the Final Four weekend, leading up to the Division I National Championship Game.”

The NCAA Final Four Semifinals will take place on Saturday, April 4 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The winners of the two games will advance to the NCAA Final Four Division I National Championship on Monday, April 6.

Atlanta is no stranger to hosting huge events and this is another big to anticipate and enjoy.

Here is Rick with Kevin and Dan.