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Spurs first Black GM

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SAN ANTONIO (July 23, 2019) – Spurs Sports & Entertainment today announced that RC Buford has been named CEO of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, effective Sept. 3. The two-time NBA Executive of the Year has spent a total of 29 years with SS&E.

“RC Buford is one of the most highly-respected leaders in professional sports,” said SS&E Chairman Peter J. Holt. “His vision, innovation and drive have helped shape our values and culture. We are thrilled to have RC leading the organization into the future.”

Buford first joined the Silver and Black as an assistant coach on Larry Brown’s staff in 1988. He then spent one season with the Los Angeles Clippers and one season at the University of Florida before returning to San Antonio in 1994 as a member of then-Spurs General Manager Gregg Popovich’s staff.Buford was promoted to Spurs Director of Scouting in 1997 and took on the role of vice president and assistant general manager in 1999. Buford was named the Spurs General Manager in 2002 before being promoted to President of Sports Franchises in 2008.

In addition, SS&E announced that long-time top executives Rick Pych and Lawrence Payne have elected to transition into strategic advisory roles with the organization. The two leaders, with a combined 70 years of Spurs service, will remain heavily involved with various key projects and strategic planning at SS&E.

“Rick and LP have been instrumental in the success of the Spurs for many years,” said Holt. “Their passion, influence and leadership have allowed all of us to succeed. It’s impossible to list the numerous contributions they’ve made to the organization. All of us are grateful that we’ll be able to continue to tap into their knowledge and intelligence for years to come.”

Pych, who begins his 27th season with SS&E, has served as the organization’s president and co-CEO since 2016. He started with the organization as the team’s CFO in 1993. In 2000 he was named an executive vice president before assuming the role of president of business operations in 2008.

Payne, currently an executive vice president, is the longest tenured full-time employee in franchise history, starting with the Spurs in 1976 after receiving his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.

At the same time, the organization has announced that Brian Wright has been promoted to Spurs General Manager while Lori Warren and Bobby Perez have been elevated to executive vice president roles. Warren and Perez will lead the business side of SS&E.

Wright, who will manage day-to-day basketball operations duties, spent 10 seasons working with the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons before being named the Spurs Assistant General Manager in 2016.

Warren, who has been with the organization for 26 years, most recently served as SS&E’s senior vice president of corporate finance and brand strategy.

Perez, a San Antonio native, joined SS&E in 2013 as the organization’s senior vice president general counsel and corporate relations after spending 20 years at Shelton & Valadez P.C.

SS&E has grown to include 400-plus full-time employees and over 1,000 part-time staff. In addition to capturing five NBA Championships, the Spurs were named the top franchise in professional sports four times in ESPN’s annual fan survey. The SS&E family also includes the San Antonio Rampage (AHL), Austin Spurs (NBA G League), San Antonio FC (USL) and Silver & Black Give Back (501(c)(3)), as well as the AT&T Center, Toyota Field and the STAR Soccer Complex.

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Black Golf Tour Reaches Landmark Moment With $1 Million in Prize Money

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Officials with APGA Tour, a nonprofit organization with the mission to prepare African Americans and other minority golfers to compete and win at the highest level of professional golf, recently announced that Farmers Insurance has committed an additional $25,000 for the APGA Tour Farmers Insurance Fall Series Finale. This additional prize money means that for the first time in APGA Tour history, prize and bonus payouts for players will reach $1 million in a single season.

“We launched the APGA Tour in 2010 thanks to a $10,000 contribution that came from Farmers Insurance. It’s fitting that we hit this truly remarkable milestone with a contribution from Farmers 12 years later,” said APGA Tour CEO Ken Bentley. “When our 2022 season comes to a conclusion, we will have played 18 tournaments at PGA TOUR caliber venues. Thanks to our sponsors like Farmers, Lexus, Cisco, World Wide Technology, Mastercard, Ascension and ADP, our players have the financial support and opportunities to progress and chase their dreams in the professional game. The support of the PGA TOUR and their partners has been instrumental as well in the APGA Tour accomplishing this landmark moment.”

“Congratulations to the APGA Tour on achieving this incredible milestone in its work to grow diversity and inclusivity in the game of golf,” said Jeff Dailey, President & Chief Executive Officer, Farmers Insurance. “Farmers has been a proud supporter of the APGA Tour since its earliest beginnings, and we look forward to celebrating the ongoing success of the organization and its players at the Fall Series Finale in Tustin later this month.”

Tim O’Neal, who recently made his PGA TOUR Champions debut, was part of the first season on the APGA Tour (Advocates Professional Golf Association)  and has seen, firsthand, the growth of the developmental circuit.

“It’s amazing to witness how the APGA Tour impacted the careers of many young minority golfers,” O’Neal said. “Golf is such a difficult profession as the costs of playing often far exceed the amount of money a golfer can earn. With the resources the APGA Tour is now providing, along with the purses and prize money associated with APGA Tour events, minority players are going to have a lot more opportunities to play top-level venues while earning an income that can better support their ability to improve their game and achieve their dreams.”

For the second consecutive year, Farmers Insurance teamed up with APGA Tour to stage the APGA Tour Farmers Insurance Fall Series, with tournaments taking place in the greater St. LouisPhiladelphiaHouston, and Los Angeles areas. The APGA Tour Farmers Insurance Fall Series was designed to further the APGA Tour’s mission of bringing greater diversity to the game of golf and to provide additional playing and earning opportunities to APGA Tour players.

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Roadrunners Take Conference USA Lead

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Photo by LaNell Taylor

UTSA Roadrunners vs. the University of North Texas Mean Green lived up to the week-long hype. This was UTSA’s homecoming game and more importantly a rally to take first place in Conference USA. UTSA was tied with the Mean Green heading into this game and were trying to avoid a repeat of last year’s 45-23 upset.

A “nail biter” is probably an understatement for the crowd of 27,122 who were on edge as they witnessed the UTSA Roadrunners battle against the University of North Texas Mean Green to take first place in Conference USA inside the Alamodome on Saturday. Early in the first quarter uncertainty began when quarterback Frank Harris’ pass was intercepted by UNT’s Ridge Texada. He ran for 6 yards to set the Mean Green up on the 42-yard line, eventually leading UNT to getting on the board with a 49-yard field goal. After a Frank Harris sack, failure to convert on fourth down, and a failed field goal attempt, with 12 seconds left in the first quarter UNT kicked another field goal and lead the first quarter 6-0.

The Roadrunners managed to get on the board after a Mean Green turnover and a 38-yard field goal in the second quarter, but they trailed going into halftime 6-3. UTSA scored their first touchdown of the game in the third quarter to take the lead 10-6, but the lead was short lived. It wasn’t long before the Mean Green kicked another field goal and ended the third quarter 13-10. This quarter was about as stressful as the first half.

Going into the fourth quarter after an exchange in leads, fans feared another upset when UNT’s quarterback Austin Aune tossed a 1-yard pass to Isaiah Johnson to retake the lead 27-24 with only 1:38 remaining for UTSA to take possession. Responding to the Mean Green’s previous touchdown, the saying “it ain’t over until it’s over” became reality in the last 15 seconds of the game when Harris threw a 10-yard pass to De’Corian Clark for the final touchdown of the game to take the first place lead in Conference USA. The final score was 31-27. UTSA is now 6-2, 4-0 in conference. This was the Roadrunners 5th straight win, Coach Traylor’s 200th career win, and the team is now bowl eligible.

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Entertainment

The Stage Is Set

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The NFL season is just a few weeks in, but the halftime time show is booked. Singer, actress, and business woman Rihanna will headline the 2023 NFL Super Bowl halftime show in Glendale, Arizona on February 12, 2023. This will be her first performance since she performed in public at the 2018 Grammy Awards, and since her 2016 album release. In 2018 it was reported that Rihanna and a number of other artist declined an invitation to perform at the Super Bowl in support of Colin Kaepernick, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who was at the center of a National Anthem kneeling controversy.

Rihanna, Rock Nation and the NFL are believed to bring music and sports fans a momentous show. This will be Apple Music’s first time sponsoring the halftime show as they have now replaced long time sponsor Pepsi.

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