A Leadership Celebration for IMG and George Pyne

September 13, 2013

NEW YORK (Sept. 12, 2013)  - An impressive array of the sports world’s most prominent people packed the Waldorf-Astoria Tuesday night to pay to tribute to the career of George Pyne, president of Sports & Entertainment at IMG Worldwide. Pyne, a former captain and offensive lineman at Brown University, has helped elevate collegiate athletics to unprecedented levels of success in recent years.

The National Football Foundation (NFF) provided the stage at the Waldorf-Astoria, formally inducting Pyne into its newly formed NFF Leadership Hall of Fame with more than 800 people on hand for the celebration, and Pyne responded, crediting football for making him tough enough to stay focused on his goals in life.

“Football played an integral role in my life, and it changed my life forever,” said Pyne. “My coaches and teammates taught me integrity, perseverance, dedication and hard work. While these are the values I learned on the field, everyone here tonight knows that these are the necessary characteristics for finding success in business, school and life.”

Pyne becomes a charter member of Leadership Hall of Fame, which has been launched as a new platform for recognizing the country’s most influential individuals who have ascended to the highest levels of success and exhibited the critical leadership qualities that transcend ordinary enterprises. Inductees are selected for embodying the same qualities in amateur football that define excellence in American life: hard work, discipline, determination, teamwork, integrity and the relentless pursuit to improve.

“When we began talking about creating the Leadership Hall of Fame last year, and we looked around the world of college football, George Pyne quickly became the obvious choice to become a charter inductee,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “We are here tonight to inspire future generations to follow in his footsteps. It’s about the doors that football opened for George and ensuring that future generations have the same opportunity.”

The night included remarks from several key people who played a role in Pyne’s career, including NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France. Pyne worked closely with France in transforming NASCAR into a globally recognized brand during an 11-year span in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“It’s all true when we talk about how humble George is, and its always somebody else, and he’s just happy to be along,” said France. “This is a special tribute for a guy who really deserves it. I have been involved with George for 20 years, and I remember vividly the early years because in many, many ways George and I went through life together.”

IMG College President Ben Sutton talked about the development of his working and personal relationship with Pyne after selling ISP Sports, a sports marketing company that he created, to IMG. Sutton said nobody thought he would survive reporting to somebody else after running his own company for 18 years.

“[George] has some incredible energy, and he is thinking all the time and always making everyone around him think all the time,” said Sutton. “If you want to work with George Pyne, you better be on your toes.”

His roommate at Brown and a football teammate Scott McCaleb was selected to speak, providing perspective on Pyne’s leadership abilities that manifested themselves from his earliest days in college.

“There is simply none finer than George for our youth to emulate,” said McCaleb. “He is a self-made man who embodies the NFF principals and lives by the very simple motto of work hard and be nice.”

ESPN host Rece Davis emceed the event, and singers Estelle and Edwin McCain entertained the audience, performing their hit songs. During the event, Pyne shared the stage with New York Giants and former Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich. Pyne has become close personal friend with Herzlich, and a video was played, chronicling Herzlich’s heroic efforts in overcoming Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer.

Other speakers included Campus Insider sportscaster Bonnie Bernstein, Kansas City Chiefs President and former Brown University quarterback Mark Donovan, and NFF Board Member and Under Armour Founder, CEO and Chairman Kevin Plank, Jr.

ESPN3 carried the ceremony live, and more than 800 people attended the event, produced by BMG Productions and directed by George Sechrist. The college athletics community turned out in force with several athletics directors in attendance, including Whit Babcock (Cincinnati), Jack Hayes (Brown), Julie Hermann (Rutgers), Warde Manuel (UConn), Steve Pederson (Pittsburgh), David Roach (Fordham), Ron Wellman (Wake Forest), Kevin White (Duke) and Doug Woolard (South Florida). Other VIPs included:


PGA Tour Golfer Billy Andrade


ESPN Executive Chairman George Bodenheimer


Learfield Sports President & CEO Greg Brown


NFF Board Member Gene DeFilippo


Brown head coach Phil Estes


Former U.S. Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., (D-Tenn.)


Sam Forstmann


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell


New York Athletic Club Board of Governor Member Brian Healy


Korn/Ferry International Vice Chairman Jed Hughes


New York Athletic Club Director of Athletics Cedric Jones


CBS Sports correspondent Armen Keteyian


NCAA director of championships and alliances Damani Leech


Turner Broadcasting System President David Levy


NCAA Executive Vice President for Championship and Alliances Mark Lewis


KWL Enterprises President and Former Def Jam Recordings President Kevin Liles


ESPN Senior Vice President Burke Magnus


Chairman of CBS Sports Sean J. McManus


IMG Senior Corporate Vice President Sandy Montag


NCAA Vice President of Championships and Alliances Dennie Poppe


Herff Jones  Eastern Regional Manager Jeff Parker


Sporting News Publisher and President Jeff Price


Former SEC Commissioner and USOC Executive Director Harvey Schiller


New York Athletic Club Board of Governor Member Dave Shakespeare


ESPN President and Disney Media Networks Co-Chairman John Skipper


College Football Hall of Fame President & CEO John Stephenson


Spielman Koenigsberg & Parker Partner Jon Taylor


ESPN Vice President Rob Temple


NFF Board Member and NACDA Executive Director Bob Vecchione


CEO of Wilcox Sports Management Michael Wilcox


Metro Atlanta Chamber President Sam Williams


CBS Sportscaster Tracy Wolfson


Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark

Click here to view several photos from the event.

Click here to view an ESPN3 replay of the event after the dinner.


George Pyne Biography 

George Pyne is the President of IMG Worldwide's global sports and entertainment business, which includes client management, college sports, consulting, IMG Performance (IMG Academy), licensing and U.S. business development.

Under Mr. Pyne's leadership, IMG entered the collegiate business in May of 2007 with the acquisition of the Collegiate Licensing Company and subsequent purchases of Host Communication (fall of 2007) and ISP (fall of 2010). He and his team have successfully integrated and continue to organically grow these businesses. IMG College is now the nation’s leading collegiate marketing firm, representing the NCAA and more than 200 American universities.

Mr. Pyne is also a member of IMG's Board of Directors, where he helps to shape the company's strategic initiatives. Additionally, he is on the boards of 24 Hour Fitness and the National Football Foundation.

Prior to IMG, Mr. Pyne was Chief Operating Officer of NASCAR and the second non-family member in 50 years to join its Board of Directors.

During his 11-year tenure, NASCAR emerged as a dominant force in North American Sports. At the forefront of their explosive growth, Mr. Pyne's accomplishments included a $4.5 billion television rights deal in 2005, the $750 million sponsorship of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2004, investments by 100 of the Fortune 500 companies, the creation of a $2 billion licensing business and the recognition of the NASCAR brand as one of the most admired brands in North America.

Before NASCAR, Mr. Pyne worked at the Portman Companies where he helped develop a strategic plan for the company's $2 billion debt restructuring. He was later appointed Executive Director of AMC Events, a division of the Portman Companies that creates and manages marketing events for major sports properties.

Mr. Pyne has been named to the Sports Business Journal's "Forty Under Forty" list three times as well as to the Sports Business Journal's "Hall of Fame."  He has also has been named one of Advertising Age's 'Top -100 Marketers' and has been regularly listed as one of the most influential people in professional sports by Business Week,  The Sporting News and Sports Business Journal.

Mr. Pyne attended Brown University where he served as captain of the football team and earned All-Ivy League and All-New England honors.


George and Helene Pyne with NFF Chairman Archie Manning.

Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Bowl, the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. NFF corporate partners include the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the BCS, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, Liberty Mutual, NCAA Football, and Under Armour.  For more information, please visit www.footballfoundation.org.


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