2019 HONOREES

Jeff Zucker

Chairman, WarnerMedia News and Sports

President, CNN Worldwide

Jeff Zucker is the Chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports.  He has also served as President of CNN Worldwide since 2013. He oversees all of CNN’s businesses, including the CNN US television network, CNN International, HLN, all of CNN’s digital properties, and Great Big Story. 

 

His sports portfolio includes Turner Sports, Bleacher Report, and the AT&T Regional Sports Networks.  In his six years at CNN, he has overseen a dramatic turnaround of the global news network and turned it into the most used digital news and information outlet in the world.

 

Zucker has had one of the most storied careers in media. In addition to his time at CNN, he spent 25 years at NBC Universal, rising to be its chief executive, and co-founded the online streaming service Hulu.

 

After starting as an Olympic researcher for NBC Sports in 1986, he went on to assume responsibility for NBC’s Today show at age 26 and re-invented the historic morning news program.

 

Following Today, he served as President of NBC Entertainment. He then rose through the ranks to become the company’s president and CEO. For four years, he ran the global media and entertainment company, which included the NBC broadcast network, its news and sports divisions and all of its cable properties (including MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Bravo, Oxygen and Syfy), Universal Pictures and the Universal Theme Parks. 

The BIG EAST Conference

Butler, Creighton, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. Johns, Villanova, and Xavier. 

In the 40 years since the original league opened its doors, BIG EAST teams have won 41 national championships in eight different sports with 145 student-athletes winning individual national titles in the league’s history. 

The conference, which crowns champions in 22 sports, had league teams earn a total of 18 NCAA team berths and 23 individual NCAA invitations in 2018-19. 

In the classroom, a record 67 BIG EAST athletic programs were recognized in 2018-19 by the NCAA with Public Recognition Awards for outstanding academic achievement in the previous academic year.  BIG EAST schools also produced seven CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. 

To complement its athletic successes, the conference launched BIG EAST Serves in 2014 to align with the service missions of the member institutions. Initiatives housed under the BIG EAST Serves umbrella reflect the conference’s commitment to developing the complete BIG EAST student-athlete and making a positive contribution to campus communities and the conference’s headquarters in New York.  The BIG EAST annually hosts a Well Being Forum to help provide institutional personnel with information, insights and basic training so they can better support the mental and physical health of their student-athletes.

Val Ackerman, who previously served as founding President of the WNBA, President of USA Basketball and U.S. representative to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), was named the BIG EAST’s fifth Commissioner in 2013.  Under her leadership, the BIG EAST has maintained its reputation for achievement at the highest levels and has continued to be influential on the national collegiate landscape.

2018 HONOREES

Jim Calhoun

University of St. Joseph

No less a college basketball authority than legendary Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim called what Jim Calhoun accomplished at UConn as “the best building job in college basketball history.

 

” When Calhoun became head coach at UConn in 1986-87, following his impressive 14-year run at Northeastern, the program had been to the NCAA Tournament just once in the previous 10 years. When he retired at the end of the 2011-12 season after 26 years, he had taken the Huskies to 18 NCAA tourneys, which included three NCAA national championships, four Final Four appearances, nine trips to the Elite Eight, 13 trips to the Sweet 16, plus an NIT Championship.

 

In addition, Calhoun’s UConn teams won 10 regular-season Big East titles, a record seven Big East Tournament championships and he was named Big East Coach of the Year four times. Calhoun’s records at UConn are too numerous to count, but his 625 wins are the standard for all future UConn coaches. When he retired, his 873 wins ranked him sixth all-time and his 49 NCAA Tournament wins placed him fourth on that all-time list. He sent 30 players to the NBA and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005. 

John Bogusz

Executive Vice President, CBS Sports

John Bogusz was named Executive Vice President, Sports Sales, CBS in November 2002. In this capacity, he oversees all sales operations for CBS Sports Programming, including the NFL, SEC College Football, PGA Tour Golf and the PGA Championship, and the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, among other events. In 2018, Bogusz will oversee more than $2.0 billion in sports advertising sales for the Network. He reports to Jo Ann Ross, President, CBS Television Network Sales.

 

Previously, Bogusz served as Senior Vice President of Daytime Sales for CBS. Prior to joining the Network, he was senior vice president, network sales for Univision.  Before that, he spent 13 years at ABC, selling the primetime schedule along with properties like the Academy Awards. While at ABC, he rose to senior account executive, primetime, from manager, sales department, ABC Network Radio. Prior to ABC, Bogusz was a senior media planner at Young & Rubicam.

2017 HONOREES

Jake Piaseki

FOX Networks Group

Jake Piasecki is a Senior Vice President with Fox Networks Group where he manages multi-platform sales and partnerships across Fox Broadcasting, Fox Sports, FX Networks and National Geographic.  Jake is a well-respected 21-year veteran of the advertising industry.  He works closely with marketers and their agencies to develop partnerships that deliver mutually beneficial value across the entire Fox Networks Group of brands and platforms.  Jake started his career at BBDO, then moved to Viacom where he spent 16 years working throughout the company, most recently in the role of SVP of Sales and Marketing at the Nickelodeon Kids and Family group.  Jake then moved on to be the Chief Revenue Officer of Tremor video prior to joining Fox in 2016.

 

Jake was first diagnosed with testicular cancer that metastasized in 2010.  He underwent chemotherapy treatment and surgery and was cancer free in 2011.  Unfortunately, a year later Jake suffered a relapse.  Jake was given more intense chemotherapy and had surgery to remove the tumors as well as the retroperitoneal lymph nodes in 2012 and has been cancer-free ever since.  Jake was treated by Dr. George Bosl and his team at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Craig Sager 

Posthumous

Synonymous with TNT's NBA game coverage for over two decades and known for his colorful wardrobe, Craig Sager spent 26 seasons as the sideline reporter for Turner Sports’ exclusive Thursday night NBA on TNT doubleheader coverage. During his tenure with Turner, he reported the MLB Postseason from 2007-2013 and in 2009 was the course reporter during the PGA Championship. Sager was a sideline reporter the Pac-10/Big 12 college football coverage and from 1990-97 and served as a reporter on TNT's NFL pre-game, halftime, and post-game. In addition to his work of telecast of the NBA, he reported the 2002 World Championships of Basketball, 2000 USA Basketball Games, the 1999 Tournament of the Americas Olympic Qualifying Basketball Tournament and the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

 

A veteran of international competition, Sager reported for the Goodwill Games from 1986-2001 and for 16 years, Sager was a sideline reporter for NBC Sports’ coverage for the Olympics.

 

In 1981, Sager was co-anchor of CNN Sports Tonight show. He served as anchor of College Football Scoreboard from 1982-85. Prior to joining CNN, Sager spent two years at KMBC-TV in Kansas City, where he served as sports director and handled play-by-play for the Kansas City Kings, Royals spring training and Chiefs pre-season games. Previously, Sager was sports director for WINK-TV in Ft. Myers, Fla. He also had stints at WTSP-TV, St. Petersburg, Fla.; WSPB-Radio, Sarasota, Fla.; and WXLT-TV, Sarasota, Fla. where he began his broadcast career in 1972.

 

Sager was married to his soul mate, Stacy Sager, for fourteen years, together they had two children; Riley and Ryan Sager. Stacy and Craig started the SagerStrong Foundation Inc. to raise funds for research and clinical trials for leukemia and other blood cancers. In 1985, Sager received a CableAce award. In 2012 and 2017, he was awarded a Sports Emmy® Award for Outstanding Sports Personality-Sports Reporter. In 2016 he was the recipient of the Jimmy V. Award for Perseverance at the ESPY’s and in 2017 received the ‘Curt Gowdy Award’ from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was inaugurated into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame in 2017 and inducted into the Sports Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame in 2016.