A Super Bowl Connection — And 7 More UVA Law Alums Prominent in Sports

An image of the first article published by the Virginia Law Review

From the MLB general counsel to one of the fathers of sports marketing, UVA Law alumni have played key roles in the sports industry.

January 29, 2015

Both quarterbacks facing off in the Super Bowl on Sunday have ties to the University of Virginia School of Law.

Donald Yee
Donald Yee '87
Harry Wilson
Harry Wilson '80

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's long-time agent is Donald Yee '87 , co-founder of Yee & Dubin Sports, a sports management and consulting firm located in Los Angeles.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's late father, Harry Wilson, was a 1980 graduate of UVA Law. Wilson garnered respect from many who knew him, even in his short time with the Chargers, as The New York Post recently recounted.

"He was so unique, taking a different path, I'm pretty sure he didn't know how many people he affected," former Chargers tight end Kellen Winslow told Sports on Earth, in an interview reported in the Post. "He made everyone think: 'Maybe there's something different I can do.'"

They nicknamed him "The Professor."

Here are seven more alumni who are prominent in the sports world:

Donald Dell

Donald Dell '64

Donald Dell founded ProServ, a leader in sports marketing, where he represented athletes such as Jimmy Connors, Andy Roddick and Michael Jordan. A former professional tennis player and a captain of two winning U.S. Davis Cup teams, Dell was a friend and lifelong agent of tennis great Arthur Ashe and helped usher in the open era of men's tennis. He has negotiated nearly a billion dollars in sponsorships and endorsements, including the naming rights for FedEx Field. He teaches Professional Sports and the Law as an adjunct professor at UVA Law, and is the group president of Lagardere Unlimited.

Timothy FinchemTimothy Finchem '73

Timothy Finchem is the third commissioner of the PGA Tour and has served in that role since 1994. He delivered the Law School's 2008 commencement address. He previously served as deputy adviser to the president in the Office of Economic Affairs at the White House, as national staff director for President Carter's re-election campaign in 1980, and as finance director for Walter Mondale's 1984 presidential bid.

Cynthia Hogan

Cynthia Hogan '84

Cynthia Hogan, a former top aide to Vice President Joe Biden, joined the NFL in 2014 as senior vice president of public policy and government affairs. As a recent Washington Post article detailed , she is the public face of the league in Washington on issues including broadcasting rights, the league's tax-exempt status, on-field health and safety issues, performance-enhancing drugs and concerns about NFL players' actions away from the field.

Joseph Leccese

Joseph M. Leccese '85

Joseph Leccese is chairman of the law firm Proskauer in New York and co-head of its Sports Law Group. In that role he is lead counsel to several professional sports leagues and handles a number of matters relating to the acquisition, financing, operation and funding of teams. His experience includes representing the NBA, Major League Soccer, the NHL, NFL teams, college conferences and other professional sports entities.

Tom Ostertag

Thomas J. Ostertag '81

Tom Ostertag is senior vice president and general counsel for Major League Baseball. He recently spoke at a conference on vice and morality in sports at UVA Law, sponsored by the Virginia Sports & Entertainment Law Journal and the Virginia Sports Law Society.

DeMaurice Smith

DeMaurice Smith '89

DeMaurice Smith , executive director of the NFL Players Association, will be the commencement speaker at UVA Law this May, and has spoken several times at the Law School and UVA. Smith, who has been named one of the top 10 most influential executives in sports by Sports Business Journal, leads the union responsible for protecting the interests of the players of the National Football League. In 2011, he successfully negotiated a historic 10-year collective bargaining agreement with the league and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, following a 132-day lockout.

Bryan Stroh

Bryan F. Stroh '02

Bryan Stroh is senior vice president of business affairs and general counsel for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Stroh pitched at Princeton University before earning his law degree, then worked for Chicago law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman, where he sometimes helped the Chicago White Sox with legal matters and started to learn more about salary arbitration. In his role with the Pirates, he handles all legal matters and player salary negotiations, and also manages a number of strategic projects, such as the club's development efforts around PNC Park.

More prominent alumni in the sports and entertainment industry

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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