Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Negrete resigns as IRT commissioner, to be succeeded by Mannino - UPDATED

A stunning announcement from the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) today, as their website announces Dave Negrete is stepping down from the Commissioner position and Jason Mannino will become the new IRT Commissioner.

The announcement states the rest of this season will a transition period, so Mannino won't retire from competition until season's end, and Negrete will remain on the scene to the end of the 2009-2010 season. Also, Negrete intends to continue running the IRT Pro Nationals in Chicago, which typically is the season ending event.

The Racquetball Blog is surprised by this development given Negrete agreed to a 5 year extension as Commissioner at the start of this season. At that time Mannino was appointed Deputy Commissioner, so it's not surprising that he has succeeded Negrete as Commissioner, but the timing is surprising.


Since posting the above, The Racquetball Blog has talked to Dave Negrete. He's proud of what he's been able to accomplish over his 9 years as the IRT Commissioner. That included the creation of the all Lucite court, the inclusion of racquetball in the ESPN network, and a solid group of satellite events that give players opportunities to make money.

Explaining how he accomplished these things Negrete said "the way I built what I built was with networking and emotion. Major deals developed from relationships I created through networking" and having positive relationships with people.

Negrete was inspired from Tony Hawke's description of how his career developed, as Hawke explained in a 60 Minutes interview. Hawke initially made a few dollars at a local skateboading event, and then went to bigger and bigger events. That led to a major company getting behind him. Then the video game industry came calling. Also, he did bus tours with friends bringing pro skateboarding to the public.

Negrete has started to see this happen in racquetball with the satellite IRT events leading to the Tier 1 and Grand Slam events. Earlier this year the USAR announced the development of a racquetball video game by Graffiti Entertainment, and Gearbox Racquetball has been touring the USA by bus bringing their players and products to the people.

It all fits into Negrete's vision.

So why resign now? Sometimes you receive offers that are hard to refuse, and that's the case with Negrete. His resignation was precipitated by a job offer he received from outside racquetball.

Of course, change in an organization always creates uncertainty, and that's perhaps especially so when the overall economic climate is uncertain. But Negrete is confident that the IRT is in a good place. "Jason will do fine," he said, and although he won't be at events in the new year, Negrete sees the second half of the season as a solid schedule.

The Racquetball Blog wishes Negrete all the best with his future endeavors.

Follow the bouncing ball....

1 comment:

Will & Cheyenne said...

Pretty shocking, but I'm sure it will all work out well.