March 8, 2006

Raptors and Rangers choose Cornellians to lead them

Two Cornell University alumni were picked to manage prominent sports teams recently.

Bryan Colangelo '87 was chosen as president and general manager of the Toronto Raptors this March. The team, currently fourth in the Atlantic division of the National Basketball Association, has reportedly signed him to a multiyear contract with a seven-figure salary.

And last October Jon Daniels '99 was promoted to general manager of the Texas Rangers at age 28, becoming the youngest person ever to hold such a position in Major League Baseball history.

Both were undergraduates in applied economics and management in Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Colangelo was a three-year member of the Big Red men's basketball team, helping it post a 45-33 record during those seasons. A reserve guard, he was a letter winner in 1986-87.

Colangelo most recently was president and general manager of the Phoenix Suns, which he joined 11 years ago. Following the 2004-05 season, in which the team won 62 games -- considered the third biggest turnaround in league history, he was named NBA executive of the year in The Sporting News.

In an Associated Press story that followed, Colangelo's father, Jerry, who was the Suns' first general manager and a former NBA executive of the year, said: "[Bryan] showed he could handle anything thrown his way. ... I'm very proud of what he's accomplished."

Daniels joined the Texas Rangers in 2002 as a baseball operations assistant. He was the team's director of baseball operations before moving up to his new position.

"His youth is an asset to us. He is truly an exceptional talent," said team owner Tom Hicks, in a story about Daniels' promotion on the Rangers Web site. Added former coach John Hart, whom Daniels replaced: "Jon is young, but he has the qualities that you look for in a leader."