November 7, 2013
Rick Cerrone Communications Named as Public Relations Firm of Record by THF
McKinney, Texas (November 7, 2013) – The Taylor Hooton Foundation announced today that it has retained Rick Cerrone Communications as its public relations firm of record. The announcement was made by THF President Don Hooton. “Rick Cerrone has had a distinguished career at the highest level of professional sports,” said Don Hooton, THF President, “and since his relationship with the Taylor Hooton Foundation began earlier this year, he has already made significant contributions to our efforts to educate America’s youth on the dangers of appearance and performance-enhancing drugs.” Cerrone’s career in and around Major League Baseball has spanned more than 35 years. For 11 of the most successful and tumultuous seasons in New York Yankees’ history, Cerrone manned what Sports Illustrated called, “The Hottest Seat in Sports.” As the team’s Senior Director of Media Relations from 1996 through 2006, he worked side-by-side with some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment. He counseled perhaps the most powerful and controversial owner in the history of professional sports, George M. Steinbrenner; worked closely with the game’s most-respected manager, Joe Torre; and guided and supported the most-recognizable players for the sports industry’s most-valuable franchise in the nation’s number-one media market. Cerrone was the senior public-relations counsel with the Yankees for an incredible run of 11 post-season appearances, six World Series and four world championships as well as during the horror of 9/11 and numerous crises and controversies. An entrepreneur since earning his undergraduate degree in Journalism at Northern Illinois University in 1976, he was recognized as the youngest editor and publisher of a nationally-distributed publication in the nation when – at 23 years old – he founded Baseball Magazine in 1977. He significantly increased the publication’s stature and visibility by a creating a unique, high-profile awards program which included the presentations of the official “Most Valuable Player” awards for the American and National League Championship Series (1980) and “Player of the Year” awards (1978, 1979 and 1980) as selected by Major League managers. Still in his twenties, Rick was then an integral part of the public relations staffs for two Baseball Commissioners, Hall of Famer Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, from 1982 through 1986. He was intimately involved in the development of many high-profile decisions and policies, including those related to labor negotiations and work stoppages, drug programs and penalties and potential franchise shifts. In 1987 – with co-host Richard Neer – he created a groundbreaking three-hour, nightly sports talk show –The Sports Connection – for New York’s 50,000-watt WNEW-AM. The show’s unique format, which included co-hosts and news/score updates every 20 minutes, remains the model for sports programming on radio. As Vice President of Public Relations for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1987 through 1993, Rick’s mission – as stated by team President Carl Barger – was simple: “Help us convince Pittsburgh that the Pirates will be an important part of the community for the next 100 years.” To accomplish this, Rick worked tirelessly to enhance the organization’s image in the aftermath of previous public-relations crises – including the drug trials of the mid-eighties and the near-move of the franchise. He developed and supervised numerous high-profile programs and activities which played key roles in establishing three franchise attendance records in a four-year period (1988-’91). As a Senior Vice President for Dan Klores Communications from 2007 to 2009 – and now as a branding and communications consultant – Rick has developed and implemented sports-related marketing and public-relations programs for a diverse portfolio of sports, business and entertainment clients. He has also had significant involvement in crisis management and image enhancement for highly-visible clients. He also serves as Senior Advisor/Branding & Marketing for his alma mater, NIU. Consistently requested as a subject-matter expert in the fields of branding, image enhancement and crisis management, Rick had made countless guest appearances on TV network news shows, including FOX News, FOX Business, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC and ESPN. The Taylor Hooton Foundation (THF) is widely acknowledged as the leader in the advocacy against appearance and performance enhancing substance abuse by the youth of North America. The THF was formed in memory of Taylor E. Hooton, a 17-year old high school student athlete who took his own life as a result of using anabolic steroids. The THF is considered a national expert on this topic and is funded by sources including MLB, the NFL and the NHL. For more information about the Taylor Hooton Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, and their in-school and online education programs, visit www.taylorhooton.org.