List of Nashville Sounds owners and executives

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An array of 14 men and 1 woman. Most are wearing satin jackets with "Sounds" across the front and baseball caps with an "N" on the center. One man is wearing a denim jacket and cowboy hat.
The Nashville Sounds ownership group consisted of 15 shareholders in their inaugural 1978 season. (Top row, from left: Bob Elliott, Billy Griggs, Jimmy Miller, Walter Nipper, Farrell Owens; Middle row: Jerry Reed, Larry Schmittou, Cal Smith, Gene Smith, Marcella Smith; Bottom row: Reese Smith Jr., Reese Smith III, Steven Smith, Conway Twitty, and L. E. White)

The Nashville Sounds Minor League Baseball team has played in Nashville, Tennessee, since its establishment in 1978. It was created as an expansion team of the Double-A Southern League, in which it competed through 1984.[1] The franchise moved to the Triple-A American Association in 1985 and then to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 1998.[1] The Sounds were originally owned by a local group, headed by Larry Schmittou, which included baseball figures, country musicians, and businessmen. Shares in the team subsequently changed hands multiple times. Since 2009, the Sounds have been owned by MFP Baseball, composed of real estate investors Masahiro Honzawa and Frank Ward.

In the franchise's history, 14 general managers (GMs) have been employed to oversee day-to-day operations. Among the responsibilities of the general manager are overseeing ticket and advertising sales, developing corporate relationships, managing front office and game-day staff, and maintaining the team's player development contract with their Major League Baseball affiliate.[2] The longest-tenured general manager is Schmittou with 13 years of service to the team in that role from 1980 to 1982 and 1987 to 1996. Adam Nuse has been the Sounds' GM since 2016.

Owners[edit]

A black and white portrait of a man
Country musician Conway Twitty helped spearhead the original Sounds investment group along with Larry Schmittou.
A black and white photograph of a smiling man wearing a cowboy hat and holding a microphone
Jerry Reed, one of several country musicians involved with the Sounds, was a part of the original investment group.
A man wearing a blue shirt and black jacket
Richard Sterban, bass singer of the Oak Ridge Boys, was a long-time shareholder.
Three men standing in front of blue stadium seats. One is wearing a blue baseball jersey, one is in a white dress shirt, and one is in a red baseball jersey.
Larry Gatlin (left) owned shares in the Sounds from 1985 to 1990.

Vanderbilt Commodores head baseball coach Larry Schmittou, with help from country musician Conway Twitty, put together a group of investors including other country artists Cal Smith, Jerry Reed, and L. E. White, as well as other Nashvillians, to finance the construction of Herschel Greer Stadium and the purchase of a minor league team.[3][4] Twenty shares valued at US$15,000 each were issued; Schmittou purchased two shares, or 10 percent of the team,[5] and Twitty purchased four shares for a 20 percent stake.[6] Shares were bought, sold, and inherited over the course of the next 18 years, but the Sounds largely remained a locally-owned franchise. By 1996, Schmittou (30 percent), Walter Nipper (29 percent), and brothers Mark, Reese III, and Stephen Smith (30 percent) had become the primary shareholders, with the remaining 11 percent in the hands of six minority partners.[7]

Following the 1996 season, Schmittou and Nipper sold their combined 59 percent interest for an estimated $4 million to Chicago businessmen Al Gordon, Mike Murtaugh, and Mike Woleben,[8] who operated as American Sports Enterprises.[9] Three years later, Gordon bought out his partners, who had acquired an additional 21 percent stake from other shareholders, and formed AmeriSports Companies as a parent company for the Sounds and his other sports holdings.[9][10] Gordon and the remaining minority partners, including the Smith brothers and Richard Sterban of country music group the Oak Ridge Boys,[11][12] sold their interests following the 2008 season to MFP Baseball consisting of New York City-based real estate investors Masahiro Honzawa, Steve Posner, and Frank Ward for an estimated $20 million.[13] Honzawa and Ward bought out Posner's share after the 2011 season.[14]

Table key
* Indicates a new owner since the previous group
No. Owners Season(s) Ref(s)
1 Bob Elliot, Billy Griggs, Jimmy Miller, Walter Nipper,
Farrell Owens, Jerry Reed, Larry Schmittou, Cal Smith,
Smith family (Gene Smith, Marcella Smith, Reese Smith Jr.,
Reese Smith III, Stephen Smith), Conway Twitty, L. E. White
1978 [15]
2 Bob Elliot, Billy Griggs, Jimmy Miller, Walter Nipper,
Farrell Owens, Jerry Reed, Larry Schmittou, Cal Smith,
Smith family (Gene Smith, Marcella Smith, Reese Smith Jr.,
Reese Smith III, Stephen Smith), Richard Sterban*, Conway Twitty,
L. E. White
1979–1984 [16][17]
3 Bob Elliot, Larry Gatlin*, Billy Griggs, Jimmy Miller,
Walter Nipper, Farrell Owens, Jerry Reed, Larry Schmittou,
Cal Smith, Smith family (Gene Smith, Mark Smith*,
Reese Smith Jr., Reese Smith III, Stephen Smith), Richard Sterban,
Conway Twitty
1985 [18]
4 Larry Gatlin, Walter Nipper, Jerry Reed, Larry Schmittou,
Cal Smith, Smith family (Mark Smith, Reese Smith Jr.,
Reese Smith III, Stephen Smith), Richard Sterban, Conway Twitty
1986–1988 [19][20]
5 Bob Burgess*, Darrell Evans*, Larry Gatlin, Walter Nipper,
Jerry Reed, Larry Schmittou, Smith family (Mark Smith,
Reese Smith Jr., Reese Smith III, Stephen Smith), Gary Spicer*,
Richard Sterban, Conway Twitty
1989 [21]
6 Bob Burgess, Darrell Evans, Larry Gatlin, Walter Nipper,
Jerry Reed, Larry Schmittou, Smith family (Mark Smith,
Reese Smith Jr., Reese Smith III, Stephen Smith), Gary Spicer,
Richard Sterban
1990 [22][23]
7 D. Roscoe Buttrey family*, Lew Conner*, E. Bronson Ingram II*, Walter Nipper,
Jerry Reed, Larry Schmittou, Smith family (Reese Smith Jr.,
Reese Smith III, Stephen Smith), Richard Sterban, William Wilson*
1991 [24]
8 D. Roscoe Buttrey family, Lew Conner, E. Bronson Ingram II, Walter Nipper,
Jerry Reed, Larry Schmittou, Smith family (Reese Smith III,
Stephen Smith), Richard Sterban, William Wilson
1992 [25]
9 D. Roscoe Buttrey family, Lew Conner, E. Bronson Ingram II, Walter Nipper,
Jerry Reed, Larry Schmittou, Smith family (Mark Smith*,
Reese Smith III, Stephen Smith), Richard Sterban, William Wilson
1993–1995 [26][27]
10 D. Roscoe Buttrey family, Lew Conner, Martha Ingram*, Walter Nipper,
Jerry Reed, Larry Schmittou, Smith family (Mark Smith,
Reese Smith III, Stephen Smith), Richard Sterban, William Wilson
1996 [28]
11 Majority: Al Gordon*, Mike Murtaugh*, Mike Woleben*
Minority: D. Roscoe Buttrey family, Lew Conner, Martha Ingram,
Jerry Reed, Smith family (Mark Smith, Reese Smith III,
Stephen Smith), Richard Sterban, William Wilson
1997–1998 [8]
12 Majority: Al Gordon
Minority: Smith family, Richard Sterban, other partners
1999–2008 [10][11][12]
13 Masahiro Honzawa*, Steve Posner*, Frank Ward* 2009–2011 [29]
14 Masahiro Honzawa, Frank Ward 2012–present [14][30]

General managers[edit]

A man wearing a blue satin jacket with "Sounds" across the chest in white and red and a blue cap with a white "N" on the front
Farrell Owens was the Sounds' general manager in their first two seasons (1978–1979).
A black and white portrait of a smiling man
Larry Schmittou won league executive awards in 1978, 1987, and 1989 during his time as team president (1978–1996) and GM (1980–1982 and 1987–1996).

Farrell Owens, a local amateur baseball player and coach, served as the Sounds' first general manager from 1978 to 1979.[31] Larry Schmittou shared duties with Owens as the team's president, a role in which he served from 1978 to 1996.[32] Schmittou took on additional responsibilities from 1980 to 1982 as general manager. In 1978, 1980, and 1981, the Sounds won the Larry MacPhail Award for outstanding minor league promotions under Owens and Schmittou.[33] The Southern League selected Schmittou as their Executive of the Year in 1978 and inducted him into the Southern League Hall of Fame in 2016.[34][35]

In February 1983, Schmittou was hired by the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball as their vice president and director of marketing.[36] He retained his position as team president, but relinquished the GM role to George Dyce, who was previously the team's business manager.[36] Dyce managed the day-to-day operations of the club until Schmittou returned to Nashville after the 1986 season. The American Association selected Schmittou as Executive of the Year in 1987 and 1989.[37][38] He continued as GM until the sale of the team following the 1996 season.[32]

The new owners utilized the general managers of the Class A Kane County Cougars team, which they also owned, as GMs at Nashville: Bill Larsen from 1997 to 1998 and Jeff Sedivy in 1999.[39] Former Opryland GM Tommy Moncreif was brought in for the 2000 season.[40] In July 2000, dissatisfied with attendance,[41] owner Al Gordon hired former Nashville Kats executive Sharon Burns as vice president for sales, marketing, and communications and made Moncreif vice president of business operations.[42] The two split the duties usually assigned to a general manager.[42] Moncrief was dismissed in May 2001, and his responsibilities were assumed by other staff members.[43] In July 2001, Glenn Yaeger, the chief operating officer of the team's parent company, was named GM.[44] Criticized for his inability to work out a plan with the city for a new ballpark to replace the aging Greer Stadium, Yaeger was dismissed in May 2008 and replaced by Joe Hart,[45] the team's director of sales.[46] Hart remained with the team until its sale to MFP Baseball after the season.[29]

George King, previously the PCL's vice president of business and operations, was hired by the new owners to serve as GM from 2009 to 2010.[29] Brad Tammen, the team's former vice president of sales and marketing, guided them from 2011 to 2014.[47] PCL veteran GM Garry Arthur was brought on in 2015 as the team prepared to move into the new First Tennessee Park that season.[48] Arthur retired in April 2016, and co-owner Frank Ward assumed the duties of GM on an interim basis.[49] Adam Nuse was hired on May 2, 2016, after serving in the same capacity for the Class A Bowling Green Hot Rods for two seasons.[50]

No. General manager Seasons Ref(s)
1 Farrell Owens 1978–1979 [51][52]
2 Larry Schmittou 1980–1982 [36][52]
3 George Dyce 1983–1986 [36][53]
Larry Schmittou 1987–1996 [53][54]
4 Bill Larsen 1997–1998 [55]
5 Jeff Sedivy 1999 [39][56]
6 Tommy Moncrief 2000–2001 [43][56]
7 Sharon Burns 2000–2001 [42][44]
8 Glenn Yaeger 2001–2008 [45][57]
9 Joe Hart 2008 [45][58]
10 George King 2009–2010 [29][47]
11 Brad Tammen 2011–2014 [47][59]
12 Garry Arthur 2015–2016 [48][49]
13 Frank Ward 2016 [49]
14 Adam Nuse 2016–present [50]

References[edit]

Specific
  1. ^ a b Weiss, Bill; Wright, Marshall (2001). "Top 100 Teams". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  2. ^ "General Manager Job Description". Quad Cities River Bandits. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  3. ^ Woody 1996, p. 64–65.
  4. ^ Nipper 2007, p. 101.
  5. ^ Woody 1996, p. 190.
  6. ^ Chick, Bob (June 17, 1980). Top of the Chart. The Evening Independent. St. Petersburg. p. 2–C. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  7. ^ Coleman, Anthony (November 7, 1996). "Buyers Expect to Keep Sounds in Town". The Tennessean. Nashville. p. 1C. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Chicago Men Reach Agreement to Buy 60 Percent of Franchise". Associated Press. November 7, 1996. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Patton, Maurice (June 24, 1999). "Sounds Owner Gordon Buys out Partners". The Tennessean. Nashville. p. 6C. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Russell, Keith (December 12, 1999). "Baseball Team Looks for Sound Management". Nashville Business Journal. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Thomas, David (September 10, 2016). "Business of Baseball: Behind the Plate with Gens Chief". The Jackson Sun. Jackson. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Paxman, Bob (October 5, 2015). "Richard Sterban of the Oak Ridge Boys: Mr. Baseball". Nash Country Daily. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  13. ^ Rau, Nate (October 30, 2008). "Sounds Sale Announced". Nashville Post. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Burke, Mack (August 27, 2014). "A Field Full of Memories: Current Ownership Era". The Tennessean. Nashville. p. 7A. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  15. ^ "Owners". The Nashville Sounds 1978 Official Souvenir Program. Nashville Sounds. 1978. p. 3.
  16. ^ "Owners". The Nashville Sounds 1979 Official Souvenir Program. Nashville Sounds. 1979. pp. 2–3.
  17. ^ "Owners". The Nashville Sounds 1984 Official Souvenir Program. Nashville Sounds. 1984. pp. 6–7.
  18. ^ "Sounds Owners". The Nashville Sounds 1985 Official Souvenir Program. Nashville Sounds. 1985. p. 6.
  19. ^ "Sounds Owners". The Nashville Sounds 1986 Official Souvenir Program. Nashville Sounds. 1986. pp. 6–7.
  20. ^ "Sounds Owners". The Nashville Sounds 1988 Official Souvenir Program. Nashville Sounds. 1988. pp. 10–11.
  21. ^ "Sounds Owners". The Nashville Sounds 1989 Official Souvenir Program. Nashville Sounds. 1989. pp. 14–15.
  22. ^ "Sounds Owners". The Nashville Sounds 1990 Official Souvenir Program. Nashville Sounds. 1990. pp. 14–15.
  23. ^ Hinkle, Don (June 24, 1990). "Play Ball and Cash Will Flow". The Tennessean. Nashville. p. 5-D. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  24. ^ "Sounds Owners". The Nashville Sounds 1991 Official Souvenir Program. Nashville Sounds. 1991. pp. 14–15.
  25. ^ "Sounds Owners". The Nashville Sounds 1992 Official Souvenir Program. Nashville Sounds. 1992. pp. 14–15.
  26. ^ "Sounds Owners". The Nashville Sounds 1993 Official Souvenir Program. Nashville Sounds. 1993. p. 10.
  27. ^ "Sounds Owners". The Nashville Sounds 1995 Official Souvenir Program. Nashville Sounds. 1995. p. 10.
  28. ^ "Sounds Owners". The Nashville Sounds 1996 Souvenir Program. Nashville Sounds. 1996. p. 12.
  29. ^ a b c d Wild, Danny (February 26, 2009). "Sounds Get New Ownership Group, GM". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved June 21, 2014..
  30. ^ "Ownership". Nashville Sounds. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  31. ^ Traughber, Bill (May 26, 2014). "Looking Back: Farrell Owens Was Sounds' First GM". Nashville Sounds. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  32. ^ a b Nipper 2007, p. 115.
  33. ^ "Larry MacPhail Award". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  34. ^ "Sounds' Schmittou Selected Top Southern League Executive". The Tennessean. Nashville. December 2, 1978. p. 25. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  35. ^ "Southern League Announces 2016 Hall Class". Southern League. Minor League Baseball. February 16, 2016. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  36. ^ a b c d "Dyce Named GM of Sounds". The Tennessean. Nashville. February 11, 1983. p. 4-C. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  37. ^ "Schmittou Honored as Executive of Year". The Tennessean. Nashville. November 3, 1987. p. 1-C. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  38. ^ "AA Selects Schmittou as Top Executive". The Tennessean. Nashville. October 4, 1989. p. 1-C. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  39. ^ a b Callow, John (November 3, 1998). "Move Onward, Upward". The Daily News-Journal. Murfreesboro, Tennessee. p. 5B. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  40. ^ Patton, Maurice (October 26, 1999). "Former Opryland Official Named Sounds GM". The Tennessean. Nashville. p. 6C. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  41. ^ Biddle, Joe (July 2, 2000). "Sounds Change in Front Office Expected Soon". The Tennessean. Nashville. p. 2C. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  42. ^ a b c Patton, Maurice (August 1, 2000). "Expansion a Goal for Sounds Owner". The Tennessean. Nashville. p. 5C. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  43. ^ a b Patton, Maurice (May 30, 2001). "Sounds Shake up Front Office". The Tennessean. Nashville. p. 2C. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  44. ^ a b Patton, Maurice (August 1, 2001). "Sounds Personnel Leaving". The Tennessean. Nashville. p. 2C. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  45. ^ a b c Whitehouse, Ken (May 15, 2008). "News Analysis: City Listening for New Sound from Sounds". Nashville Post. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  46. ^ "The 2007 Nashville Sounds Administration". 2007 Nashville Sounds 1979 Souvenir Program. Nashville Sounds. 2007. p. 61.
  47. ^ a b c "Brad Tammen Named Sounds General Manager". Minor League Baseball. September 2, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  48. ^ a b "Garry Arthur Named Chief Operating Officer". Nashville Sounds. Minor League Baseball. January 26, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  49. ^ a b c "Sounds GM and COO Garry Arthur to Retire". Nashville Sounds. Minor League Baseball. April 15, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  50. ^ a b "Sounds Tab Adam Nuse as New General Manager". Nashville Sounds. Minor League Baseball. May 2, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  51. ^ Hanna, Jeff (April 26, 1978). "Sounds Try to Open Up". The Tennessean. Nashville. p. 20. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  52. ^ a b Squires, Tom (November 27, 1979). "Sounds Audit Clears Schmittou in Fund Handling". The Tennessean. Nashville. p. 10. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  53. ^ a b Davy, Jimmy (November 26, 1986). "Schmittou Back at Helm; Dyce Promoted". The Tennessean. Nashville. p. 1-E. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  54. ^ Morris, Dan (January 14, 1997). "Cultural Landscape Changes". The Jackson Sun. Jackson, Tennessee. p. 1C. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  55. ^ Patton, Maurice (October 14, 1997). "Larsen Ends Successful General Manager Reign". The Tennessean. Nashville. p. 5C. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  56. ^ a b Patton, Maurice (November 6, 1999). "More Resignations Hit Sounds". The Tennessean. Nashville. p. 2C. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  57. ^ Duncan, Walker (May 15, 2008). "Sounds Make Line-up Changes". Nashville Post. Archived from the original on July 19, 2008. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  58. ^ Ghiroli, Brittany (August 27, 2008). "Rays, Ripken Join to Buy FSL Team". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  59. ^ "Sounds General Manager Resigns". The Tennessean. September 5, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
General
  • Nipper, Skip (2007). Baseball in Nashville. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-4391-8.
  • Woody, Larry (1996). Schmittou: A Grand Slam in Baseball, Business, and Life. Nashville: Eggmann Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-886371-33-0.

External links[edit]