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Four New Trustees Elected to Little League Foundation

Neil Austrian
Ann Meyers Drysdale
John Grisham
Arte Moreno
NEW YORK (May 19, 2005) – Neil Austrian (former president of the NFL), Ann Meyers Drysdale (Basketball Hall of Famer), John Grisham (author, screenwriter), and Arte Moreno (owner of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), are the newest trustees of the Little League Foundation. The four were elected on Tuesday at the foundation’s annual meeting.

Celebrating 50 years since its inception, the Little League Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt agency established to stabilize and insure the future of Little League – the world’s largest organized youth sports program – and to protect its ideals, and extend its benefits.

“For a half-century, the projects supported by the Little League Foundation have been vital to the success of the organization,” Howard Paster, president of the Little League Foundation, said. “The foundation has always strived to include trustees who not only share the ideals of Little League, but who also represent a wide variety of backgrounds. We are continuing that tradition with the addition of these four outstanding trustees.”

Mr. Austrian was president of the NFL from 1991 to 1999, and is a director for Office Depot. Prior to that, he was a managing director of Dillon, Read & Co., an investment-banking firm, where he was co-head of the leveraged buyout group. Before Dillon Read, Mr. Austrian was Chairman and CEO of Showtime/The Movie Channel. Mr. Austrian serves currently on the boards of Hughes Electronics (DirecTV) and the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America. He is on the advisory Board of Mid-Ocean Partners, a private equity firm. He lives in Old Greenwich, Conn.

Ms. Meyers Drysdale was one of the greatest players in women’s basketball history. In 1978, she graduated from UCLA owning 12 of 13 school records and leading the Bruins to a national championship. She was rewarded with the Broderick Cup as both the Outstanding Collegiate Basketball Player and Female Athlete in the country. Currently a women’s basketball television analyst, Ms. Meyers Drysdale was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993, and with her late husband Don Drysdale, legendary pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, they make up the only husband-wife combination in major sports halls of fame. She lives in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Mr. Grisham, who played Little League in Southhaven, Miss., is one of the world’s best-selling authors, with several of his novels making it to the big screen. His original screenplay “Mickey” was released in theaters last year, with most of the final scenes filmed at Little League International in Williamsport, Pa. He divides his time between homes in Oxford, Miss., and Charlottesville, Va.

Mr. Moreno grew up working in his parents’ print shop in Tucson, Ariz., where they published a Spanish-language newspaper. He went on to serve in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, then returned to earn a degree in marketing from the University of Arizona. In the 1970s and ‘80s, Mr. Moreno transformed a small business into the largest outdoor advertising company in North America. In 2003, Mr. Moreno became the third team owner in the history of the Angels, and the first Hispanic to own a Major League Baseball franchise. He lives in Phoenix, Ariz., where he coached his sons in Little League.

Some of the projects of Little League supported by the Little League Foundation have included: construction of the Headquarters Building and Howard J. Lamade Stadium (where the Little League World Series is played) in Williamsport. Pa., the Little League Urban Initiative (an initiative to bring baseball to urban youths), an anti-spit tobacco program, a drug and alcohol awareness program, a traffic safety program, the Challenger Division for mentally and physically impaired children, expansion of Little League training programs in other states and countries, and research.

The Little League Foundation employs no outside fund-raising agencies and limits its drive to an annual appeal during the second week of June, in which Flag Day occurs. This week was designated National Little League Baseball Week by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and President John F. Kennedy.

Mr. Paster is executive vice president, public relations/public affairs, at WPP Group, and was previously chairman and chief executive officer of Hill & Knowlton, Inc. He joined the WPP parent company in August 2002, overseeing WPP's portfolio of public relations and public affairs businesses. Prior to joining Hill & Knowlton, he served as assistant to President Bill Clinton and director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. He is a member of the board of trustees of Tuskegee University, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Other foundation officers are Dr. Creighton J. Hale of Williamsport, Pa. (senior vice president), and Stephen D. Keener of Williamsport (vice president/secretary).

Current trustees of the Little League Foundation also include: Jane Forbes Clark, New York City; Leonard S. Coleman, Jr., New York City; Joe P. Crookham, Oskaloosa, Iowa; Peter G. Diamandis, Greenwich, Conn.; Eric M. Hilton, Beverly Hills, Calif.; Bowie Kuhn, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; Dennis Lewin, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.; Peter O’Malley, Los Angeles; Iris Raiford, New York City; Jin Roy Ryu, Seoul, Korea; Tom Seaver, Calistoga, Calif.; Dr. Louis Sullivan, Atlanta; George F. Will, Washington, D.C.; and Fred Wilpon, Great Neck, N.Y.

Some past trustees of the Little League Foundation include Bob Hope, Walt Disney, Walter O’Malley, William A. “Bill” Shea, Jack Kent Cooke, and Lawrence Welk.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world largest youth sports organization, with approximately 2.7 million players in all 50 states and scores of other countries. About 35 million people have played or volunteered for Little League in its 66-year history.