In a gradual transfer of power, Ravens owner Art Modell announced yesterday that his son David has become the team's president and chief operating officer, and will run the club's daily operations.
Art Modell, who will remain as CEO of the club, also promoted son John Modell from executive producer of Ravens' Entertainment to vice president of special projects. John is 38 and David is 37.
"We're a family business and this is the logical next step," said Art Modell. "They both carry the extra weight of being the sons of the boss, but both have earned their promotions. Often times, family members do not get enough credit for working hard and having talent. Both David and John have earned respect from the members of the organization and from others outside the Ravens."
Art Modell, 73, though, was firm in declaring that he still had the final say in all decisions.
"Actually, I'm not relinquishing anything that I have not done before, but at age 42, I could use a little help," he said, laughing.
Ravens vice president of player personnel, Ozzie Newsome, will still handle the draft and work closely with new coach Brian Billick in signing free agents. David Modell has spent the past three seasons in Baltimore as executive vice president in charge of the marketing department. Now he will oversee other areas such as public relations, ticket sales, facilities, security and special events.
David Modell started out working with the franchise when he was 14, as a member of the grounds crew at Cleveland Stadium.
"Just as Brian and the team must pay attention to detail, so must we," said David Modell. "You have to have a vision, but set realistic goals. You have to communicate internally as well as externally and hold everyone accountable. This isn't the beginning, but the continuation of a first-class business. We're going to be first-class and compassionate. No one can argue about the success we've had in the past."
David Modell's role has grown since the team moved to Baltimore. He was the point guy three years ago in the negotiations with rookie offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, the first draft pick in Ravens history. He also was instrumental in the process of selecting the team's name, colors and uniform design.
David Modell was the lead person for the Ravens in the recent contract signed by the team and PSINet that will pay the team a then sports franchise mark of $105.5 million over the next 20 years for naming and other exclusive rights to Baltimore's new $223 million football stadium. Both Modell and Newsome were the main organizers in the coaching search that led to the hiring of Billick, one of the hottest assistant coaches in the NFL.
"This is a dream day for me," said David Modell. "I love to work and I love to go to work with these great associates at the Ravens. I love this organization and the love will grow as we share future victories. To become president of this organization is humbling."
John Modell also has been with the franchise since he was 14, but has become more active since the team moved to Baltimore. He coordinatored the installation and use of the SmartVision boards at the new stadium and is responsible for game-day entertainment for the Ravens along with other special events.
John Modell also is president of Modular Entertainment, a music and multimedia production company he founded.
"John started and owns a successful production company in Los Angeles and he'll continue that and live there," said Art Modell. "But he'll also help us with all of our special events at the stadium and attract some of those for Baltimore."
Pub Date: 2/05/99