3. Larry Baer, Giants president and CEO: Stepped up to the big office after team’s executive board ousted Bill Neukom. Baer has many balls to juggle, given team’s broadcasting interests and a potential arena deal with the Warriors near AT&T Park. Last year: Honorable mention.

4. Ted Griggs, vice-president and general manager, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area: Has built regional cable network into a must-view destination for Northern California sports fans. Partnership with the new Pac-12 network should bring even more influence. Last year: 3.

5. Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, Warriors owners: Lacob is the CEO and franchise’s voice. He’s talked loudly about where he wants the team to go. San Francisco is probably a good eventual bet. On the court, jury’s still out. Guber, less vocal, is active behind the scenes. Last year: 7.

6. Lew Wolff, A’s and Earthquakes
owner: As he awaits MLB decision on a San Jose move, his patience is admirable. But Wolff’s decision not to aggressively lobby for the project may still come back to haunt him. At least Quakes’ stadium project is progressing. Last year: 5.

7. Mark Davis, Raiders owner: Death of his father threw team into Mark’s lap and franchise future into question. This offseason will be riveting as Davis decides if he’ll sell his controlling ownership share or wants to join 49ers in their new stadium. Last year: Not ranked.

8. Kevin Compton and Stratton Sclavos, Sharks owners: Team’s power structure became more clear in 2011 after Greg Jamison’s departure. Ownership group has 10 people but Compton and Sclavos are at the top of the pyramid. Last year: Compton 6, Sclavos Not Ranked.

9. Larry Scott, Pac-12 Conference commissioner: No person had more impact on West Coast college sports in 2011 than Scott, in just his second year on job. From his East Bay office, Scott added Utah and Colorado to league while landing rich TV deal. Last year: Not ranked.

10. Brian Sabean, Giants general manager: Earned contract extension with another contending team, which fell short. But ballpark was packed most nights, spawning record revenue. Sabean’s baseball decisions are largely unquestioned by Baer and ownership. Last year: 8.

11. Amy Trask, Raiders chief executive: Held front office operation together in a roiling year with death of Al Davis and ongoing stadium issue. Trask’s top achievement, however, was in finding a way to fill the O.co Coliseum seats and prevent TV blackouts. Last year: 9.

12. Billy Beane, A’s vice-president and general manager: Slipped another notch this year because he can’t seem to reboot formula that worked for Brad Pitt in “Moneyball.” Beane says he needs San Jose ballpark resolution to sign long-term deals. Last year: 11.

13. Bob Bowlsby, Stanford athletic director: Smartly hired David Shaw as football coach after Harbaugh’s exit. With Shaw and Luck (Andrew), the Cardinal returned to a BCS bowl. Women’s soccer NCAA title earned Bowlsby’s tweed sports coat a back pat. Last year: 12.

14. Trent Baalke, 49ers general manager: Drafted fine rookie class with pass-rusher Aldon Smith and running back Kendall Hunter. Signed free agents cornerback Carlos Rogers and kicker David Akers. Helped Harbaugh through rookie NFL coaching season. Last year: Not ranked.

15. Hue Jackson, Raiders football coach: Became de facto general manager after death of Al Davis. Jackson’s trade for quarterback Carson Palmer will be debated for years, but it was a decisive move that will define team for years. Last year: Not ranked.

16. Steve Page, Infineon Raceway CEO: The racing machines keep roaring across Sonoma County track, and the motorheads keep showing up to watch. Attendance rallied a bit this season for track’s top events. Page finds ways to fill other weekends, as well. Last year: 15.

17. Sandy Barbour, Cal athletic director: Navigated extremely awkward hiccup with Bears’ eliminated/resurrected baseball team that happily reached the College World Series. School’s new football stadium opens in 2012. She’ll have a challenge filling it. Last year: 10.

18. Doug Wilson, Sharks general manager: Always puts entertaining product on the ice that sells out HP Pavilion. Playoff games every year produce added dollars for an ownership group that implicitly trusts him. But the Stanley Cup remains elusive. Last year: 13.

19. Jim Harbaugh, 49ers football coach: His remarkable turnaround leadership gives him much power capital to spend, if he wishes. Already has a private bathroom, so he’ll more likely push for QB Alex Smith’s contract renewal — and get it. Last year: Not ranked.

20. John Fry, PGA Tour sponsor and Arena Football League owner: Hired the right people and oversaw a rousing success with the 2011 Frys.com Open when Tiger Woods entered and drew large crowds. SaberCats weren’t as successful in their new incarnation. Last year: 14.

21. Bill Bungeroth, Cumulus Media vice-president and San Francisco market manager: Overseer/sheriff at KNBR, Bay Area’s top-rated sports talk radio station. Cut budget but re-inked Ralph Barbieri to keep P.M. drive-time duo with Tom Tolbert intact. Last year: Not ranked.

22. Larry Riley, Warriors general manager: With exit of Don Nelson, Riley has no challengers in team’s day-to-day decision making, even with an earful of advice by new executive board member Jerry West (whose role remains fluidly unclear). Last year: Not ranked.

23. Tara VanDerveer, Stanford women’s basketball coach: As the Bay Area’s most recognizable female sports figure and 2011 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, she has platform to advocate on behalf of her gender, sport and school. Last year: Honorable mention.

24. Patricia Ernstrom, San Jose Sports Authority executive director: Her quiet hard work has landed two premier 2012 events for the South Bay: U.S. Figure Skating Championships and U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Trials. Last year: Honorable mention.

25. Larry Ellison, Oracle Corporation CEO and yachting major-domo: Wangled deal with San Francisco to host 2013 America’s Cup races on the Bay, which he intends to dominate. Fans will get taste of sailing action with prelim races this summer. Last year: Not ranked.

HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order): John Arrillaga (Stanford booster/donor), Jason Barrett (Program Director, 95.7 The Game), Randy Bennett (Saint Mary’s basketball coach), Tom Bowen (San Jose State athletic director), Gary Cavalli (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl executive director), Dan Coonan (Santa Clara athletic director), John Doyle (Earthquakes general manager), Bill Duffy (sports agent), Lee Hammer (KNBR program director), R.J. Harper (Pebble Beach senior vice-president of golf), Tim Lincecum (Giants pitcher), Jerry West (Warriors executive board member and adviser).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.