Executive of the Year: The Finalists

This story originally appeared in Mile High Sports Magazine. Read the full digital edition.

After engineering major roster moves and a near worst-to-first turnaround, Rapids president Tim Hinchey is our Executive of the Year. Read the full story here.

But 2016 was a banner year in Colorado sports for other reasons. These finalists for our Executive of the Year award helped make it so.

Jeff Bridich
Colorado Rockies – General Manager

To say there have been some lean years at Coors Field would be an understatement. But over the past 18 months, Colorado Rockies GM Jeff Bridich has made some important moves that could turn the Rockies’ fortunes for the better.

Say what you will about the Troy Tulowitzki trade, but the fact of the matter is that Bridich helped the Rockies dump a contract north of $100 million belonging to an aging and oft-injured shortstop. Bridich should also be commended for his decision to let go of Walt Weiss after another losing campaign, replacing him with Bud Black, who had no previous ties to the organization.

John Elway
Denver Broncos – Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager

Let’s face it: Based on what we’ve seen so far from the Broncos’ legendary quarterback turned GM, John Elway is always going to be in the running for Executive of the Year. In 2016, Elway not only hauled in the franchise’s third Lombardi Trophy, but he continued to bolster a Super Bowl caliber roster. Never afraid to make tough decisions (see Britton Colquitt, Malik Jackson), Elway boldly locked down franchise players such as Von Miller, Emmanuel Sanders and Darian Stewart, ensuring the Broncos will always be among the AFC elite.

Joe Garone
Furniture Row Racing – General Manager

Denver’s own Furniture Row Racing team has challenged the status quo by showing that the boys out west can be just as fast as their southern counterparts. With four wins, five poles and the most leading laps of any Cup driver (1,809), 2016 marked the greatest campaign ever for both Furniture Row and lead driver Martin Truex Jr. GM Joe Garone has been behind it all. He inked Truex Jr. to a two-year extension back in August and announced the expansion of its team with the addition of up-and-coming star Erik Jones and the No. 77 car, debuting in the 2017 season.

Rick George
University of Colorado – Athletic Director

The CU Board of Regents is host to a fair share of varying opinions. Regardless, the board voted unanimously in favor of extending CU athletic director Rick George back in June, a decision which has already begun to pay off. George’s most notable accomplishments to date include fundraising efforts of over $100 million as well as the oversight of a $166 million facilities upgrade. George can also take a fair share of credit for CU football’s return to prominence in 2016, putting his faith behind head coach Mike MacIntyre long before the start of a season in which the Buffs finished first in the Pac-12 South.

Tony Seaman
Denver Outlaws – General Manager

Life can be hard for the pro sports executive. Your team starts to lose; you ship off a fan favorite; you become villainized. But make shrewd moves and win a championship, and you’re a genius. Outlaws GM Tony Seaman saw it all during the 2016 MLL Season. First, his squad got off to a disappointing 2-6 start. Then, Seaman ruffled a few feathers when he shipped living lacrosse legend John Grant Jr. at the trade deadline, but a late season push allowed the Outlaws to finish 8-6 and earn a playoff berth that ultimately yielded the team’s second MLL title.