Timberwolves & Lynx Statement On The Passing Of Lynx COO Conrad Smith
Minnesota Lynx Chief Operating Officer Conrad Smith passed away peacefully Wednesday night, surrounded by his family. A long time member of the Wolves and Lynx organization, Smith left his mark on the Minneapolis market, owning the rare honor of winning three championships in three separate leagues – with the Lynx in 2011, Twins in 1991 and Jacksonville Tea Men in 1983 – and working nearly 30 years in professional sports including stops with the Minnesota North Stars, Minnesota Strikers and Minnesota Twins. Smith spent the last 18+ years with the Timberwolves and Lynx organization, helping shape the Lynx business operations and develop the Timberwolves flourishing corporate sales department. Since November 2008, Smith served as the Lynx Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the Lynx ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, marketing and public relations departments. Prior to the position, he served as the Timberwolves Vice President of New Business Development and Corporate Sales, helping further the development of the corporate sales department.
The following is a collection of statements surrounding the life of Conrad Smith from his colleagues and friends:
Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx owner Glen Taylor: "On behalf of the entire Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx organization, we are extremely saddened about the passing of Conrad Smith. I send my deepest condolences to his wife Carla, his children Tara, Brenton and Christine, and the entire Smith family.
A member of our Timberwolves and Lynx family for more than 18 years and a long-time sports executive in the Twin Cities, Conrad was a true professional in every sense of the word. It was Conrad’s leadership and passion that helped make the Lynx franchise a business success, and for many years he was integral to the growth and development of our Wolves corporate sales department.
But more importantly, Conrad was a tremendous husband, father and friend. Nothing meant more to Conrad than his loving family, and he always shared stories about their lives. His lively personality, quick wit and everlasting smile will be missed by everyone who came in contact with him. Please keep Conrad and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Minnesota Lynx Executive Vice President Roger Griffith: “Conrad will be incredibly missed. He did an outstanding job running the business side of the Lynx organization, and he shaped our franchise into the successful business that it is today. Conrad was excellent at creating a personal connection with everyone he worked with, making him one of the most beloved members of our organization.”
Minnesota Timberwolves & Lynx president Chris Wright: “Simply put, Conrad is irreplaceable. I have known and worked with Conrad since 1986, and his professionalism and passion for his work is unlike anyone I’ve ever met. His contributions to the Minneapolis market over the last few decades are unprecedented, having worked with the Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Strikers, Minnesota North Stars and Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx. Conrad was great human being who cared for his friends, his colleagues and staff and those who were in need in our market. He will be missed as a colleague and, more importantly, a great friend.”
Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve: "It was my pleasure getting to know Conrad. Since the day I joined the Minnesota Lynx I found him to be such a great supporter of the team and our league. I especially enjoyed Conrad's sense of humor. It gives me great joy to know how much winning the 2011 WNBA Championship meant to him. He will be greatly missed by our staff, players, and fans."
Minnesota Lynx assistant coach Jim Petersen: “Conrad Smith was one of the first people I met when I joined the Timberwolves family in 1998. He quickly became a great friend because he was always full of life and armed with a funny story or a kind word. When Conrad switched duties and moved from the Timberwolves side to the Lynx side in 2008, he did so at a time when the Lynx were running in the red and struggling financially. In 4 years he helped the Lynx become a championship team into profitability. When we found out Conrad was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011 our organization was devastated, however Conrad handled the diagnoses with incredible bravery and optimism. He never stopped being positive and fought every step of the way. I will always remember Conrad nor only for his kindness and humor, but for his incredible bravery in the face of adversity. He truly is one of the greatest people I have ever met in sports. I will miss him immensely as a friend.”
WNBA president Laurel Richie: “I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Conrad Smith. He was one of the first COOs I met when I joined the league. He welcomed me with a warm handshake and broad ‘Conrad smile’ that immediately put me at ease. We spent the day together sharing our dreams for the WNBA, and I remember being struck by the fact that his knowledge of the business was every bit as deep as his passion for the game, our players and the twin cities. Conrad took great pride in his work, and his efforts were rewarded when the Lynx captured their first WNBA title in 2011. On behalf of the entire WNBA Family, I extend our heartfelt sympathies to the Smith family.”
Minnesota Twins president Dave St. Peter: “Conrad Smith was the consummate professional but more importantly a tremendous husband, father and friend. His contributions to the Twin Cities sports community were significant highlighted by being part of two World Championship teams – the 1991 Twins and the 2011 Minnesota Lynx. That said, his role as a mentor to so many young colleagues, along with the inspirational attitude and fearless approach in dealing with cancer will be among his greatest legacies. Conrad Smith embodied the Twins Tradition and will be forever remembered.”
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