Magic GM John Weisbrod Resigns

Twardzik & Smith to Direct Magic Basketball Operations; Jim Fritz to Oversee Business Operations

ORLANDO, FLA. – Orlando Magic president and chief executive officer Bob Vander Weide announced today that general manager/chief operating officer John Weisbrod has resigned his position to pursue an opportunity in hockey.

In addition, Vander Weide announced that director of player personnel Dave Twardzik and director of player development Otis Smith will lead Magic basketball operations. Jim Fritz will continue in his role as executive vice president of business.

“We wish John all the best in making a return to the sport of his passion,” said Vander Weide. “We thank him for his leadership and vision over the past eight years. He will be missed.”

“Dave and Otis complement each other very well and have formed a unique bond,” added Vander Weide. “They bring a wide range of experience, great energy, dedication, leadership and vision to our basketball operations.

“Jim, who has been with us for 10-plus years, has been overseeing our day-to-day business operations for more than a year. He grew up in Orlando and has strong roots in the community. He has outstanding knowledge and expertise in regard to business strategic planning, fan relations, community relations, corporate relations, finance and marketing.”

Weisbrod joined the RDV Sports family in September of 1997 as vice president and general manager of the Orlando Solar Bears. In four years under his direction, the Solar Bears had the highest winning percentage in the International Hockey League. Orlando won two Eastern Conference crowns during Weisbrod’s tenure and captured the IHL’s Turner Cup championship in 2000-01.

In 2000, Weisbrod was named chief operating officer of RDV Sports. He was named the general manager of the Orlando Magic on March 12, 2004.

Twardzik was named the Magic’s director of player personnel on September 15, 2003. He has more than 29 years of professional basketball experience as a player, coach and front office executive.

Twardzik has worked in a variety of areas with several NBA team’s basketball operations departments. He served as general manager of Golden State from 1995-97. Prior to joining the Warriors, he spent five seasons with the Charlotte Hornets, beginning as director of scouting in 1990. He was promoted to director of player personnel in 1991, a position he held until joining Golden State in 1995.

Twardzik has been on the bench as an assistant coach with Indiana (1986-89), the Los Angeles Clippers (1989-90) and Detroit (2000-01). He was a member of Portland’s front office from 1981-85 and has also served as a scout for Sacramento (regional/advance scout in 1999-2000; college scout in 2001-02) and Denver (college scout in 1997-99).

Despite being selected with the 26th overall pick of the 1972 NBA Draft by Portland, Twardzik began his professional playing career with the ABA’s Virginia Squires. During his four ABA seasons, he averaged 9.0 ppg. and 3.2 apg. and was named an ABA All-Star in 1975.

Following the ABA-NBA merger in 1976, Twardzik joined Portland and helped the Trail Blazers capture the NBA title in 1976-77. During the championship season, Twardzik set a franchise record by hitting 61.2 percent of his field goals. He appeared in 280 career NBA regular season outings with the Trail Blazers, averaging 9.5 ppg., 3.4 apg. and 2.5 rpg., and had his jersey number 13 retired by Portland on October 11, 1981.

A native of Middletown, Penn., Twardzik attended Old Dominion University and was twice named an All-American (1970-71, 1971-72). He and his wife, Kathe, have two children: Monika (28) and Matthew (22).

Smith was named Orlando’s director of player development on September 15, 2003. He assists in all aspects of the basketball operations department, including player development and scouting, while also assisting the team’s community relations department.

Smith spent the 2002-03 season as executive director of basketball operations for the Golden State Warriors. In that role, he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the basketball operations department and worked in conjunction with the players and basketball staff. During the previous two-plus seasons, Smith was director of community relations/Warriors Foundation.

Smith is no stranger to “The City Beautiful.” He was a member of the inaugural 1989-90 Magic squad and spent three seasons playing in Orlando (1989-92). Smith averaged 11.4 ppg., 4.1 rpg., 1.9 apg. and 1.01 stlpg. in 195 games with the Magic. He played in 375 career NBA regular season games with Denver, Golden State and Orlando, averaging 10.5 ppg., 3.8 rpg., 1.8 apg. and 1.01 stlpg. in 20.6 minpg.

Folllowing his retirement as a player, Smith served as community relations manager for the Magic for two years. During that time, the organization was presented the Pro Team Community Award, given by the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame. He was also vice president of marketing and community relations of the Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida.

Smith was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and is a 1986 graduate of Jacksonville University.

Fritz is in his 11th year with the Orlando Magic. He was promoted to executive vice president of business in March of 2004. He had served as the team’s vice president of finance and chief of staff, director of finance and controller during the previous 10 years.

Fritz oversees Magic business operations in support of the chief executive officer. His responsibilities include strategic and business planning for the Magic and the oversight of team operations including ticket sales, marketing, fan relations, business strategy, government and community relations, aviation, finance, human resources, administration, and information technology.

Prior to joining the Magic, Fritz worked for five years at PricewaterhouseCoopers and for two years at Hotel Management Associates. He received his master’s and undergraduate degrees in accounting from Florida State University. He is a member of the Board of Trustees at United Arts.

Fritz resides in Orlando, Fla., with his wife, Donna, their son, Zachary (6) and their daughter, Nicole (3).