Jerry Colangelo, Patriot All-America Chairman
Jerry Colangelo arrived in the Valley of the Sun in 1968 to take over the expansion of the Phoenix Suns NBA franchise as the youngest general manager in professional sports and has since guided the Suns into one of the most successful organizations in the NBA. He brought Major League Baseball to the Valley in 1998 and was chairman of the 2001 World Champion Arizona Diamondbacks. Colangelo was the key element in facilitating the move of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets to the Valley of the Sun to become the Phoenix Coyotes. He was also on the founding committee for the WNBA, and the Phoenix Mercury were one of the league’s inaugural teams in 1997.
Colangelo’s impact on Arizona sports and the game of basketball has been so significant that he was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in April 2004; the Arizona Republic named him the Most Influential Sports Figure in the state of Arizona for the 20th Century; and the Phoenix Business Journal has regularly placed him among its Most Influential Business Persons in the Valley. He was also named one of the most powerful people in sports by Sporting News.
In 2005, Colangelo was appointed first Managing Director of the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team program. He assembled the coaches and players of the “Redeem Team.” Together, they returned USA Basketball to Olympic glory as they claimed the 2008 gold medal in Beijing.
Jerry Colangelo’s success has fostered an incredible legacy in the Valley that transcends the sports world. He has become one of the city’s most active community leaders. Colangelo is chairman of the board of the Council of Leadership Education, and a past chairman of Collaboration for a New Century; Southwest Leadership Foundation; the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame; Leadership Foundations of America; Arizona State University’s Dean’s Council of 100 and the Honor Board for Junior Achievement of Central Arizona; and he served as president of Valley Big Brothers and was chairman of the board of the Christian Businessmen’s Club. Colangelo has served on the board of directors of the Phoenix Art Museum; Greater Phoenix Economic Council; Athletes in Action; and Phoenix Suns Charities. He is a lifetime member of the Phoenix Thunderbirds, an organization dedicated to the promotion of Phoenix through sports. He is currently a Vice Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and is Vice Chairman of the National Italian American Foundation and Young Life International; past vice president of the Phoenix Downtown Partnership; past chairman and CEO of Phoenix Community Alliance; and he was a leader in the establishment of Employers Against Domestic Violence.
In recognition of his efforts in the community, former Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon proclaimed March 26, 2004, “Jerry Colangelo Day” in the city of Phoenix. The Valley of the Sun United Way also bestowed its highest honor, the Spirit of Caring award, to Colangelo on June 30, 2005 for his passion for improving lives in the community. Recently, he was presented with the Anti-Defamation League’s “Torch of Liberty Award,” the highest honor given in Arizona.
Currently, Jerry Colangelo is a principal partner of JDM Partners, LLC a real estate development company. Born November 20, 1939, Colangelo grew up in the “Hungry Hill” neighborhood of Chicago Heights. Colangelo and his wife, Joan, whom he met on a blind date while at the University of Illinois, have four children: Kathy Holcombe, Kristen Brubaker, Bryan Colangelo and Mandie Colangelo-Adams, and nine granddaughters and four grandsons.