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Wednesday, September 1, 1999 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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P.M. Briefing

Usoc Lures Top UW Fund-Raiser

Seattle Times News Services

The U.S. Olympic Committee had never had someone whose full-time job was devoted to private fund raising.

Yesterday, Marilyn Dunn, 55, was hired away from the University of Washington to become the highest-ranking female in the history of the organization.

She will be deputy executive director for development, charged with reviving the organization's private fund-raising efforts, an area in which the USOC has enjoyed only moderate success.

For the past 24 years, Dunn, as vice president for development, has excelled at convincing people to open their checkbooks for donations to the UW. Dunn helped the school consistently rank in the top five among public universities and in the top 20 overall in fund raising.

Executive Director Richard Schultz said the U.S. Olympic Committee's goal was to transform its private fund-raising efforts to "something comparable at every major university."

Dunn is "terrific," Schultz said. "We interviewed who we felt were the top three fund raisers at the university level in America, and she was it. She was our No.1 choice."

Budget expectations from state-to-state private donations this year were $26 million - a small chunk of the USOC's quadrennial $441 million budget leading up to the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

Dunn hopes to move the USOC away from event-oriented fund-raising efforts, centered around special functions like golf tournaments. Schultz said that approach has cost the USOC nearly as much as it has generated, "60 to 70 cents for every dollar we've raised," he said.

HOCKEY

Mario Lemieux's takeover of the bankrupt Pittsburgh Penguins was approved in New York today by the NHL's board of governors.

Only court approval remains to complete the deal, which is expected Friday in Pittsburgh by a bankruptcy judge.

The board gave its expected approval after the former NHL great made his presentation. The NHL has endorsed Lemieux's group all along in a determined effort to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

Lemieux said the team value was $85 million, or the price of an expansion team. He said he had $52 million committed among his investors and himself and that he hoped to raise more money.

-- Vancouver signed top scorer Markus Naslund to a three-year, $7.2 million contract. Naslund, who led the Canucks with 36 goals and 30 assists last season, will earn $2.25 million this season, $2.35 million next season and $2.6 million in 2001-02. He made $800,000 last season.

TENNIS

When Petr Korda lost his appeal of a ruling that he failed a drug test at Wimbledon in 1998, he was ordered to return more than $660,000 in earnings from last season.

"I'm sure he's writing the check right now," Deborah Jevans, executive director of the International Tennis Federation, said today in New York.

If he's not, the ITF is prepared to go to court, Jevins said.

BASKETBALL

The WNBA fined Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks center, $500 for shoving guard Tina Thompson of the Houston Comets at the end of Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Monday.

Thompson was fined $300 for taunting Leslie before and after the incident.

-- Van Chancellor of the Houston Comets was voted WNBA Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season. Sonny Allen of Sacramento was runner-up and Orlando Woolridge, a former NBA player who is coach of the L.A. Sparks, was third.

Copyright (c) 1999 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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