Sun Kings Introduce new GM - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Sun Kings Introduce new GM

YAKIMA, Wash. - The Yakama Sun Kings are installing one of their own in the front office. As expected, the team introduced Matt Tomaskin as the new general manager on Wednesday. Tomaskin replaces Diana Juarez, who learned last week her contract was not being renewed.

While Tomaskin lacks experience in sports, he is a respected member of the Yakama nation, which is what they wanted in a GM.

"The policies of the Yakama Nation are to hire our own for employment opportunities," said Ralph Sampson, Jr., the chairman of overall economic development.

While the team has won back-to-back CBA championships, they have lost money in the two years the Yakama Nation has owned the team. Tomasken's ties to the tribal communities can be an asset in increasing revenue.

"I want regional and national sponsors," he said. He also said there will be an emphasis on entertainment value at games. "I want to change the flavor of the game. My idea is... as we watch sports venues, we have a pregame show, a half-time show and a post game show. That's something I'd like to focus on. I'd like them to have that enjoyment of entertainment."

The team also announced that coach Paul Woolpert will get a new contract, the length of it not determined. Woolpert emphasized feelings that this is a peaceful transition, with Juarez still offering her assistance.

"Diana and Rich(Austin) are just a phone call away," said Woolpert, the CBA coach of the year. "It's like a family. Matt's got a lot of people supporting him. He can come in here and bring leadership and contacts with tribes in the Northwest, and will help in that regard that we haven't had in the past."

Management wants to move Native-American Ricahrd Dionne from a player into a assistant coaching role.

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