Ulice Payne Named Milwaukee Brewers President

Sept 25, 2002

AP Photo Planned

By MELISSA TRUJILLO
Associated Press Writer

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The Milwaukee Brewers, completing their worst season in the 34-year history of the franchise, replaced team president Wendy Selig-Prieb with Ulice Payne and replaced general manager Dean Taylor on Wednesday.

The team held an evening news conference at Miller Park to announce the top-level shakeup, which first was reported on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Web site Wednesday afternoon.

Attorney Ulice Payne, a former state securities commissioner, takes over for Selig-Prieb as team president. Doug Melvin, a former general manager with the Texas Rangers, will be the new general manager.

Selig-Prieb, daughter of commissioner Bud Selig, remains with the team in a newly created post as board chairman, but Payne will make day to day decisions.

The team said Selig-Prieb wished to resign from her day to day duties with the Brewers.

"I want to personally apologize to our fans for the failings of this season," Selig-Prieb said at the news conference.

She said she told the board of directors a few weeks ago of her decision to step down but delayed the announcement.

"The last thing that this club needed was another issue," she said.

She called it an exciting day, with Payne and Melvin taking over.

"We're going to have fun with this," Melvin said, adding that he would challenge the team's scouts to go out and find the best talent available, whether they be late-round draft picks or potential comeback of the year players.

"We have to change the mindset here, and that's my goal as general manager," he said. "We have to start thinking that we do have a chance."

Payne, a former Marquette University basketball star, is a managing partner of the Milwaukee office of Foley & Lardner. He has no baseball experience, but is the chairman of the Bradley Center Board and brings a background in business and politics.

He was on the Marquette team that won the NCAA championship in 1977 - Al McGuire's last game as Marquette coach.

Payne said he took the job to help the team and the city.

While he doesn't have all the answers on how to fix the team's problems, "I'm going to take this challenge quite seriously," he said.

Taylor, who scheduled a news conference later Wednesday night, was hired as Brewers general manager in 1999. His contract runs through the 2003 season.

Melvin was Rangers general manager from 1994 until he was fired on the last day of the 2001 season.

The Brewers were 55-102 before Wednesday night's game in Houston. The previous worst for the Brewers was in their first season in Milwaukee when they went 65-97 in 1970. The previous franchise worst was when the team was the Seattle Pilots and went 64-98 in 1969.

The Brewers have 10 straight losing seasons and haven't been to the playoffs in 20 years. Attendance at games dropped this year by 841,000 fans.

Payne also is a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, a civic organization. During the debate over construction of Miller Park, the group lobbied on behalf of the Brewers. Payne also is on the board of directors of Journal Communications Inc., which publishes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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