Tim Pendell to Retire from Lions After 26 Years of Service

Posted Jan 27, 2011

Team’s Senior Director of Community Affairs served with distinction throughout career

Allen Park, Mich.—The Detroit Lions announced today that Senior Director of Community Affairs Tim Pendell, will retire, effective February 1, after 26 seasons of distinguished service to the club.
Pendell will continue work with the organization as a consultant and an active member of certain charitable and alumni endeavors.
“For two and a half decades, Tim has been the very definition of a true ambassador for the Lions, Ford Field, and the William Clay Ford family,” said Lions President Tom Lewand. “It is impossible to measure the positive impact he has had on organizations around our community and on individuals inside and outside of our organization. Those numerous contributions and Tim's unwaveringly positive demeanor and outlook will be missed on a daily basis.
“Although we will miss seeing him every day, he most certainly has earned the opportunity to spend more time with his wife, Diann, and the rest of his family and friends.”
Pendell and his department’s efforts have not just achieved positive results locally, but they have also proved beneficial to the entire National Football League.
“The Ford family certainly made the right decision when they selected Tim to be the team’s community relations director 20 years ago.” said Senior Advisor to the Commissioner Joe Browne. “I know that he has done a tremendous job for the Lions in Michigan but he also is a recognized leader among his colleagues on other teams. His integrity, skills as a consensus-builder, and ability to establish and maintain relationships with a diverse array of individuals and organizations are among his strengths. His NFL friends in New York wish him and Diann only the best.”
During his tenure, Pendell has led one of the most extensive and diverse community outreach efforts in all of professional sports, including the team’s non-profit charitable foundation—Detroit Lions Charities.
Detroit Lions Charities was launched in 1990 to assist all age groups in a diverse range of needs and programs in Michigan. Particular emphasis is placed on programs that benefit the children of Detroit. Through Pendell’s leadership, the team’s foundation has provided approximately $6 million to nearly 2,000 charities. Each year, Pendell has worked tirelessly to coordinate several fundraising events, including the Detroit Lions Invitation Golf Outing, Tony Filippis Memorial Bocce Ball Tournament and annual Kickoff Luncheon among others, to raise funds distributed to numerous community programs and schools through grants.
Pendell’s supervision of the team’s philanthropic endeavors reaches far beyond just fundraising. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Think Detroit PAL, Communities in Schools of Detroit, Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and CATCH Charity for Children.  He also is on the board of directors for the annual Detroit Lions Courage House Dinner that benefits HAVEN, a center located in Pontiac, Mich., for the prevention and treatment of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
In 2001, Pendell was instrumental in the organization’s involvement with the launch of the Detroit Lions Academy through a partnership with Communities in Schools (CIS) of Detroit in association with several corporate sponsors including Costco Wholesale and Ford Motor Company. The 2010-11 school year marks the 10th for the Detroit Lions Academy that consists of a student body of 140 sixth, seventh and eighth grade Detroit children who have had difficulties in traditional school settings.
Several League-wide initiatives have made a lasting impact locally due in part to Pendell and his staff’s hard work. The team has worked closely with the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan that manages the NFL YET Youth Education Town (YET) Center, an NFL legacy project built as a result of Detroit hosting Super Bowl XL. Pendell has ensured the Lions active involvement of the center to help it grow since it opened in 2006. Another current community NFL program administered locally is NFL PLAY 60 that encourages children to be active at least 60 minutes a day.
An important aspect of the team’s outreach that Pendell has fostered during his career has been the team’s involvement with youth football.
The Lions sponsorship of the Think Detroit PAL Football League, one of the nation’s largest tackle football leagues, resulted after Pendell established the Lions’ relationship with the Detroit Police Athletic League in 1996. This past year marked the 12th year of the team’s annual sponsorship of the youth football league that involves 3,200 Detroit youngsters, ages eight through 14.
On the high school level, the team has awarded grants through the Lions High School Football Coach of the Week & Year Program totaling more $268,000 to Michigan high school football programs since 1997.
In addition to the numerous community outreach programs, Pendell has played a vital role in the team’s involvement with Lions’ alumni, including the coordination of several alumni-related events and reunions.
In 2002, the Detroit Lions community affairs department was recipient of the Pro Team Community Award from the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, which recognized the Lions’ community outreach efforts as the best in professional sports. That same year, Tim received the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame’s award as pro sports’ Most Proactive Staff Member.
In 2007, he earned an Alumni Achievement Award from Western Illinois University, his alma mater.
Pendell first joined the Lions in 1985 and was promoted to director of community relations and Detroit Lions Charities in 1990. In February 2001, he was again promoted to senior director of community affairs.
The native of Macomb, Ill., attended Western Illinois and earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in Speech and Dramatic Arts in 1970. During college he was a sportscaster for WKAI radio in Macomb, broadcasting WIU and area high school football and basketball games.
After graduation from WIU and a four-year stint in the Air Force with the American Forces Radio and Television Service, he was named Sports Information Director at Ferris State College in Big Rapids, Michigan in 1976. He helped promote and support the school’s multi-sports program and saw the rise of Ferris hockey to NCAA Division I status.
In 1983, Tim moved to Detroit for his first position in professional sports by being named to Director of Media Information of the United States Football League (USFL) Michigan Panthers.
He and his wife of 41 years, Diann, reside in Farmington Hills, Michigan and attend Ward Church in Northville.