21 MIKE GARRETT, 60
Athletic Director, USC
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 49
Under Garrett, USC returned to the top of college football in 2003. He oversees a $40 million budget and helped secure a record $35 million donation for a $70 million athletic complex.
22 TYRONE WILLINGHAM, 50
Football Coach, Notre Dame
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 6
No college football coach will be under more scrutiny this fall. Though Willingham led the Irish back to respectability, his 5-7 record last season has Irish faithful grumbling.
23 BILLY HUNTER, 61
Executive Director, NBA Players Association
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 25
There was plenty of griping about Hunter's role in the last CBA, but his players are still the highest paid in sports. Average salary has gone from $2.3 million to $4.9 million since 1996.
24 OSCAR DE LA HOYA, 31
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 63
Boxing's most marketable nonheavyweight is developing knockout power outside the ropes. His Golden Boy Promotions handles 25 Latino fighters, including Marco Antonio Barrera.
25 GENE WASHINGTON, 57
Director of Football Operations, NFL
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 29
He's judge and jury for on-field acts, which rankles some players. Last season Dan Klecko was fined $17,500 for two hits, though neither drew a flag. The amount was reduced by $2,500.
26 SHAWN LAWSON-CUMMINGS, 40
VP of International Licensing and Sponsorship, Major League Baseball
LAST YEAR'S RANK: NR
International licensing executives are no longer bench players. Under her guidance, MLB's international sponsorship revenues jumped 20% this season; licensing is up 30%.
27 ISIAH THOMAS, 43
General Manager, New York Knicks
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 52
Hired to rebuild the anemic Knicks, Thomas shook things up—some say too much; others, not enough—and the club made the playoffs for the first time in three years. He's not done.
28 ART SHELL, 57
Senior Vice President of Football Operations and Development, NFL
LAST YEAR'S RANK: NR
After two years as an NFL appeals officer, the Hall of Fame player and former Raiders coach was recently hired to oversee league football operations including NFL Europe.
29 KEITH TRIBBLE, 48
CEO, Orange Bowl
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 23
The bowl has never been in better shape. It will host the 2005 BCS title game, which will be a fifth straight sellout. Over the past 12 years OB revenues have jumped 500% to $30 million.
30 KENNY WILLIAMS, 40
General Manager, Chicago White Sox
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 16
Williams is a key reason the Sox are vying for their first postseason berth in four years. He's attracted solid talent, but his best move was hiring Ozzie Guillen (No. 85) as manager.