New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson dead at 90

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"Pacers Sports & Entertainment joins the entire National Basketball Association in mourning the loss of Tom Benson, 90, owner of the New Orleans Pelicans as well as the NFL New Orleans Saints". The New Orleans native became a self-made billionaire through his auto dealership and banking businesses. The people of New Orleans rallied that year to sell out the Superdome for the first time, and now there's an annual waiting list of more than 70,000 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (a lucrative naming-rights deal that both Tom and Gayle Benson helped arrange).

January 18, 2006 - Sean Payton is hired as Head Coach. Benson was a New Orleans native, purchasing the Saints in 1985 following the success of his banking network, Benson Financial World. The team has been able to make the playoffs only once over that span, but are looking geared to make the postseason again this season.

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December 13, 2009 - After their 26-23 win at Atlanta, the Saints will have won their first 13 games of the season. When Benson purchased them, the team had only managed a.500 record twice, but by 1987 the team had its first winning season in franchise history and first playoff appearance with a 12-3 record. New Orleans also hosted the Super Bowl five times during his ownership.

Clyde Verdin and I will discuss his legacy and what comes next with the ownership of the teams on Friday's "Dunc & Holder" (10 a.m. -noon on Sports 1280 AM, NOLA.com, 101.1 FM HD 2, iHeart Radio app). Prior to Benson stepping up in 2012, the then-Hornets were also subject to relocation rumors.

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His dedication to community and charitable endeavors will continue to live on in New Orleans and beyond. Six years later, he took full control of the company and established a multi-dealership organization with outlets throughout the New Orleans area and South Texas. He donated millions to the church and other local charities, and his $11 million gift to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in 2014 led to a stadium there being named after him.

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