Former Saints executive on new ownership: Gayle will do fine

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - As the owner of both an NFL and an NBA team, Gayle Benson is now one of the most powerful women in sports.

According to our partners at NOLA.com | The Times Picayune, she visited the Pelicans on Friday before practice. Head Coach Alvin Gentry says he wanted to keep Benson's message to the team private, but says she told players "everything is going to be fine" moving forward.

Gentry says he has no doubt the change in ownership will be a very smooth transition.

"Gayle, right now, has a group of executives and coaches around her right now that are among the best in the business," said former Saints Executive Jim Miller.

Miller believes it, too. In fact, he says Gayle will likely be even more prepared for ownership than Tom was.

"She has gotten a lot of education being around Tom, being around the executives," Miller said.

Tom Benson hired Miller shortly after he bought the Saints.

"Tom was very hands-on from the start. Our president and general manager was a guy named Jim Finks," recalled Miller. "By hiring Finks, Tom showed the greatest quality of every successful executive, and that is, if you don't know something, hire the guy that does."

Miller says Gayle has likely been preparing for the possibility of ownership and believes she's learned she must do the same.

"Early in our years, Tom, he just wanted to do more, and Finks said, 'Tom, you're an owner, own. And we'll do the rest.' And I think Gayle will take some comfort in that saying," Miller explained.

Miller says there will be a learning curve, as there was for Tom, but he believes Gayle will grown into her role as owner, just like her late husband.

"I'm sure she'll expand and she'll evolve as Tom did. It took Tom a little while to get accustomed to the NFL and the way the NFL did things," he said.

Miller believes Gayle will also use her platform to pursue some of her own passions, like the archdiocese, as Tom did.