San Francisco 49ers limited partner, Franklin Mieuli, passed away Sunday from natural causes after having been hospitalized recently. The 89-year old, San Jose native's longtime interest and love for sports sparked his future involvement in the professional sports teams that brought him five Super Bowl championship rings with the 49ers and one NBA World Championship as the former owner of the Golden State Warriors.
"Franklin was unique," said 49ers Owner Dr. John York. "He had his own style and thought process, as well as a tremendous enthusiasm for sports. He attended every 49ers game and cheered with all his heart. The 49ers organization is saddened by his passing, but grateful for having been able to experience his personality and support."
"I have a lot of respect for Mr. Miueli," said 49ers President and CEO Jed York. "He meant so much to Bay Area sports, in particular the 49ers family, and he will certainly be remembered for his contributions. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this tough time."
In 1949, he accepted a position in the advertising department of the San Francisco Brewing Company, makers of Burgermeister beer. "Burgie" sponsored broadcasts of 49ers football games and in 1954, Mieuli produced the team's first telecast. Through his business relationship and friendship with Tony and Vic Morabito, the original owners of the 49ers, Franklin was offered the opportunity to purchase a share of the club, and today still holds stake in the 49ers franchise.
When the New York Giants moved west in 1958, Horace Stoneham offered Mieuli stock in the San Francisco Giants. In 1962, Franklin and a group of his friends also purchased the Philadelphia Warriors and the San Francisco Warriors were born. He became the only sportsman to have ownerships in three major league sports teams in the same area.
In the 25 years after he acquired majority ownership, the San Francisco and now Golden State Warriors were in the playoffs ten times, won four division titles and a World Championship in 1974-75. Mieuli is the first professional sports team owner to have named an African American as his head coach, Alvin Attles, a member of the team that moved west from Philadelphia. His longtime friend has served with the Warriors as a player, head coach, administrator, vice president and assistant general manager and in his 48th year with the club, is now a Warriors' ambassador.
Simultaneously, as president of Franklin Mieuli and Associates Radio and TV Production Co., he acquired radio and TV production rights to the Giants, 49ers and Warriors' games and engineered games for the A's and Raiders' broadcasts. He produced and handled the radio coverage for the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley with Lon Simmons, Russ Hodges, Gordy Soltau and Marty Martin as his broadcasting crew. Today, his company, managed by long-time employee Shirley Figgins Mortensen, continues to provide the radio engineering for 25 sports teams, including baseball, football, hockey and basketball, throughout the U.S. and Canada. He also owned radio stations, KPUP, (KHIP and KMPX) in San Francisco and was an owner of KTMX in Colusa, CA.
Mieuli received a degree in advertising from the University of Oregon and served a stint in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Mieuli and his former wife, Hilles Parish Cribari, are the parents of three children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Ms. Blake Green, Mieuli's loving companion for the past 30 years, was formerly a feature writer for the San Francisco Chronicle and Newsday in New York.