John Mellor, founder and CEO of WorkInSports, a leading North American job board for sports-related employment, has died of cancer.

John Mellor

Mellor launched WorkInSports from his home base of Phoenix in 2000, and he ran it until this spring, when it was acquired by niche job-board operator IHire for an undisclosed sum. At the deal’s closing in April, the company revealed Mellor had stepped back to focus on his health.

Brian Clapp, WorkInSports’s VP of content and engaged learning, shared in a LinkedIn post that the company’s staff was “heartbroken.”

“John balanced an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit with optimism and care better than anyone I have ever known,” Clapp wrote. “When we would have business meetings it wasn’t about revenue projections, it was about things like, ‘Can we create a way to help place developmentally disabled kids and adults into sports organizations?’ He had a huge heart. He loved the Special Olympics. He loved the @Calgary Flames. But most importantly, he loved his family and was an amazing husband, father and friend.”

WorkInSports made a name for itself in 2001 by partnering with Sports Illustrated to provide exclusive sports employment and career content for the magazine’s official website, SI.com.

When the IHire acquisition closed, WorkInSports had a distributed workforce of 10 people across the U.S. and Canada. It ran openings for more than 8,000 sports employers, and had an inventory of 22,000 job postings, including positions in college and professional leagues and sports media and marketing outlets.

Mellor was a native of Calgary and had worked in sports himself. Prior to his foray into job listings, he spent five years with the National Hockey League’s Phoenix Coyotes, ultimately as their website and business development manager.

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