Phoenix Longhorns Get the Inside Scoop on Playoffs

By now, everyone knows that college football will finally have a playoff game.

But did you know that the Texas Exes Phoenix Chapter already had a hunch?

About 40 alumni in the Phoenix Chapter gathered for their Texas Business Networking event, on June 20 at the Fiesta Bowl Museum in Scottsdale, to discuss the Fiesta Bowl and the future of college football.

Every four years, the Fiesta Bowl has showcased the national college football championship. A year ago, scandal rocked the bowl game, threatening to remove the Fiesta Bowl from the BCS. But now the bowl has regained its prominence—in large part thanks to its executive director, the dynamic Robert Shelton.

Shelton, a past president of the University of Arizona, hosted the meeting for Phoenix-area Texas Exes to shed light on the new BCS playoff format.

Although he’s a native Arizonian, it’s clear that Dr. Shelton is concerned for student-athletes and traveling alumni, says Randy Roberts, BS ’78, business networking chair for the chapter.

“Something that struck me was how personable and down-to-earth he was,” Roberts says. “He is incredibly bright [and] mingled with our alumni from the first guest to the finale.”

A friend of UT president Bill Powers, Shelton had a hand in the approved plan for a four-team college football playoff, which starts in 2014. At the meeting, Shelton advocated for having regional games in the BCS bowls, so that teams from the Big East wouldn’t have to play at the Rose Bowl on the West Coast.

“Even though he’s not connected to UT, he obviously knows about Texas and is very impressed by the school, by President Powers, and the strength of our alumni association,” says Phoenix chapter member Steven Gragg, BS ’80, Life Member.

The chapter’s game watch chair, Lee Wilmeth, BS ’88, Life Member, stepped up to the plate after the planned catering service flaked at the last minute. With less than 24 hours notice, Wilmeth prepared a BBQ dinner that was so delicious, even Colt McCoy made an appearance.

Alumni loved posing for pictures with a 5’9″ cutout of Colt McCoy.

“The pictures of the Colt McCoy cutout were pretty funny,” Roberts says. “But the most memorable moment was just spending time with my fellow Longhorns.”

Photo courtsey Steven Gragg.


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