The Orange Bowl Classic has been a staple of the South Florida sports landscape since 1935, having hosted 80 college football bowl games, including four BCS National Championships.
The Orange Bowl has a committee of 348 outstanding members of the South Florida community, a full-time year-round staff, and more than 1,000 volunteers who not only plan and run the Orange Bowl game, but also promote and serve the South Florida community.
The man in charge of the entire organization is the Orange Bowl’s CEO, Eric Poms. Poms has been a member of the South Florida community since he was 3 years old, spending his youth at Glades Junior High and Miami Killian Senior High. He attended the University of Florida and became the student manager for the university’s basketball team.
Poms later became the director of operations for the Blockbuster Bowl, which took place in Fort Lauderdale at the time, before he moved to Las Vegas to work as the coordinator of operations at UNLV and the director of operations at the Las Vegas Bowl.
Poms came back to Miami to become the Orange Bowl Committee chief operating officer. He took on the Orange Bowl Committee CEO job in 2006 and has held the position for the past seven years.
I had the opportunity to discuss his position, the Discover Orange Bowl and the Orange Bowl Committee during a question and answer session with Poms. Q: What barometer do you use to define success or failure for your organization? A: If we are making a positive impact on the South Florida community and collegiate football as a whole then, we are doing our job.
Q: What is the long-term goal for your organization?
A: To make an effective transition into the new College Football Playoff System which begins in 2014-15. For this 12-year term, our leadership is embracing the tremendous opportunity for the Discover Orange Bowl to host (a) four National Semifinal Games and (b) eight traditional bowl games featuring the ACC Champion versus a highly ranked team from either the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame. In additional, we will lead a community-wide bid effort to pursue future College Football National Championship Games.
Q: During your tenure, what improvement have you been most proud of?
A: The growth of our community outreach programs especially with youth football and cheerleading as well as our legacy gifts at Moore Park in Miami and Carter Park in Fort Lauderdale are what I am most proud of.
Q: Name the one thing that keeps you up at night and what you are doing to prepare to meet that challenge.
A: How to best position the Orange Bowl and South Florida to secure future College Football National Championship Games. We are engaging community and business leaders to put our best foot forward.
Q: What piece of advice could you give young aspiring sports business professionals? A: To be successful, do not be afraid to fail. Develop a strong work ethic and a focus and determination to succeed. Use each day to learn and get better and understand how organizations work optimally as a team. Conduct yourself with the highest values, ethics and principles, carry a strong sense of respect for others, be patient with your career path, and remember to always be yourself.
Q: Other than the
A: We are involved in many additional Orange Bowl Festival events including the Metro PCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, the Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, the Orange Bowl Sailing Regatta Series, the Orange Bowl Swimming Classic, the Orange Bowl Lacrosse Championships and the Orange Bowl Paddleboard Championships. In addition, we support many community outreach programs including the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance. Moreover, we have spearheaded several ‘Legacy Gift’ projects, including Orange Bowl Field at Moore Park in partnership with the City of Miami and Orange Bowl Field at Carter Park in partnership with the City of Fort Lauderdale.
Q: How can members of the community get involved with the Orange Bowl Committee? A: Through service as a member of the Orange Bowl Committee as well as through our Ambassador volunteer program. To learn more about for volunteer opportunities with the Orange Bowl Committee, visit its website at www.orangebowl.org
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