President/Chairman, Orange Bowl Committee
Each year, the Orange Bowl Committee excitedly waits as the college football season enters its final weeks and college basketball season begins. It is at this time when we kick-off the Orange Bowl Festival, a monthand- a-half long celebration of collegiate and amateur sporting events that energizes the South Florida community.
While the Festival officially began with the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance Cheer & Dance Championships presented by Sports Authority in association with community sponsor Wachovia AWells Fargo Company on Nov. 14, it’s the impending culmination of college football’s conference championship games that builds up anticipation to one of my favorite days, Selection Sunday.
On Dec. 5, team selection for the BCS national championship game and the four other BCS games takes place, which includes the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl. After this it is a month-long sprint for the committee and its full-time staff to finalize preparations for South Florida’s premier sporting event.
During the march to the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl, there is an array of electrifying Orange Bowl Festival events along the way. These include: The Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance Football Championships presented by Sports Authority in association with community sponsor Wachovia A Wells Fargo Company, Orange Bowl Swimming Classic, Orange Bowl Sailing Regatta Series, Dunlop Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships and MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. For me, the Basketball Classic is something I am really looking forward to.
This year’s Basketball Classic promises to be one of the best in our 16-year history, taking place on Dec. 18 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise. Four highly regarded teams featuring unbelievable talent, including former high school stars and coaches from South Florida, will face off as the Miami Hurricanes and the UCF Knights play in the first game followed by a premier early season match up of Top 10 teams, the Kansas State Wildcats (#3 in the preseason poll) versus the Florida Gators (#9).
That 3:30 p.m. game will feature a return of sorts as Kansas State coach Frank Martin, a Miami-native who previously coached at Miami Senior, North Miami and Booker T. Washington High Schools, leads the Wildcats into a matchup with coach Bill Donovan’s Florida Gators featuring Pompano Beach-native sophomore guard Kenny Boynton. The teams’ preseason rankings will attract the eyes of every college basketball fan in the country to this game, including mine.
In the opener of the doubleheader, Miami Hurricanes coach Frank Haith and his team will make the short trek to the BankAtlantic Center armed with a talented roster that advanced to the semifinals of last season’s ACC Tournament. Facing Miami in the 1 p.m. slot will be the UCF Knights, who feature a player by the name of Marcus Jordan — yes, the son of that Jordan!
I hope that everyone can join in my excitement as we cheer on these four talented teams and march towards the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 3.
The Orange Bowl Committee is a not-for- profit, 333-member, primarily-volunteer organization that supports and produces activities and events that enhance the image, economy and culture of South Florida. To purchase tickets to the Discover Orange Bowl, MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic or any other festival event, or for information on the OBC’s volunteer Ambassador program, call 305-341-4702 or log onto www.orangebowl.org.