In the mid-1970s, I was a volunteer with the Fiesta Bowl and the Tempe Jaycees. Back then the Fiesta Bowl was played at Sun Devil Stadium and our chief fundraiser, to benefit youth projects, was parking cars for ASU football and the Fiesta Bowl parking plus setting up chairs for the parade downtown. I remember volunteering, with John Junker at the helm as bowl chairman, trying to build a small and upcoming bowl on hospitality, spirit and community service. John was down to earth and personally thanked everyone who gave of their time to make the Fiesta Bowl the friendliest and most organized, even if we weren't the biggest. We did not have the big money and sponsors the Fiesta Bowl has presently.
Back then I would have never imagined I would watch Penn State and Miami battle for No. 1 in the country. Give John some credit for his organization, getting the community to get behind his vision of where the Fiesta Bowl has developed. It didn't hurt the great matchups John and the Fiesta Bowl committee put together to get sometimes the No. 1 most-watched games. Boise State and Oklahoma comes to my mind.
There is an old saying: "Money corrupts." Many sports writers have mentioned the perks and money under the table to get their bowls the best teams today. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, the Fiesta Bowl got it on the best hospitality and organization for big-name schools to come back like Penn State, Tennessee, Ohio State, Florida State and Florida.
I'm sorry what happened to the present image of our great bowl. John Junker had a part in this, but it is time to move on. How about Kurt Warner as the next Fiesta Bowl chairman? If you can't trust Kurt, who can you trust?
Dr. Jeff Eger, Mesa