A bowl founder recalls 1971 ASU-FSU dinner crisis - East Valley Tribune: Sports

A bowl founder recalls 1971 ASU-FSU dinner crisis

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Posted: Monday, December 26, 2005 9:40 am | Updated: 10:14 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Fiesta Bowl’s founders had no notion that their friendly little football game was destined to one day outgrow Sun Devil Stadium.

"When we started our game, who ever dreamed we would pass the Cotton Bowl and the Gator Bowl?" asked Jim Meyer, one of the original eight executive committee members, and current first vice president at Smith Barney in Scottsdale.

Back in 1971, the founders pondered far more workaday matters, such as how to feed the college kids involved in the game.

Before the inaugural game, they had arranged for a welcoming dinner at bowl committee chairman and Camelback Inn owner Jack Stewart’s house. To save money, they convinced their wives to cook steaks for the Arizona State and Florida State players, Meyer said.

The Sun Devils arrived first. "We ordered like one steak per person. Well, they come through and all of a sudden, they start eating two steaks," Meyer said.

By the time Coach Frank Kush’s team finished its assault on the buffet line, there was almost no food left.

The committee members placed urgent calls to every country club and restaurant in the area.

"We said, ‘We need food and we need it right away!’ " Meyer recalled.

Several restaurants delivered whatever they had on hand and the wives whipped up some eggs they found in the kitchen — and together, somehow, it was enough to feed the Seminoles.

Meyer said he understands why the Fiesta Bowl is making its final hurrah at Sun Devil Stadium. The bowl has become a victim of its own success.

ASU’s stadium was built in 1958 and lacks the amenities and space required for the number of VIPs and media members who attend national championship games, he said.

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