We hosted a press conference on Wednesday afternoon at Johnson Hagood Stadium to announce our hosting the inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl, an all-star game for eligible NFL draftees and free agents on January 11, 2014, and the speaking participants read like a page out of “Who’s Who.”
While former Board of Visitors member Tommy McQueeney ’74 emceed the press conference, it is Tommy who is the local organizing committee’s chairman. A native Charlestonian known for moving and shaking and getting things done, Tommy is the perfect individual to lead the group.
Two local legislators – Rep. Dr. Samuel Rivers III, R-Berkeley, and Rep. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston – spoke eloquently on the game’s importance to the local community in addition to the state of South Carolina.
The executive director of the bowl game is Brian Woods, an attorney with strong ties to all of the NFL teams, outlined more of the specifics for the game. Woods, who will evaluate players, set the rosters, and oversee the day-to-day operations, cited that this game would seek the best talent in the country, and hoped to secure many SEC and ACC players, especially those from South Carolina and Clemson. There will always be one spot open for a Citadel player.
It was stated that proceeds from the event would go to the Medal of Honor Museum Foundation and the Wounded Warriors Program. Speaking on that behalf was Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, one of the 80 living Medal of Honor recipients.
Kathleen Cartland of the Charleston Area Sports Commission estimated that the local area would see a $3.8 million economic impact, which would come during a “slow time” on the Charleston tourist calendar.
The final speaker was The Citadel’s Director of Athletics Larry Leckonby, who stated how pleased the school was to be involved with the game as hosts.
McQueeney stated that the all-star game will feature a bowl-like atmosphere with a full week of events culminating with the game on Saturday.
“After looking at many different possibilities to bring post-season football here, this all-star format emerged as the highest and best event for the entire community and state,” Rep. Rivers stated. “I like that this is a long-term commitment and that the beneficiaries are the Medal of Honor Museum Foundation and the Wounded Warriors Program. Every citizen of this state should be proud.”
Gen. Livingston stated that The Congressional Medal of Honor Society met in Gettysburg, Pa., last week. Their national board and president later approved the naming of the football event and expressed appreciation for the benefit of proposed assistance to their recently announced new museum project.
The Medal of Honor Bowl will utilize a unique selection process geared at landing more of the nation’s top draft eligible seniors. Rosters will be based upon the NFL market for which the player’s school resides in as opposed to traditional North-South or East-West formats.
“For the last 15 years, the Southeast has provided more players to the NFL draft than any other part of the country. It makes sense to utilize a format which allows us to award more roster spots to players from that region,” said Woods.
Kickoff for the game will be at 3 pm.