JONESBORO, Ark. (1/4/13) — The Arkansas State football team made its way to the Mobile Convention Center on Friday to take part in the Mayor's Luncheon, which featured a 2012 Red Wolves' highlight video, a live performance by the ASU band and cheerleaders and a number of speakers that included ASU Chancellor Dr. Tim Hudson and comedian Larry the Cable Guy.
Held in conjunction with the GoDaddy.com Bowl, the Mayor's Luncheon also recognized Wallace Fowler, the largest single contributor to date to Arkansas State University, as one of its latest Champion of Life honorees. Fowler has been a successful Chairman and CEO on both national and state levels along with being a philanthropist.
Since its inception in 1999, the GoDaddy.com Bowl (formerly the GMAC Bowl) has given numerous Champion of Life awards. Honorees have achieved great success in their chosen field through dedication and hard work.
In the state of Arkansas, Fowler has been Chairman and CEO of Liberty Bank of Arkansas as well as Chairman of Fowler Foods, Inc. Nationally, his success continues in serving as past Chairman of the National Franchise Advisory Council, the National Advertising Cooperative and the Facilities Council. He has also been inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame.
Prior to the luncheon, ASU Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir and Interim Head Coach John Thompson participated in a press conference with others involved in the Mayor's Luncheon, including Larry the Cable Guy, City of Mobile Mayor Sam Jones and David Welsh with GoDaddy.com.
Mohajir began his comments by stating, on behalf of ASU System President Dr. Charles Welch and Chancellor Dr. Tim Hudson, how excited Arkansas State is to be back in Mobile for the GoDaddy.com Bowl. The Red Wolves are making their second straight appearance in the GoDaddy.com Bowl after also claiming back-to-back Sun Belt Conference championships in 2011 and 2012.
"When we got the invitation to return to the GoDaddy.com Bowl, our fans were elated because they had such a great time last year," said Mohajir. "I've had the great fortune of participating in other bowls in my career, and I will deem the city of Mobile and the GoDaddy.com Bowl as the greatest volunteer bowl I've ever been a part of. The city of Mobile and everyone associated with the bowl game have made this another great experience this year, but a different experience. That was very important to our players and everyone has done a remarkable job, so thank you very much and we're looking forward to the game on Sunday."
Thompson said new Arkansas State head coach Bryan Harsin is making his way to Mobile today and that it is an honor for him to represent the Red Wolves in this bowl game as their interim head coach.
"Everything about this bowl, from the committee to the way the bowl is being presented to GoDaddy.com to Larry the Cable and to our opponents, has been nothing but class," said Thompson. "Our team is very excited about being back in Mobile. When the matchup was announced, we were extremely happy to be coming back here. Our players had a great time last year. They got to know a lot about the sights and the sounds and things going on here, but more importantly they know it is a tremendous matchup that I think it is rated one of the top matchups outside the BCS in the country.
"We feel like we've got a very good football team," continued Thompson. "We've got an explosive offense and our defense is playing better and better. We're playing a very tough football team that has tremendous speed on offense and they lead the country in takeaways on defense. We're anxious to play the football game and we are very much looking forward to it."
Winners in eight of its last nine games, including the last seven in a row, the Red Wolves claimed their second consecutive Sun Belt Conference title with a 45-0 victory Middle Tennessee in their regular-season finale.
The Red Wolves are receiving votes in both major polls and are listed at No. 37 in the latest BCS rankings. A-State is receiving 20 votes in the latest USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll for its most in school history since joining the NCAA FBS in 1992. Kent State will bring an 11-2 record and No. 25 ranking the AP Top 25 Poll into the GoDaddy.com Bowl. The Golden Flashes are also No. 25 in the BCS rankings.
Fans are strongly encouraged to purchase GoDaddy.com Bowl tickets only through the ASU Ticket Office to directly support the Red Wolves and to ensure they receive priority seating within the designated A-State area.