In the weeks leading up to the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, which will take place on Saturday, December 31 at State Farm Stadium and serve as a College Football Playoff Semifinal Game, AZ Big Media is sitting down with a member of the Fiesta Bowl family every Friday to shine a light on the event itself but also all the ways that the organization drives economic growth and champions charitable causes, inspiring pride in all Arizonans during and outside of college football Bowl Season.
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Today, we sit down to talk Bowl memories and impact with Sean Ward, Fiesta Bowl Yellow Jacket Committee member and 2022 Fiesta Bowl Media Operations Chair who in 2019 was named the Yellow Jacket Committee Rookie of the Year who also serves as senior vice president of Business & Commercial Banking at BNC National Bank.
When and why did you begin volunteering for the Fiesta Bowl?
Ward: I began volunteering for the Fiesta Bowl when I became a Yellow Jacket in 2018. I got involved with the Fiesta Bowl because it wedded my passion for college football with my passion for giving back to the community.
Tell us about your media operations role and what are your general goals with the position?
Ward: I was introduced to media operations in my rookie year as a Yellow Jacket. I served as media registration captain for two years before I was selected to be assistant chair for media operations in 2020 and 2021. For the 2022 bowl season, I have been selected to be the media operations chair. As chair it is my responsibility to coordinate and manage volunteer staffing in each of the functional areas of media operations. These functional areas include coordinating transportation for the media, hosting media in the media hospitality suite, providing credentials to the media, and hosting media and the teams at media day and the coach’s press conferences. It is also my responsibility to support the Fiesta Bowl communications staff during bowl week. Our goal is to provide our media guests with a world class experience and hospitality during game week.
What has been your favorite Fiesta Bowl game to date as a spectator and why?
Ward: My favorite Fiesta Bowl game was the 1996 National Championship game, Nebraska versus Florida. My dad graduated from Nebraska, so it was exciting to watch the game with him and see his beloved Cornhuskers beat Florida.
Any memorable moments while working the Fiesta Bowl game itself?
Ward: My most memorable moment was the 2019 Fiesta Bowl semifinal game. I was honored on the field between the third and fourth quarters because the Yellow Jacket committee had named me the George Leonard Yellow Jacket rookie of the year for the 2018-2019 bowl season.
Tell us something interesting about you outside of work and your Fiesta Bowl role?
Ward: I grew up in a home with divided loyalties, dad was a Cornhusker and Mom was an Oklahoma girl who was a diehard Sooner fan. Nevertheless, Thanksgiving weekend was always interesting around our house. However, we could all cheer for my sister and my alma mater the New Mexico Lobos.