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By: Doug Kelly

Director of Communications

Football Bowl Association

March 16, 2016

The Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta has enjoyed a most prosperous 48-year run as one of bowldom’s most successful enterprises. The former Peach Bowl today enjoys status as one of the “New Year’s Six” games and will host one of the two College Football Playoff games on the final day of 2016.

While the game itself has evolved over the years, one element has been constant. He is Albert Tarica, a certified public accountant by trade who has volunteered his varied services for each of the past 47 years. Tarica sat down with FBA Communications and looked back on a remarkable career of “giving back.”

What were your first responsibilities as a Peach Bowl volunteer?

“I started out as assistant parade chairman and assistant game chairman. When the chairmen left, I moved into those positions. I was then given the title of Festival Division Chairman and was told to build a team of volunteers.”

How did you first get involved with the game?

“The Executive Director of the Bowl at that time was George Crumbley and he was in the Lions Club. I was also in the club and volunteered to help. George took me up on it.”

You’ve seen many memorable Chick-fil-A Peach Bowls. What are some of the games that stand out to you?

“There were many great games and no particular games stand out. Mainly because I was working during the game and didn’t get to watch much. I remember the games for some of the things that happened during the game, not part of the game. For example, when the game ball was dropped in by Army paratroopers, and one of them landed on a coach.”

When you look back at the growth of the game, what has made the Peach Bowl such a staple of the greater Atlanta sports scene?

“Atlanta is a college sports city and football is king. We made the Bowl a contest between the SEC and ACC, since Atlanta is in the middle of both conferences and there are large alumni bases of most of the schools in Atlanta. The rivalry has been promoted heavily by the Bowl and it has been successful.”

Besides the game, you also had a lot to do with the opening of the College Football Hall of Fame. Can you describe your role in this endeavor?

“Gary Stokan [current Chick-fil-A Executive Director] brought the HOF to Atlanta, and the Bowl was the organization that did all of the early work to get the project moving. Since Gary was CEO of the Bowl, he called on his Bowl Board to volunteer to help. I am a CPA and that expertise was needed to help develop the financial models that were needed. I am currently on the Audit Committee and the Finance Committee of the Hall.”

Over 47 years, you’ve witnessed first-hand how college football has grown into the sport it is today. What have been some of the biggest changes?

“In the early days there were few bowls and for a team to be invited to a bowl, it was a recognition of a great season. It was more about the honor rather than the payout. Now with approximately 40 bowls, it is about a trip to a bowl, nice gifts and the payout. A team has to win 6 of 12 games to be invited to a Bowl and if there are not enough teams to fill the slots, that requirement will be waived. The only games that really matter now as far as prestige are the two playoff games and the championship. The other games are for jockeying for position in the final polls, inter-conference play, and getting money to support the program.”

Which of your achievements within the game itself do you consider most noteworthy?

“All of my achievements have been as part of a team. We took the Bowl from one that was among the lowest payout games to one of the top six bowls. I helped reinvent the Bowl to generate corporate support in the form of volunteers and financial support from some of the largest companies in Atlanta. We brought Chick-fil-A on as our title sponsor during my term as Chairman. The bowl is truly a team effort with a great staff, volunteers, sponsors and leadership. That is the secret of our success.”