Growing up a Cowboys fan in her hometown of Dallas, Julie Jeter said she never really appreciated the college version of football – outside the annual Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma. That all changed after moving to Mobile.
The contest that has now evolved into the GoDaddy Bowl was in its early stages, and the organizers were looking for a general manager. Thanks to a mutual friend, Jeter got an interview and eventually earned the job in 2002.
A few years later, after having left to work for a local marketing firm, Jeter received a call to see if she would like to return as the GoDaddy Bowl’s director of marketing and media relations. She was interested, and had been with the bowl game for the last several seasons. But once again, things changed.
“I was not actively seeking a new position,” Jeter told Lagniappe. “It just kind of happened.”
The catalyst was the decision by Chris Morgan, who had spent the last 16 years as the director of game operations for the Senior Bowl, to accept the position of general manager for the Mobile BayBears. As reported in this column last month, Morgan had worked for the minor league baseball organization earlier in his career as the marketing manager.
When Jeter learned of the Senior Bowl opening, she did not pursue it. In fact, she encouraged a friend to apply. But after hearing about the duty changes planned for the job, her acquaintance suggested to Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage that it sounded like something made for Jeter.
“It just snowballed from there,” said Jeter, who is now the Senior Bowl’s director of corporate sponsorships and brand management.
“I take care of all the sponsors,” she said. “I make sure their contracts are fulfilled with us, and I also seek out new corporate sponsors.”
Jeter said there is no animosity between the two organizations, with her leaving.
“I have known everyone at the Senior Bowl for the last couple of years,” she said. “It was a very smooth transition.” The two groups have teamed up at the University of Mobile’s Pack the Pack Bash event at Hank Aaron Stadium that distributed school supplies to elementary students. For the last two years, the groups have also joined to sponsor a celebrity golf tournament.
“It is the same, but it is still different,” Jeter said of the two games. “GoDaddy is a NCAA-sanctioned college game, with certain rules to follow. The Senior Bowl is a lot of stars from a bunch of different teams. They are both football, and I am excited to still be involved with the sport.”
Jeter is just one of many women who serve key roles for the two bowl games. Sherrie Dyal is the general manager of the GoDaddy Bowl, while Samantha Slover oversees the game’s social media marketing. Meanwhile at the Senior Bowl, Sonya Wakefield is director of ticket sales and business management, while Lauren Taylor is the director of hospitality events and community outreach programs.
Bringing home the gold
Mobile’s DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins played a key role for Team USA basketball squad at the 2014 FIBA World Cup. In the 129-92 championship win over Serbia, the 6-foot-11 LeFlore High School grad scored 11 points and pulled down 9 rebounds.
Cousins was a top reserve for the Americans, who swept through the field without a loss. For the tournament, Cousins averaged 9.6 points and 5.6 rebounds while hitting 70.2 percent of his field goal attempts.
The Sacramento Kings star, though, may have left his biggest mark after a European sports reporter asked him a condescending question. Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press captured the moment.
When the snooty journalist wanted to know if Cousins had a clue as to where Slovenia – the country that USA was set to play – was located, Cousins propelled his question into the bleachers by responding, “No! Do you know where Alabama is?” The startled reporter did not. Game, set, match!
Lots of action on The Hill
Badger sports fans will have plenty to keep them busy this weekend.
Starting on Friday, Sept. 26, the Spring Hill College Cross Country Classic will take over the school’s golf course. The women start the run at 4:30 p.m., while the men follow at 5:30. Included in the field are the squads from the University of Mobile.
The soccer teams for SHC have games scheduled on Library Field. On Friday, Christian Brothers will be the opponent, with the women playing at 2 p.m. and the men at 4. On Sunday, Union will play the Badgers, with the women starting at 1 p.m. and the men following at 3:30.
Keeping up between issues
Because of the way sports stories are always breaking, I try to keep our readers informed through Twitter. I invite everyone wanting sports updates to follow my account: @GoulaGuy.
I mention this because of the report I just got from Twitter, mentioning the activity on my account during the week leading up to South Alabama’s football game with Mississippi State. I was pleasantly surprised to learn my tweets had 3,998 total views.
Thanks to all of you who follow Lagniappe in print and in cyberspace. Please use both formats to provide us with story ideas and your comments.