As Monty Clegg’s career took him through various sports landing spots, it was natural for him to sign on when two college football bowl games were brought to North Texas. Clegg, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ohio State University, has lived in Arlington since 1986 with his wife, Brenda.
He’s the associate manager of events for the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, which will be played on Saturday, Dec. 23 at TCU’s Amon Carter Stadium, and the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl, scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 26 at SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium.
What’s your professional background?
You name a baseball stop in the Metroplex and chances are I’ve worked there since moving to Texas.
But to start – right out of college I got a job with the Oklahoma City 89ers (Triple-A affiliate for the Texas Rangers) in 1983, then 15 years with the Rangers, four years with the Fort Worth Cats, one year with Grand Prairie AirHogs and other stops: TicketCity Bowl (two years), and Big League Dreams (one year).
How did you become affiliated with the Armed Forces Bowl, and with the First Responder Bowl?
It’s kind of ironic. The current bowl director, Brant Ringler, and I worked together for the Fort Worth Cats. I was the executive vice president and general manager, and he was the marketing/sales director. At different times, each of us was let go. Now he is my boss. The Armed Forces Bowl is one of 14 bowls owned by ESPN. ESPN picked up the TicketCity Bowl/Heart of Dallas bowl nine years ago, and since it was in the area, our office took over management duties for both of those bowls.
What are some of your duties?
Operations, finances, team liaison. There are only three of us overseeing two bowl games, so we all wear a lot of hats.
What are some of your most memorable experiences with the bowls?
Well last year’s 14-degree and negative wind chill factor at kickoff won’t be forgotten. Having Don Graves, a 92-year-old Iwo Jima veteran, sing the national anthem one year was pretty special. Flyovers and parachute drops each year still give me chill bumps. Each year, with the help of the Red Cross, we bring back a soldier from overseas to reunite and surprise his/her family on the field during the game, always a highlight of joy.
What are your favorite parts of the bowls?
It sounds cliché, but the end of the game, knowing that we gave everything we had to provide a memorable game and experience for players and coaches and fans and veterans and first responders.
How are teams selected to play in the games?
The $64,000 question. Each bowl has agreements with conferences. So first and foremost, those contracts dictate the matchups. A prime example is that the Rose Bowl has always had a Big 10 vs Pac-10 agreement. However, with us and the lower-tier bowls, it’s not so clean-cut because we along with most bowls have agreements with several conferences. In the end, the 14 bowl games owned by ESPN have an ESPN VP assist in getting each of the ESPN bowls the best matchup based on those agreements and regionality.
Besides football, what other activities are connected with the games?
There’s lots of fun in the pre-game fanfests, lots of on-field promotions to benefit military and first responder honorees, and giveaways for fans (programs, cheer cards).
One of the most interesting items for fans is what is called a fancam. There is a company that takes a photo of the stadium and provides a link to where fans can log in and zoom in to find themselves in the stands. The technology is amazing to where they can zoom in to a clear image to notice every detail about themselves. down to the color of a button on their jacket.
How can people attend the games?
It’s super easy to purchase digital tickets via the bowl websites starting Dec. 3 when the teams are announced. However, going back to the recognition and honoring theme, military (active and veterans) and first responders can log onto the websites and claim four free general admission tickets now (Armedforcesbowl.com, Firstresponderbowl.com).
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m an outdoors guy. I enjoy bicycling, walking. I’m a high school and select ball softball umpire and answer to “Hey Blue.” I’ve been doing that for 14 years and enjoy being on the diamond and challenge of it. A hobby is magic, and I’m an Eagle Scout, Christian, and baseball and college football fan.