Football bowl executive Cavalli set for his final kickoff


Gary Cavalli, Executive Director of the Foster Farms Bowl and a veteran of more than 40 years in college and professional sports administration in the Bay Area, will call it a career this weekend.

The 2015 Foster Farms Bowl, featuring UCLA against Nebraska, is set for Saturday at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara at 6:15 p.m. Cavalli will retire following the game.

Cavalli, 66, one of the game's three co-founders and the lone Executive Director in its 14-year history, has since 2002 taken the bowl from inception to one of the leading postseason games in the country.

First known as the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl, followed by Emerald Bowl, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and now Foster Farms Bowl, the contest has been lauded over the past decade-plus as one of the industry's best-managed games, featuring San Francisco as the backdrop for an eventful week-long experience for players, coaches, staff, alumni and fans.

Stanford played in the game last season, beating Maryland.

"I've been very lucky to be involved in college and pro sports for most of my life," Cavalli said. "I started out as a wet-behind-the-ears sports information director at Stanford, helped launch a women's pro basketball league, and have run a postseason bowl game for the last 14 years. It's been a good ride.

"Our bowl has much to be proud of, including four sellouts, several of the highest-rated games in ESPN history, over $150 million for the local economy and 400,000 meals donated to needy families. Our staff and volunteers have provided a great experience for the participating teams.

"But this is the right time for me to move on. I'm ready to slow down a bit and pursue some other interests like teaching, writing, traveling, and spending more time with my children and grandchildren."

Football Bowl Association Executive Director Wright Waters said, "Gary Cavalli has earned the respect of the intercollegiate athletic community. Now he has certainly earned the opportunity to move into that next phase of his life. The bowl industry is much better for his long and distinguished service."

Cavalli previously was co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the American Basketball League, a pioneering women's professional league; and sports information director and associate athletic director at Stanford University, his alma mater.

He is the author of the book, Stanford Sports, and co-executive producer of the award-winning documentary film Disposable Heroes. He produced network television programming for FOX Sports and managed NCAA golf and soccer championships.

Cavalli was also founder and president of a successful marketing communications firm whose clients included Super Bowl XIX, World Cup Soccer, Stanford Athletics, Whole Foods Market and Comerica Bank.

He currently is an adjunct professor in the USF Sports Management Program and teaches for Stanford Continuing Studies and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Football fan
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 26, 2015 at 8:15 pm

For his last act, you would think Mr. Cavalli could have hired decent referrees for the bowl game. First, the Umpire ignores a blatant facemask right in front of him, then the replay referee ejects a player for a clean tackle. When the ESPN announcers are united in their disagreement, it has to be a wrong call. There should be some sort of repercussions for such a poor job. An apology, Mr. Cavalli?

Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2015 at 4:12 pm

Maybe in retirement Gary Cavalli can remount his Palo Alto Jazz Festival

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Why is it becoming increasingly impossible to open a restaurant on the Peninsula?
By Elena Kadvany | 27 comments | 5,099 views

Firing Judge Persky as a tennis coach was a big mistake
By Diana Diamond | 23 comments | 2,830 views

Electric Buses: A case study
By Sherry Listgarten | 3 comments | 2,185 views

It just takes time
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 562 views

Helping Partners Become Couples (vs. Helping Couples Become Partners)
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 463 views



On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Register now