Sugar Bowl chief Hoolahan to retire, replacement named
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Sugar Bowl chief executive officer Paul Hoolahan is retiring in June after overseeing one of college football’s premier postseason events for a quarter century.
Chief Operating Officer Jeff Hundley has been named Hoolahan’s successor.
Hoolahan, who announced his retirement on Friday, became the Sugar Bowl’s sixth executive director in 1996 and has directed Sugar Bowl operations for five national championship games.
Hoolahan also helped forge deals locking the Sugar Bowl into four College Football Playoff semifinal games in 2015, ’18, ’21 and ’24, and forged deals with the Southeastern Conference and Big 12 to bring each league’s top non-playoff teams to the Sugar Bowl in years when the game is not designated as a semifinal.
Sugar Bowl officials estimate that Hoolahan’s efforts have helped generate $3 billion for the New Orleans-area economy during the past 25 years.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey says Hoolahan has “played a crucial role in strengthening the Southeastern Conference’s relationship with the Sugar Bowl during the transitional times of the Bowl Championship Series and College Football Playoff era.”
CFP executive director Bill Hancock says Hoolahan’s intuition and judgment have served college football well.
Hoolahan is a New York native who played college football at North Carolina, where he later became associate athletic director before serving as Vanderbilt’s athletic director.