Orange Bowl

He helped create the Orange Bowl back in the 1930s. Now, he’s being honored for it

Earnie Seiler (left) was one of the revolutionaries who helped create the Orange Bowl back in the 1930s. He will be posthumously honored this month with the Football Bowl Association’s Legacy Award for 2018.
Earnie Seiler (left) was one of the revolutionaries who helped create the Orange Bowl back in the 1930s. He will be posthumously honored this month with the Football Bowl Association’s Legacy Award for 2018. Courtesy of the Orange Bowl

Earnie Seiler was one of the revolutionaries who helped create the Orange Bowl back in the 1930s.

Nicknamed the “Mad Genius,” his persuasive charm and relentless effort helped forge the South Florida bowl game into one of the most iconic annual college football games.

And now, he’s being recognized for his efforts.

Seiler will be posthumously honored with the Football Bowl Association’s Legacy Award for 2018. Also being honored are the Sugar Bowl’s Fred Digby and Warren Miller, as well as the Cotton Bowl’s Field Scovill. The award, which is given to “individuals with distinguished service within the Bowl industry,” will be presented when the association holds its annual meetings in Boise from April 17-19.

“All of these games are iconic in its own right and an institution in Miami, New Orleans and Dallas,”Football Bowl Association executive director Wright Waters said in a release. “Each owes its success to the early achievements of these four pioneers.”

And the Orange Bowl wouldn’t have been the Orange Bowl it is today without Seiler.

It was Seiler, a former recreation director for the City of Miami, who served as the first executive director of the Orange Bowl Committee and helped morph the bowl into one of the premier scenes in college football. He held his rolw until stepping down in 1974.

It was under Seiler that got the game on the map when it hosted a pair of undefeated teams in 1939 in just the fifth year of the game’s existence and second in the iconic Orange Bowl stadium. No. 2 Tennessee defeated No. 4 Oklahoma 17-0 in that game.

And It was Seiler who led the charge and in 1964 got the Orange Bowl to the first major bowl to play a televised night game. No. 6 Nebraska defeated No. 5 Auburn 13-7 that day.

“Earnie was one of a kind,” Orange Bowl Committee president and chair Sean Pittman said. “With the Orange Bowl as his vehicle, he tirelessly promoted South Florida and became a ‘larger than life’ figure throughout our state. He is a true legend in the bowl business as are the other honorees. Together, their contributions to the bowl business are immeasurable.”

The Football Bowl association will hold a presention honoring the Seiler family during festivities for this year’s Orange Bowl, which will serve as one of the two College Fotball Playoff Semifinal games.

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