Greg Byrne will take in his first game at Shreveport’s Independence Stadium today. But Arizona’s athletic director has a pretty cool history with the AdvoCare V100 Bowl, which used to be called the Independence Bowl.
We’ll let Byrne, the son of Bill Byrne, who served as the athletic director for Oregon, Nebraska and Texas A&M, tell you the story himself:
“In 1989, Oregon had not been to a bowl game for a long time. (The Ducks’ last appearance was the 1963 Sun Bowl). I sat on my parents living room couch my senior year of high school and listened to my dad lobby on the phone to get Oregon into the Independence Bowl. He had (Nike CEO) Phil Knight call. He had the governor call. He had (alums) Dan Fouts and Ahmas Rashad all calling to break the streak and he also promised that they would buy 10,000 tickets and it was only like 10 days notice when they came to an agreement.
“Oregon came and they were thrilled to be here. I was playing basketball, so I couldn’t come and I was really disappointed. It was a huge deal. As far as they were concerned, they were in the Rose Bowl.
“So when I started talking to the committee, I reminded some of the old-timers about that. They remembered. One of them came up to me at the kickoff event and they had a bowl ring from the ’89 game when (the Ducks) beat Tulsa.
“That was an important deal for my dad. In my dad’s man-cave at his house, of all the bowl games he’s been a part of at A&M and Nebraska, the only bowl game he has displayed is the 1989 Independence Bowl.”