Air Force Reserve joins inaugural Celebration Bowl as title sponsor

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Chance Babin
  • Air Force Reserve Recruiting Service
The Air Force Reserve has signed on to be the title sponsor of the inaugural Celebration Bowl. The game, scheduled for Dec. 19 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, will begin the college football bowl season. Kickoff is set for noon, and the game will be broadcast nationally on the ABC network.

The Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl will feature the tradition, legacy and pageantry of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and will crown an HBCU football champion. Facing off against each other will be the champions of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the North Carolina A&T Aggies, versus Alcorn State, champions from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
"We are very excited to be the title sponsor of the inaugural Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl," said Col. Christopher Nick, the Air Force Reserve's Recruiting Service commander. "We feel that spotlighting the top teams from the Historically Black Colleges and Universities aligns well with the Air Force Reserve's commitment to diversity. We hope that the players, attendees and viewers will gain greater awareness about Air Force Reserve opportunities to serve part-time in the military while living in their local communities."

For Maj. Gen. Richard Haddad, Air Force Reserve Command vice commander, being part of the game is a natural fit.

"It makes me feel proud that we are able to sponsor this brand new bowl," Haddad said. "It's a great opportunity for us to spread the Air Force Reserve Command name and what it means to be a Citizen Airman. Obviously it's going to help recruiting, and it's going to help with diversity."

The general said the game will provide the Reserve with an opportunity to demonstrate that "we are a diverse command and there are many opportunities in the Reserve to better one's future, such as becoming a pilot or engineer."

The general knows a few things about college football, as he played four seasons at the Air Force Academy before graduating in 1981. He will speak at an Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl dinner prior to the game, participate in the pregame coin toss and award the trophy to the winners.

"I wore a helmet just like them and played the game of football, so it's going to be neat to be part of all the activities, to see all those young football players and to be able to relate to them," Haddad said. "Football teaches you about winning and losing. It teaches you about perseverance, teamwork and all the things life throws at you. You learn that on the gridiron."

John Grant, Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl executive director, made a visit to AFRC to meet with Haddad and Nick to discuss their vision for the game.

"As we continue to build toward creating a pinnacle event when the inaugural Celebration Bowl kicks off Dec. 19, it is exciting to have the Air Force Reserve join us as our title sponsor," Grant said. "This game is a tremendous opportunity, made all the more exceptional with such a valued partner and representative of the United States armed forces."

The Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN. For more information, visit and follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.