Published On: Wed, Sep 20th, 2023

Meet “Mr. Boca Bowl” Doug Mosley on Milestone Year for ESPN College Football Matchup

by Marci Shatzman

This week, Marci visited the offices of ESPN / Boca Bowl in Boca Raton to bring us an exclusive interview with Doug Mosley, one of the most beloved and active figures in our community. Let’s get to know him better through the perspective of our reporter

In ESPN office in Boca Raton are (back row from left) Gabriel Cirillo, Anna Damas, Tyler Mumford, and in the forefront Doug Mosley, executive director, 2023 Boca Raton Bowl.

Photo by Ron Elkman

Q: When ESPN hired you in 2014 to create a college football bowl game in Boca Raton from scratch, did you ever imagine there would be a 10th Boca Raton Bowl? It’s on Dec. 21 this year. I see a countdown on your website  

A: I’m quoting a national sports broadcaster who predicted the Boca Bowl would never even see game 3!

Q: What made you take that on?

A:  I got a call from someone I had worked with before, telling me they were putting together bowl games for ESPN. They had already announced they were creating a game the year before I was hired.

Q: Fast forward a decade, and the game is broadcast nationally (on ESPN, ESPN and locally on ESPN 106.3) using FAU Stadium as a venue. Events leading up to the game include a popular chefs’ tailgate competition on Nov. 8 at BRiC; both marching bands and spirit squads in Mizner Park Amphitheater the night before; a fanfest for families early on game day. My favorite part is the pre-game battle of the bands before kickoff at 8 p.m. this year. When will the two college football teams be announced, and when will game tickets go on sale?

A: Both on Dec. 3. We announce the teams through the media. We haven’t raised the ticket price. It’s $32 for the end zone and $57 for reserved sidelines. Keep an eye on our website for all the announcements. I love the battle of the bands, too, having no musical talent myself.

Q: Did you go to a Big 10 college?

A: I’m from Seehorn, Ill., a town of 14. It was so close to the Mississippi River that I could hear the calliope when the Delta Queen came by. We had a 3,000-acre family farm with livestock, but my father was also an auctioneer. I worked with him. He also had a real estate company in Quincy, a much bigger town. My brother lives near Las Vegas now, and both of us said: “We’re on our way to somewhere else.”

Q: Where did you go?

A: I earned my bachelor’s degree in 1985 from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, with a major in business and minor in journalism. I was honored in the spring of 2022 by the Athletic Hall of Fame. All the people who were guideposts in my life were there. It was really special. I earned a graduate degree in business later.

Q: I notice you have hundreds of bobbleheads St Louis Cardinals players and other team memorabilia in your office.

A: My paternal grandfather watched the Cardinals or listened to them on the radio. My Dad was a huge fan, so I’m a third-generation Cardinals fan. Now they have spring training at Roger Dean stadium in Jupiter. I’ve brainwashed my daughter Katie, who’s a sophomore at Spanish River High. My son Luke is 21 and waiting for basic training orders for the Navy. I married my wife Wendy in 2020. The kids are from my previous marriage to Stacy, who works for FAU.

Q: Were you in the service?

A: No, because of my eyes. I have a genetic cataract condition and my first surgery was at age 12. I’m blind in my left eye since 2016. My optic nerve is fine, but I have a corneal failure. I don’t see people waving at me from the left side!

Q: I noticed you’re about to become president of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission on Oct. 1.

A: I’m also in Leadership Palm Beach County with Jason Hagensick, president and CEO of the YMCA of South Palm Beach County. I’m on their board. I’m also on the boards of our charity partner the Spirit of Giving, and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Palm Beach County. 

Q: What else have you done in the community to became “Mr. Boca Bowl?

A: I’m in the Rotary Club of Boca Raton, and I give about 40 talks a year.  

Q: And finally to recap your career, you started in retail management, but realized that wasn’t for you. Then you moved around the country in such far-flung spots as Kansas City, Mo.; Clarksville, Tenn., Cincinnati, Tulsa, Destin, Fla. and Atlanta, where you helped launch a regional sports network for Comcast.

A: I became a stockbroker in Destin, Fla. but the timing wasn’t right. I talked my way into a volunteer job at the University of West Florida in Pensacola and was almost immediately hired. That changed everything.

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