Ralph Capitelli selected as 63rd Sugar Bowl President
Will oversee all Allstate Sugar Bowl events including 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal
NEW ORLEANS – Ralph Capitelli, a prominent local attorney, has been selected as the Sugar Bowl Committee’s President for the 2020-21 year. Capitelli, whose family moved to New Orleans when he was 12 years old, earned his undergraduate degree from the University of New Orleans and his law degree from Loyola University of New Orleans. He is the 63rd president of the organization and will oversee the 87th annual playing of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic on January 1, 2021, which will double as a College Football Playoff Semifinal.
“For 25 years now, It’s been a great honor to serve as a member of the Sugar Bowl Committee and to be a part of an organization that has done so much good for New Orleans and Louisiana,” Capitelli said. “I’m grateful to my fellow committee members for providing me the opportunity to serve as their president. As has been the case from the Bowl’s start in the 1930s, our objective will be a mission of service as we navigate the rapidly changing world of college football. While I view the coming year as a challenge, it will also be a lot of fun.”
This year will mark the third time the Sugar Bowl Committee has hosted a semifinal game – the first two Playoff Semifinals were hugely successful sellouts. In the 2015 contest, Ohio State upended Alabama 42-35 and went on to claim the national championship, while the 2018 Sugar Bowl saw Alabama defeat Clemson 24-6 on its way to a national title. Ohio State and Alabama were the 27th and 28th college football national champions to be hosted by the Sugar Bowl. The two Playoff Semifinals combined for 50 million television viewers.
The match-up for the 2021 Allstate Sugar Bowl will be determined by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. The committee will rank the top teams in the country with the top four in the final ranking (to be released Sunday, December 6) being paired up in the Playoff Semifinals. The Rose Bowl will host the other semifinal game.
In addition, Mr. Capitelli will oversee the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s hosting and sponsorship of nearly 50 amateur sporting events in 2020. Included in those events are Louisiana High School Athletic Association state championships; the Crescent City Classic, a nationally-recognized road race featuring over 20,000 participants; the Manning Award, which honors college football’s top quarterback; three basketball tournaments; two volleyball tournaments; two soccer sponsorships; and events in baseball, bowling, cross country, golf, lacrosse, sailing, tennis and track and field.
The Sugar Bowl Committee was founded as the New Orleans Mid-Winter Sports Association in 1934 for the purpose of promoting amateur sporting events that would stimulate tourism and have a positive economic effect on the New Orleans metropolitan area. Over the last decade, the Sugar Bowl has had an economic impact of over $2.5 billion for the city and state.
Since being elected to the Sugar Bowl Committee in 1995, Capitelli has served on a wide-range of committees, including multiple years on the Bowl’s Executive Committee. Additionally, Capitelli has served as a Sugar Bowl officer for the past four years.
Capitelli succeeds Monique Morial, who directed the organization through the past year, and will serve with fellow officers Lloyd N. Frischhertz, President-Elect; Richard C. Briede, Vice President; Walter F. Becker, Jr., Treasurer; and Dorothy “Dottie” Reese, Secretary. Furthermore, the Sugar Bowl’s 61st President, Roderick K. West, was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee, and joining the 18-member Executive Committee for 2019-20 are Oscar M. “Mac” Gwin, IV; Cappy Meyer Johnson; Noel Rivers, III; Ashley Melius Zito and Sam Zurik, III.
Capitelli earned his bachelor of science degree in accounting from UNO. During his time as an undergraduate, he served as the original public address voice of the University of New Orleans basketball team.
After graduating from law school at Loyola University, Capitelli started his legal career working as an Assistant District Attorney of Orleans Parish for both Jim Garrison and Harry Connick in the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office. He rose to the position of First Assistant District Attorney and was chosen by the Louisiana Supreme Court to be the Special Counsel for the Louisiana Judiciary Commission. Capitelli volunteered on the Federal Public Defender panel and took “pro bono” cases that no other defense attorney would touch, including several death penalty cases.
In 1987, Capitelli partnered with Carey Wicker, who served as President of the Sugar Bowl Committee in 2015-16, to form their own law practice. In recent years, he has defended both corporations and individuals, with a particular focus on complex white collar and public corruption cases in Federal Court.
He shares his knowledge and passion for the law as a frequent guest lecturer at Tulane University’s School of Law.
In his personal life, Ralph and his wife Linda are active in Catholic charities and they have received the Order of St. Louis medallion. They have fundraised for Boy’s Hope and Girl’s Hope and numerous other charities. In 2016 Ralph and Linda co-chaired the annual function for the New Orleans Council for Community and Justice, an interfaith organization of Christians and Jews dedicated to fighting for equality and promoting understanding for all races, religions, and cultures.
The Capitellis have three sons: Brian, Christopher and David. Brian and Christopher are also members of the Sugar Bowl Committee.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 93 Hall of Fame players, 50 Hall of Fame coaches and 18 Heisman Trophy winners in its 86-year history. The 87th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which will double as a College Football Playoff Semifinal, will be played on January 1, 2021. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors nearly 100,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.5 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit www.AllstateSugarBowl.org.
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