When the Fiesta Bowl was founded in 1971, a group of community leaders in Arizona came together and formed the now infamous Yellow Jacket Committee.

It symbolized the sunshine that characterized the Valley, plus it was a way for committee members to attract attention for what became the 12th college football bowl game in 1971.

Today, the Yellow Jacket Committee is a team of community leaders, who dedicate themselves in work with sponsors, volunteers, staff, and the Board of Directors to support the Fiesta Bowl and other events.

A group of the Yellow Jacket Committee made a trip to Lynchburg, Virginia to visit and meet with representatives of Liberty University and the Flames football program the past couple of days as No. 23 Liberty prepares to take on No. 8 Oregon in this year’s Vrbo Fiesta Bowl to be played on New Year’s Day. This committee includes a group of team liaisons specifically for the Liberty Flames and their trip to the Phoenix area.

“I can’t express how excited we are to have Liberty come join us in our bowl game,” said Randle House a Fiesta Bowl and Yellow Jacket Committee member as well as the lead team liaison for Liberty. “I’m sure you guys are familiar with the Fiesta Bowl and the history. We’ve had some pretty exciting games with Group of Five participants. We are going to see nothing less this year from Liberty versus Oregon.”

Liberty, the first Conference USA member to reach a New Year’s Six Bowl, will spend about a week at the Fiesta Bowl and will take part in plenty of bowl sponsored events.

It begins when the Flames step off the plane in Phoenix. They will be greeted by the Yellow Jacket Committee and a mariachi band before being bused to a world-class resort. The “red carpet” will be rolled out for Liberty’s team, House said.

“We try to make it the best experience for the student-athletes as possible,” he said. “The three team liaisons are there with them from the time they hit the tarmac until the time they take off. This will be an experience they will never forget.”

On the heels of the team’s 13-0 record in 2023 that featured an 8-0 mark in CUSA play and a win over New Mexico State in the CUSA Championship game, the Flames received the berth into the Fiesta Bowl as the highest ranked Group of Five conference champion.

“There is no other experience outside of the Fiesta Bowl,” House said. “We tout our hospitality and what we do from a fan perspective, just being a part of State Farm Stadium where the Arizona Cardinals play. The fan experience outside of the bowl game – what to do in Phoenix in December, you’re going to come out to an average of 60 degree weather, the hiking, the trips to Sedona, the Grand Canyon. The fans will have no other experience like this.”

“We are very blessed to have Liberty,” said House. “We couldn’t be more excited for this matchup. We know Liberty is excited. We are going to do everything in our power to help you get a winning performance and knock off the Oregon Ducks.”

*photo courtesy Fiesta Bowl