By – Nick Sheehy
When the 49th Annual PlayStation Fiesta Bowl concludes on December 28, the Fiesta Bowl Chair of the Board Patrick Barkley will be front and center, as he presents the trophy to the winning coach.
The Arizona native was appointed to a two-year term as Chairman of the Board in April.
In addition to handing off the $1.2 million trophy before a national television audience, Barkley oversees the governance of the Board, helping lead and promote the nonprofit organization and its extensive football and charitable giving efforts.
Barkley’s history with the Fiesta Bowl started more than 20 years ago, when his love of college football compelled him to volunteer in 1997.
“It was exciting to get involved in the community and with one of the most prestigious organizations in the state,” Barkley said. “It’s truly a cross-section of the Valley, from small business owners to doctors, lawyers, CEOs and many other professions. Our love of college football has a unifying effect and being able to utilize that wonderful game to make a difference in our community through economic impact and charitable giving is truly incredible.”
Barkley’s first event with the organization was at the Fiesta Bowl’s Hole-In-One event in 1997. He then joined Fiesta Futures in 1998 and the Yellow Jacket Committee in 2000.
He has served a variety of leadership roles, such as the Yellow Jacket Committee Chair for the 2008-09 season and for the last two seasons, he was the Board Chair-Elect.
During the past two decades, the University of Arizona graduate has contributed to the game’s game operations, sales, recruiting, and even being a team liaison. The self-proclaimed “college football nut” could never have imagined where he’s ended up in one of the sport’s most prominent events.
“In 2001, I vividly remember rolling out the flag for the National Anthem and being careful to keep it from touching the ground. It was a very cool experience, especially given the events that happened that year,” Barkley said. “My favorite game was the Ohio State-Miami National Championship game that went to overtime in 2003. We had seats up in the endzone right by the game-winning drive, so it was fun to see that transpire right below us.”
Barkley’s love for what happens on the field is surpassed by his happiness with the expansion of the organization’s charitable efforts over the years.
“I’m most proud of our bowl as far as the growth since 2011. Before that, we didn’t have Fiesta Bowl Charities. Being on the board that year, we helped start Fiesta Bowl Charities, which has had a tremendous impact on the community,” Barkley said.
During Barkley’s first year on the Board, the organization changed its board governance and prioritized giving back to the community. Economic impact was part of it, as was being able to help specific charities through the grant process.
When Barkley isn’t serving the Fiesta Bowl, he’s a commercial mortgage banker with Newmark Realty Capital, the largest independently-owned commercial mortgage banking firm in the western United States.
Newmark sources commercial real estate loans for life company and correspondent lenders. They provide financing for office buildings industrial, retail and apartment buildings for life companies and different correspondent lenders.
During his free time, he likes to spend time with his wife Allison and their two sons, Michael and Matthew.
With the college football season coming soon, there is a lot of planning to be done.
“We’re fine-tuning everything. Every year we go through a full process of reviewing the game from the previous year and getting feedback from the teams, conferences, staff, and committee to make sure we are perfecting our process every year in order to provide a top-flight bowl experience,” Barkley said.
Barkley looks to expand his positive impact at the forefront during his two-year term. He will preside over the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl’s College Football Playoff Semifinal contest this season, and the organization’s 50th Anniversary season.
“When we have a CFP playoff game you can definitely feel a different intensity,” Barkley said. “During the 50th anniversary, it will also be my 50th Birthday so I think we’ve both aged fairly well. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work with our committee and volunteers and be a part of the Bowl on such a significant milestone.”