Fiesta Bowl Executive Director Mike Nealy Named to Phoenix Business Journal’s Most Admired Leaders List - Fiesta Bowl | Fiesta Bowl

Fiesta Bowl Executive Director Mike Nealy Named to Phoenix Business Journal’s Most Admired Leaders List

Sep 10, 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – Fiesta Bowl Executive Director Mike Nealy has been named to Phoenix Business Journal’s Most Admired Leaders list for his strong community involvement and the positive impact he’s had on the Fiesta Bowl organization.

Nealy and 24 other outstanding Valley leaders were selected by a panel of judges based on leadership, dedication and the impact they have to their organization and community.

“Mike has been a tremendous leader for the Fiesta Bowl organization,” said Steve Leach, Chair of the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors. “From the football side, to our charitable-giving efforts and to our many community events throughout the year, the Fiesta Bowl has reached incredible heights under Mike’s dedication and leadership.”

Since joining the Fiesta Bowl organization as Executive Director four years ago, Nealy has brought the Fiesta Bowl out of major issue and crisis, changing the organizational focus from being solely about football to enhancing its position at the top of college football plus a commitment to being a record-setting community partner., The Fiesta Bowl has donated $12.5 million over the last eight years, including $2.5 million this past year alone.

In addition to the transformative community impact numbers, under Nealy, the Fiesta Bowl has partnered with top brands such as PlayStation® and Kellogg’s Cheez-It® and has been a leader in innovation, hosting the first-ever collegiate national championship for esports last February.

“It is an honor to be a part of the Phoenix Business Journal’s group of Most Admired Leaders,” said Nealy. “This award is a tribute to the Board of Directors, Yellow Jackets, Ambassadors, staff and volunteers who make up the Fiesta Bowl family. I am proud to serve this special group of people each day because of the outstanding people they are and the great work they do.”

Nealy is also widely respected in the sports and bowl industry, serving as Vice Chairman of the Football Bowl Association.

Prior to the Fiesta Bowl, Nealy was President and COO of the Phoenix Coyotes and led the organization to record-breaking sales and operating successes in a time of transition for the franchise. In 2012, the team was ranked the highest of all Arizona teams and the sixth-best franchise among all professional sports teams by ESPN. In 2012, he was named Sports Business Leader of the Year by Minnesota State University for demonstrating outstanding business, academic and visionary leadership.

Outside of his work for the Fiesta Bowl, Nealy is on the Board of Directors of Experience Scottsdale and Positive Coaching Alliance and is a member of Greater Phoenix Leadership. He was formerly on the Board for Fighter Country Partnership, Partnership for Drug Free America and was an Honorary Commander at Luke Air Force Base. Additionally, Nealy was a speaker at the 2017 Integrity Summit alongside Jerry Colangelo, Peter Fine, Hope Levin, Bob Mulhern, Mia-Ai Parrish and Carl Liebert.

A Minnesota native, Nealy earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from the University of Minnesota. Nealy and his wife, Brenda, live in Phoenix with their two children, Regan and Simon.

The 25 selected winners will be recognized at an awards dinner on Thursday, September 20 at JW Marriott Desert Ridge and the group will be featured in the Most Admired Leaders special section to be included in the Phoenix Business Journal edition on September 21.


The Fiesta Bowl’s vision is to be a world-class community organization that executes innovative experiences, drives economic growth and champions charitable causes, inspiring pride in all Arizonans. As a nonprofit organization, it believes in the importance of community outreach and service. Through charitable giving, the organization strives to enhance Arizona nonprofit organizations that contribute to the success of communities through youth, sports and education. Since 1971, Fiesta Bowl Charities has worked to increase its footprint across the state and work to benefit Arizonans year round, during and outside of bowl season. For more information about its local impact and how to get involved, visit