“Atlanta — College Football Capital of the World”
Gary P. Stokan is President and CEO of the Chick‑fil‑A Bowl and serves in the same capacity for Atlanta Hall Management, Inc. — the organization created to build and manage the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. He is past president of the Atlanta Sports Council where he served for 12 years, concurrently with his role with the Chick‑fil‑A Bowl.
As President of the Chick‑fil‑A Bowl, which generates an annual economic impact of $35 million for the city of Atlanta and state of Georgia, Stokan has positioned the Chick‑fil‑A Bowl as the number-one non-BCS bowl in the nation. The Bowl has enjoyed a string of 14 consecutive sellouts, making it one of the highest-attended non-BCS bowl games in the country. The Chick‑fil‑A Bowl also leads all bowl games in the nation in charitable and scholarship donations, giving more than $7 million since 2002 which garnered the Atlanta Small Business Philanthropic Award.
With 32 years of corporate sports management experience, Stokan has put his fingerprint on major events that bring exposure and economic impact to Atlanta by creating the Chick‑fil‑A Kickoff Game, a BCS-type neutral-site game that annually matches top-ranked teams to open the college football season; the Chick‑fil‑A Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament, which annually provides $500,000 for scholarship and charity to its participating universities; and the Atlanta Sports Awards that recognizes and celebrates success in Atlanta sports.
Additionally, Stokan’s leadership efforts in recruiting the National Football Foundation resulted in the future relocation of the College Football Hall of Fame to Atlanta and the creation of Atlanta Hall Management, Inc. The College Football Hall of Fame will soon open a new state-of-the-art, $50 million interactive facility in downtown Atlanta in proximity to Centennial Olympic Park.
From 2005–2010, Stokan served as president of the Atlanta Tipoff Club, owner of the Naismith Awards. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, founder of the game of basketball, the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T is presented annually to the men’s and women’s college basketball players of the year.
As president of the Atlanta Sports Council, Stokan led Atlanta’s efforts to brand the city as the “Sports Capital of the World”, drawing a range of world-caliber sporting events to metro Atlanta. Named the 2002, 2004 & 2006 Sports Commission of the Year, the Atlanta Sports Council successfully bid for Super Bowl XXXIV, the 2009 and 2012 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament, 2002 and 2007 NCAA Men’s Final Four, 2003 Women’s Final Four, 2008 NHL All-Star Game, 2000 MLB All-Star Game, 2003 NBA All-Star Game and the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour. Stokan also led the Atlanta Sports Council recruitment of the USA Volleyball Junior Olympic Championships and the U.S. Women’s Figure Skating Championships to the metro Atlanta, played a role in securing the 2013 NCAA Men’s Final Four and led Atlanta’s successful bid for Wrestlemania 27. Over his 13 years $1.87 billion in economic impact and $73.6 million in direct government tax revenues was created. Including the future contracted events in 2011, 2012 and 2013 Stokan’s leadership has created an economic impact of over $2 billion and $75 million in direct government tax revenues for the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia.
Stokan was recognized by Sports Events Magazine as one of the top 25 key innovators and influencers in the sports community.
A former basketball student athlete, basketball coach and graduate of North Carolina State University, Gary has been married to his high school sweetheart, Tia, for 32 years. Together, they have two daughters, Christie, a graduate of the University of Tennessee, and Michele, a graduate of the University of Georgia.