Two Players, One Coach and a Founder to be Honored this December

LAS VEGAS - The MAACO Bowl Las Vegas will help commemorate reaching the 20-year milestone by inducting an inaugural class of four individuals into a newly created Hall of Fame this December. The group, which was announced Sept. 20 by the bowl's President of the Executive Board of Directors Rob Dondero, will be made up of Steven Jackson (Player), Anthony Calvillo (Player), John Robinson (Coach) and Rossi Ralenkotter (Founding Father).

The Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at the annual Kickoff Luncheon on Dec. 21 as well as at the game the following evening. The 20th edition of the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, which is owned by ESPN Regional Television Inc. (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, will be played Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011, at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET) at Sam Boyd Stadium and be televised live on ESPN HD. Tickets for MAACO Bowl Las Vegas XX, which are on sale now, are $25, $35, $55 and $100 and can be reserved by phone by calling (702) 732-FANS.

While Ralenkotter (President and CEO of LVCVA) worked diligently to help make the game a reality two decades ago, Calvillo (Utah State quarterback 1993) and Jackson (Oregon State running back 2003) were named Most Valuable Player in their respective appearances and Robinson became the sport's winningest bowl coach while leading his 2000 UNLV team to a victory over Arkansas.

''Reaching 20 years is special for everyone involved in our game and this class of remarkable performers is a perfect blend of those who helped build it, coach in it and star in it over the first two decades,'' said MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Executive Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy. ''This bowl would not exist without Rossi Ralenkotter, John Robinson is already a College Football Hall of Famer, Anthony Calvillo went on to become the most prolific passer in CFL history while Steven Jackson is a homegrown talent who may be the best ever to come out of our city. You could not ask for a better group to begin our Hall of Fame.''

The Las Vegas Bowl Hall of Fame will welcome a class every five years but there is no time requirement to be eligible for induction. While there is no minimum or maximum amount of honorees in a class, inductees will fall under the following categories: Player, Coach, Founding Father or Contributor.

The MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, which will again feature the top choice from the Mountain West against the fifth pick from the Pac-12 Conference, currently stands as the 16th-oldest game in the current 35-bowl lineup. Last year's MAACO Bowl Las Vegas attracted the sixth consecutive sellout crowd as 41,923 fans saw No. 10 Boise State defeat No. 19 Utah 26-3. Last year's bowl week provided an estimated total of $28.6 million in economic impact courtesy of 36,050 out-of-town visitors to Southern Nevada. That reflected a one-year increase of more than $5 million. In its first 19 years of existence, the bowl has attracted more than 358,000 out-of-town visitors and pumped nearly $188 million into the local economy in non-gaming revenue alone.


Quarterback, Utah State UniversityLas Vegas Bowl II (Dec. 18, 1993)

The California native helped Utah State win the 1993 co-Big West Conference championship and an automatic bid to its first bowl game since 1961 ... Completed 25 of 39 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Aggies to a thrilling 42-33 victory over Ball State ... It was the first and only bowl victory in the school's now-113 years of football history ... Voted the game's MVP ... Began pro career in 1994 as quarterback of the Las Vegas Posse during franchise's only year of existence as part of the Canadian Football League ... Then played three seasons for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after being selected in dispersal draft ... Signed free-agent contract with Montreal Alouettes in 1998 ... Continues with team in 2011 and in his 18th season in Canada, he has passed for the fourth-most yards in the history of professional football with 71,000 and counting ... Has thrown for more touchdown passes (400+) and completions (5,275+) than anyone in league history ... Has won three Grey Cup championships (2002, 2009, and 2010) and was named Grey Cup MVP in 2002 ... Has won the CFL's Most Outstanding Player Award three times (2003, 2008, and 2009), which ties him for second all-time behind Doug Flutie.

Running Back, Oregon State University
Las Vegas Bowl XII (Dec. 24, 2003)

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Jackson signed with Oregon State after starring at Eldorado High School ... Led the Beavers to a 55-14 blowout victory on Christmas Eve 2003 ... Voted bowl MVP after tying NCAA bowl record with five total touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) ... Voted MVP after amassing 149 rushing yards on 28 carries ... Selected in the first round (24th overall) in the 2004 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams ... Now in his eighth pro season, he has rushed for more than 8,000 yards, caught passes for more than 2,600 yards and scored 55 total touchdowns ... Passed Eric Dickerson as the all-time leading rusher for the Rams in 2010 ... Entered the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame in summer 2011 ... A three-time NFL Pro Bowl selection (2006, 2009, 2010) and two-time second-team All-Pro pick (2006, 2009) ... Current streak of six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons is longest active streak in the NFL.

Founding Father

As President and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), Ralenkotter is responsible for marketing Las Vegas and Southern Nevada as the world's most desirable destination for leisure and business travel ... Began his career at the LVCVA 36 years ago as a research analyst ... Prior to becoming President and CEO in 2004, he was the Authority's Executive Vice President and Senior Vice President of Marketing ... Was instrumental in securing the bowl slot from the defunct California Raisin Bowl and moving the game from Fresno to Las Vegas in time for the 1992 season ... Has helped the game grow into a major economic boost for Southern Nevada each December while featuring teams from the Pac-12 Conference and Mountain West ... Named Distinguished Nevadan by UNLV in 2009 ... UNLV Alumni of the Year recipient in 2008 ... Lifetime achievement recipient from American Marketing Association.

Head Coach, UNLV
Las Vegas Bowl IX (Dec. 21, 2000)

The former USC and NFL coach took over UNLV in 1999 and one year later led the Rebels to their first bowl appearance in six seasons ... UNLV earned at-large bid to Las Vegas Bowl and defeated Arkansas 31-14 ... The Razorbacks were only SEC team to ever play in Las Vegas ... Victory over Houston Nutt's squad gave Robinson the best winning percentage (.888) in NCAA bowl history for anyone with at least eight appearances (8-1 all-time in bowls) ... The former National Championship coach at USC led the Rebels from 1999-2004 and also served as the school's athletics director in 2002-03 ... He also served as the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams (1983-91), twice advancing to the NFC title game ... Entered the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010 and is also a member of the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame (2004) and USC Athletic Hall of Fame (2009) ... Currently works for the development arm of USC Athletics while continuing to serve as radio analyst for Sports Radio USA Network.