Air Force Gen. Richard Clark hired as next College Football Playoff executive director
al.com November 10, 2023
(Tribune News Service) — Lt. Gen. Richard Clark will be the next executive director of the College Football Playoff, it was announced Friday.
Clark, currently the superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy, will take over with the CFP when Bill Hancock retires in January 2025. Hancock has been executive director since the playoff’s inception in 2014.
“I’m pleased to announce that Lt. Gen. Clark has accepted our offer to run the CFP and I’m highly confident he will do a superb job in this important position,” said Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University and chairman of the College Football Playoff Board of Managers.
“General Clark’s experience leading the U.S. Air Force Academy as a three-star general and also being a four-year letter winner with the U.S Air Force football team gives him a strong background to excel in this crucial leadership role.”
Clark, who was born into a military family in Germany and grew up in Virginia, played linebacker at Air Force in the 1980s. The Falcons went 12-1 and finished ranked eighth nationally in his senior season of 1985.
The 59-year-old Clark did part of his training at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., graduating with distinction from Squadron Officer School. He served as a bomber pilot during the Gulf War, the Iraq War and in Afghanistan before moving into administration and later taking over management of the Air Force Academy in 2020.
“I am honored to become the executive director of the College Football Playoff,” said Clark, who plans to retire from the Air Force in 2024. “College football is an American tradition unlike any other. Especially now, as the playoff is expanding from four teams to 12 teams, this is an exciting time for fans and everyone involved in this great game. I’m excited to be a part of it and I look forward to beginning my work.”
“I want to thank Bill Hancock for all that he’s done for college football. He will certainly leave big shoes to fill and I look forward to his mentorship. I also want to thank the U.S. Air Force Academy, where I have built so many incredible relationships. It is the place that launched my military and academic career. It will be hard to leave the service after 38 years and I will always be indebted to the Academy and the Air Force.”
Hancock, 73, announced in June that he will retire at the end of the 2024 season. Next season will be the first under a 12-team College Football Playoff format, the playoff having used a 4-team model for the first 10 years of its existence.
“Bill has been an outstanding leader for CFP’s first 10 years,” Keenum said. “Everyone in college football owes Bill a debt of gratitude.”
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