PODCAST: S4:EP23–Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl

Join us for S4:EP23 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast as Gary Stokan, Chief Executive Officer and President of Peach Bowl, sits down with our host Roy Kessel to discuss what the Peach Bowl means to him and how he can give back to his community.

Gary P. Stokan is CEO and president of Peach Bowl, Inc., a position he has held since 1998. As CEO and president of Peach Bowl, Inc., Stokan has positioned the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl as one of the best bowl game organizations in the nation and earned the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl a position as a New Year’s Six bowl game in the College Football Playoff along with the Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta and Cotton Bowls.

With 38 years of corporate sports management experience at Adidas, Converse, and owning and operating two sports marketing companies, Stokan has created major events that bring exposure and economic impact to Atlanta by creating the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, which is the leader in opening weekend games; the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament, which annually provides more than $800,000 for scholarship and charity to its participating universities and coaches charities; the Atlanta Sports Awards, which recognizes and celebrates success in Atlanta sports and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl College Corner.

From 2005-2010, Stokan also 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 coaches and basketball players of the year.

As president of the Atlanta Sports Council from 1998-2009, Stokan led Atlanta’s efforts to brand the city as the “Sports Capital of the World”, drawing a range of world-class sporting events to metro Atlanta.

Stokan has been ranked by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the 100 Most Influential Atlantans, a top 50 leader in Atlanta hospitality, was recently named one of Atlanta’s Most Admired CEOs and will be inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2019. He is a nationally recognized speaker and serves on the Board of the Children’s Healthcare Sports, the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and The Dodd Trophy. He has also been recognized by Sports Events Magazine as one of the top 25 key innovators and influencers in the sports community. Stokan has been honored with the Boy Scouts of America’s Bobby Jones Award, the American Diabetes Association Father of the Year Award, received the highest honor bestowed by Sigma Alpha Epsilon, ‘The Highest Effort,’ award for a lifetime of career achievement, the Tom Bingham Fellow Award honoring the highest achievement in support of the work of the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation, the Playmaker Community Impact Award from the Roddy White Foundation and the Erk Russell Spirit Award by the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame for his contributions to sports.

Stokan is a former basketball student-athlete, Jon Speaks Award winner for team leadership, assistant basketball coach, and business management graduate of North Carolina State University. Gary has been married to his high school sweetheart, Tia, for 40 years. Together, they have two daughters: Christie and Michele. They are the proud grandparents of Eston, Stokan, and Penn.

Peach Bowl, Inc. is the 501(c)3 organization that owns and operates the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament, manages day-to-day operations of The Dodd Trophy, and was the original recruiter and founding sponsor of the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. PBI was originally founded by the Georgia Lion’s Club in 1967 and hosted its first NCAA-sanctioned Peach Bowl game in Atlanta in 1968. Peach Bowl, Inc.’s mission is to positively impact people’s lives by celebrating college athletics, through best-in-class events and activities that create charitable donations, scholarships, economic impact, and memorable experiences.

Gary Stokan joins our host Roy Kessel on S4:EP23 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast


  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 00:55 Gary’s Passion For Sports
  • 05:20 Best Memories Growing Up
  • 06:55 Sports Breaking Down Barriers
  • 08:00 Creating Opportunity to Play Sports
  • 12:35 How You Deal with Adversity
  • 16:15 Gary’s Early Career: High School to College
  • 22:25 Adversity, Teamwork, Breaking Down Racial Issues
  • 23:15 Giving Back
  • 26:35 Charity Golf Tournament
  • 31:00 Fundraising
  • 35:25 Favorite Initiatives at Peach Bowl
  • 38:40 How to Support | Contact Information
  • 40:20 SPN Bonus Question and Parting Words


Kelsey Donnolo

Kelsey Donnolo

Sports Philanthropy Network

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