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Tucson Padres are the new owners of local college football all-star game

casino del sol college football all-star game

The Tucson Padres have purchased the rights to the Casino Del Sol All-Star Game, which will be played in Tucson for the first time Jan. 16, the team said in a release Tuesday.

The Padres will own and operate the game, which is good news inasmuch as it falls under the auspices of Mike Feder, the Triple-A team’s vice president and general manager.

The Padres purchased the rights from AZ Sports Group LLC, which had listed former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach as a co-manager. Leach appeared in Tucson in November at a press conference to officially announce the all-star game’s move to Tucson.

Leach, however, was hired earlier this month as the new coach at Washington State.

The game, which was played in Tempe’s Sun Devil Stadium last season, would now seem to have committed local ownership.

“This game has a tremendous future in Tucson,” Feder said in a statement.

“It’s something we wanted to have an active role in for the benefit of the Tucson community. It will create great awareness for Tucson and will fill a lot of hotel rooms. The economic benefit of this game will be substantial with the visit of over 100 college senior football players and staff and their families, over 50 NFL scouts, and media.”

City councilman Paul Cunningham said last month the game — which will be played at the Padres’ home, Kino Stadium — could have an economic impact of about $1 million for Tucson.

“It’s terrific that Mike Feder and his team have stepped in to ensure the community will be able to benefit from this game,” Cunningham said Tuesday in the news release.

About 90 players are expected to participate in the game and practice in front of scouts during the week. Last year’s game drew 86 pro scouts, according to John Gray of the AZ Sports Group.

The coaches for the 2012 game will be former Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt and former Fresno State head coach Pat Hill, who was a UA assistant coach in 1990 and 1991. He coached offensive line and also served as offensive coordinator in 1991.

An updated “About Us” page on the all-star game’s website lists Joe Dan Rogers as the new Vice President for Football Operations for the game.

The Casino Del Sol All-Star Game is the first of four college all-star games, leading up to the biggest one — the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 28.

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