Executive Director, Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
Richard Giannini was named executive director of the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl in June 2015, following ESPN Events’ acquisition of the bowl. He was also involved in the operations of the bowl in 2014, its inaugural year.
Giannini enjoyed a 50-year career in sports administration, development and sales. He retired from the University of Southern Miss in December of 2011 after serving as athletic director since 1999, and most recently acted as a consultant to Conference-USA and several new collegiate bowl games.
In April of 1999, Southern Mississippi named Giannini as director of athletics. In his 12 years of leadership at Southern Miss, $100 million was raised to build a new administrative and football complex; a baseball complex, in addition to an $11 million renovation to its basketball complex; a new softball field and stadium; tennis complex; and 34-suite, 5,000 seat addition and an artificial surface to its football stadium. The programs won three league titles in football, earned 12 bowl appearances; won a C-USA title in men’s basketball; made nine NCAA Baseball Championship appearances and one College World Series; three NCAA appearances in softball and two College World Series; and several track & field national champions.
A 1966 graduate of the University of Florida, Giannini joined the Gator staff that same year as assistant sports information director. In 1970, he was named the sports information director at Duke University and later became assistant athletic director for marketing and promotions for the Blue Devils.
In 1976, Giannini joined the staff of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as director of productions and marketing. He was the executive producer for ABC’s Weekly College Football Highlight Show and headed the television syndication of all the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships that were not televised by the networks. In addition, he oversaw the first licensing programs for the NCAA.
Giannini returned to Florida in 1978 as associate director of athletics and in 1979 became senior associate athletics director for external affairs.
In 1986, Giannini left the Gators to join Raycom Sports. Giannini served as president of Raycom Management Group, a subsidiary, to develop and manage sporting events. While at Raycom, Giannini founded the Blockbuster Bowl in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, which later moved to Orlando and is now the Russell Athletic Bowl. He now has participated in three start up bowls. After a stint with his own company, Giannini returned to a college campus in 1994 when he became the director of athletics at Louisiana-Monroe.
A native of New York, Giannini graduated from Florida with a bachelor’s of science in health and human performance. Prior to arriving at Florida, he spent two years at both St. Leo University and Furman University.
He was inducted into the University of Florida’s College of Health and Human Performance Hall of Fame in March of 2004 and the Saint Leo University Athletics Hall of Fame in February of 2005. Giannini was a track athlete, competing in the weight events, at St. Leo and Furman.
Giannini was on several NCAA Committees during his tenure including three terms on the NCAA Post-Season Committee, serving two years as its chairman. In 2011-12, he was named the Southeastern Athletic Director of the Year by the National Athletic Directors Association.