Rod West, Utility Group President for the Entergy Corporation and a former national champion football player for Notre Dame, has been selected as the Sugar Bowl Committee’s President for the 2018-19 year. West, a New Orleans native and a graduate of Brother Martin High School, has been a member of the Sugar Bowl Committee since 1995. He is the 61st president of the organization and will oversee the 85th annual playing of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic on January 1, 2019 as well as the bowl’s annual slate of over 50 other events throughout the year.
“I am honored to serve and lead an organization that has meant so much to the City of New Orleans, the State of Louisiana and our nation,” West said. “The Sugar Bowl continues to create value through its rich history of showcasing our unique culture and championing the cause of amateur athletics and economic development for our region.”
This year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl will feature top teams from the Big 12 Conference and the Southeastern Conference. The champions of those leagues are designated to meet in the game unless one or both qualify for the College Football Playoff, in which case replacement teams from the respective leagues will come to New Orleans. The upcoming game will mark the 14th Sugar Bowl to pit teams from the Big 12 and SEC (current membership) against each other — though it is the third year of a contractual agreement for the two conferences to clash in the Sugar Bowl.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl will also continue its prominent position in the community by hosting and sponsoring more than 50 amateur sporting events in 2018. Included in those events are every Louisiana High School Athletic Association state championship; the Crescent City Classic, a nationally recognized road race featuring over 25,000 participants; the Manning Award, which honors college football’s top quarterback; three basketball tournaments; two volleyball tournaments; two soccer sponsorships; and events in baseball, bowling, cross country, golf, lacrosse, sailing, tennis and track and field.
The Sugar Bowl Committee was founded as the New Orleans Mid-Winter Sports Association in 1934 for the purpose of promoting amateur sporting events that would stimulate tourism and have a positive economic effect on the New Orleans metropolitan area. Over the last decade, the Sugar Bowl has had an economic impact of over $2.5 billion for the city and state.
Since being elected to the Sugar Bowl Committee in 1995, West has served on a wide range of committees, including several years on the Bowl’s Executive Committee. Additionally, West has served as a Sugar Bowl officer for the past four years.
West succeeds Stanley Cohn, who directed the organization through the past year, and will serve with fellow officers Judge Monique Morial, President-Elect; Ralph Capitelli, Vice President; Lloyd N. Frischhertz, Treasurer; and Richard C. Briede, Secretary. Furthermore, the Sugar Bowl’s 59th President, Chuck Lapeyre, was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee, and joining the 18-member Executive Committee for 2018-19 are Cecil J. “C.J.” Blache, Brian Capitelli, Joseph M. Dardis, Holly Carter Gordon, Hudson A. Higgins, Jason W. Loerzel, Michael O. Read, Renny Simno and James P. Waldron.
West is group president, utility operations for Entergy Corporation. Headquartered in New Orleans, Entergy is an integrated energy company that owns and operates regulated and merchant power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of generating capacity. The company’s Utility business serves nearly three million customers in four states in the U.S. Gulf South.
The new Sugar Bowl President joined Entergy Corporation as senior regulatory counsel in April 1999 and served as director of regulatory affairs for Entergy New Orleans from 2001-2003. He was promoted to director of electric distribution operations from 2003-06, overseeing the reconstruction of the electrical infrastructure of New Orleans. As President and CEO of Entergy New Orleans from 2007-2010, West led Entergy New Orleans out of its post-Hurricane Katrina bankruptcy and back to profitability. He was selected as the Chief Administrative Officer for Entergy Corporation in 2011 before being named to his current position in 2016.
In addition to his volunteer role with the Allstate Sugar Bowl, West serves on the board of trustees for the University of Notre Dame, the Electric Power Research Institute, and the National Football Foundation. Previously, he served 12 years on the Louisiana State University System Board of Supervisors, serving as chairperson from 2006-2007.
West has a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame where he lettered three years for Lou Holtz and the Fighting Irish’s 1988 National Championship football team. He received his Juris Doctor from the Tulane University School of Law and his MBA from Tulane University. He has been married for 23 years to the former Madeline Doucet. The couple have one daughter, Simone.
This article originally published in the March 5, 2018 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.