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Making life cozy for the visitors Tom Basinski | Tue, Jan 07 2014 12:00 PM

The San Diego County Credit Union’s Poinsettia Bowl and National University’s Holiday Bowl are two jewels in San Diego’s crown. Other local gems include Cabrillo Point on a clear day, Sea World (minus the protestors), and the Zoo.

Let’s not forget the Symphony, the Rock N’ Roll Marathon and the Gaslamp Quarter. I love Shelter and Harbor Islands for walking, eating, and the view.

I would include the Chargers and Padres, but I can’t bring myself to classify them as “jewels,” even though I am a loyal fan.

Although not in the city of San Diego, we mustn’t forget the historic Hotel del Coronado and the Del Mar Racetrack and fairgrounds. If I’ve overlooked any, it’s because I’m advancing in years and don’t get out as much.

This year marks the 36th annual Holiday Bowl and the 9th Poinsettia Bowl. I went to the Holiday Bowl and liked it because I enjoy seeing underdogs win, no matter who they are.

The bowl games just don’t happen by themselves. No, San Diego hosts thousands of people from all over the country.

This means travel for the fans, and overnight stays at local hotels. According to a study conducted by the San Diego State University Center for Hospitality and Tourism Research, the Poinsettia and Holiday Bowls produced an economic impact of $29.6 million for the San Diego region in 2012.

The RedCoats is a volunteer organization spearheading hospitality for all four teams and both bowl games. RedCoats do whatever is necessary to ensure the smooth operation and gracious hospitality for the visitors who come to the games.

RedCoats is a non-profit association formed to generate tourism, exposure, economic benefits and civic pride for San Diego by presenting the most exciting and entertaining bowl games and festival of events. Activities include events throughout the year, dinners, and activities for the participating teams.

The yearly fare features golf and racing outings, along with a basketball tournament, an outrigger paddling event and accompanying luau to name a few.

RedCoats present a scholarship annually to a high school senior from the county who has excelled academically and within the community apart from school. Citizenship and leadership are important for this award, a $10,000 stipend presented at the U.S. Bank Holiday Bowl kickoff luncheon.

RedCoats do not have financial obligations to the group, but are required to invest time and talent attending committee meetings and volunteering at their events. RedCoats are encouraged to solicit donations from businesses that will reap advertising benefits from their exposure. Members also must purchase tickets to both bowl games.

Yes, they wear red coats that rival fake news anchor Ron Burgundy in the “garish” department. But, let’s overlook that.

Their work is really a labor of love. They happily do menial tasks such as setting up chairs at various events, bartending hospitality rooms, and acting as guides. RedCoaters embrace their volunteer work. A few years ago a team that had played in the Orange Bowl the previous year commented on how welcome the RedCoaters made them feel during their stay, and how much better everything was at the Holiday Bowl than at the Orange Bowl.

It is customary for the RedCoats to line up, gantlet style, to cheer and applaud as the players arrive at their hotels.

Because teams never experience this, many players are taken off guard. Once they realize what is happening, the players are thrilled.

Redcoats are an integral part of San Diego’s bowl landscape.

Basinski is an avid football fan and follower of all bowl games.

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Karen S Says:

Sun, Jan 19 2014 07:37 PM

I've lived in San Diego for 65 years, am an avid college and professional football fan, and never heard of the RedCoats! What other unsung volunteer groups work behind the scenes here?

the weed Says:

Mon, Jan 13 2014 08:46 AM

I have been in San Diego for 68 years, and did not know about the "RedCoats". I do now. Sounds like they are great ambassadors for this County.

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