Alumni Profile

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Right after Miami defeated Nebraska,
winning the national college championship in the Jan. 3 Rose Bowl, Kevin Ash ’81 began work on the 2003 game. Ash is game director of the Rose Bowl, which means he and his four-person staff make the event happen. Working year-around for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, they oversee every aspect of the contest, including security, stadium staff and relationships with the city of Pasadena. They're also responsible for pre-game and halftime shows and for obtaining practice sites for teams and school bands, as well as hotels for teams, bands, media and officials.
When planning comes to fruition on game days, success is gauged in subtle ways. “You can plan and plan and plan and be working with the best people possible,” says Ash, sitting in a conference room at the Tournament of Roses house in Pasadena. “But at the end of the day, you're still dealing with 100,000 people attending the game with minds of their own. It's not an exact science. We look at benchmarks we've established to tell how we've done. After you've done the job well, there's a sense of relief.”

The tall, earnest Ash joined the Tournament of Roses in 1998 after working as associate director in the ticket and game management office in USC’s Athletic Department, but that only skims the surface of hisTrojan connections.
Ash’s mother, Ann, worked 21 years on campus, receiving free tuition for Ash and three other children: Greg ’71, Corinne ’78 and Jane Levesque ’75. Ash’s wife, Kathleen, is associate dean for administration at the USC School of Engineering.
Kevin Ash (left) poses on the Rose Bowl field with staff members Ted Tompkins, Connie Campbell and Ed Corey.

Cardinal and gold permeates Ash’s four-member staff, which includes Connie (Borg) Campbell ’84, director of event operations, and Nancy (Ferber) Atkinson ’81, sports information director. Game managers Ed Corey ’83 and Ted Tompkins ’76 are consultants.
Ash himself remains involved on the governing board of USC’s Skull & Dagger Honor Society. As a student he played volleyball at USC, red shirting on the 1976-77 national championship team.
“I think the thing that most impressed me about USC as a student,” Ash says, “is that it was a small enough environment that they looked after you. It seemed like a very small community. That sounds overused, but that is what it was. I think every job I ever had came from some kind of USC connection.”
That connection continues. Ash says the best thing about his job is working as a team with a four-person staff of friends.
“It seems like a glamorous job,” says Ash, “but what we do is a lot of planning. Like what you would do for an event at your house. Where will people park? How many meals will you need? I don't think a lot about the competition on the field or who's winning unless there's a problem out there.”

– Gary Libman

Alumni by Year




Alumni Awards

Awards News

Alumni Profiles

David Greenspan '01

Kevin Ash '81

Boris Yaro

Elizabeth Saunders '95

In Memoriam

Crispus Attucks Wright '38

Raymond Arbuthnot ’33

George Scharffenberger