Air Force general named new executive director of the College Football Playoff on eve of expansion

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, the superintendent of the Air Force Academy, was announced Friday as the new executive director of the College Football Playoff.

Clark will replace Bill Hancock, who is retiring, and will take over as the playoff prepares for its expansion to a 12-team format in the 2024 season.

“Gen. Clark’s experience leading the U.S. Air Force Academy as a three-star general and also being a four-year letter winner with the U.S Air Force football team gives him a strong background to excel in this crucial leadership role," said Mark Keenum, Mississippi State president and chairman of the CFP Board of Managers.

Hancock was the first full-time director of the NCAA Final Four for men’s basketball and the first administrator of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), which was replaced by the CFP. He took that job in 2012 and as the CFP’s only employee at the time, he was charged with finalizing a media rights agreement, negotiating agreements with bowl games and host cities, building a staff and forming a selection committee.

The first four-team playoff launched at the end of the 2014 season, ending with Ohio State beating Oregon for the national championship. Hancock announced his retirement in June but will stay on until February 2025 to aid in the transition.

Like Keenum, Clark thanked Hancock and said he was leaving “big shoes to fill.” He said it will be hard to leave the military after 38 years.

“College football is an American tradition unlike any other,” Clark said. “Especially now, as the playoff is expanding from four teams to 12 teams, this is an exciting time for fans and everyone involved in this great game.”

Clark's long military career began after he was a four-year letter winner at Air Force. During his senior season, the Falcons went 12-1 and were ranked eighth in the final AP Top 25.


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