The biggest celebrities of them all: the 2020 Tournament of Roses Royal Court. L-R, Rose Queen Camille Kennedy, Rose Princesses Emilie Risha, Reese Rosental Saporito, Mia Thorsen, Michael Wilkins, Rukan Saif, Cole Fox.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
At the Tournament of Roses Parade, the real celebrities are the gorgeous floral creations that float along the parade route on New Year’s Day. The 131st Rose Parade, held on Jan. 1, 2020, was no exception. But that doesn’t mean there are no human celebrities! Riding along Colorado Blvd. in flower-bedecked antique vehicles is a tradition for the people that the current president chooses to represent the theme she has chosen, this year, Pres. Laura Farber chose “The Power of Hope.”
You can read more about them by exploring the 2020 Tournament of Roses page on this website. You can see them, nestled in the seats of beautiful vehicles and waving to the crowds, in the gallery below. Information about the cars is in the captions.
PASADENA, Calif. (September 17, 2019) – The Tournament of Roses announced today that Harvard graduate and College Football Hall of Fame inductee Eddie Casey, former Ohio State quarterback and three-time Rose Bowl Game starter Cornelius Greene, former USC quarterback and Heisman Trophy-winner Matt Leinart and former University of Washington running back and Rose Bowl MVP Jacque Robinson will be inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame as the Class of 2019.
The Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place at the Lot K Tent on December 31, 2019, outside of the Rose Bowl Stadium, one day prior to the kickoff of the 106th Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual. This year’s game will be a traditional Rose Bowl Game, with a team from the Big Ten meeting a team from the Pac-12 on Wednesday, January 1.
The Rose Bowl Hall of Fame was established in 1989 to pay tribute to members of the Rose Bowl Game who have contributed to the history and excitement of the game, and those who embody the highest level of passion, strength, tradition and honor associated with The Granddaddy of Them All®.
Eddie Casey may have been small in stature but played football larger than life. The 155-pound halfback and defensive back had remarkable quickness and agility that made him an outstanding player on both offense and defense. Casey started as a freshman in 1916, then served in the Navy during World War I. After returning to Harvard in 1919, Casey led the Crimson to an undefeated 9-0-1 record, including a 7-6 victory over Oregon in 1920 Rose Bowl Game. The victory introduced the Tournament of Roses to the New England states. Against the Ducks, Casey accounted for more than half of Harvard’s 205 total yards with 49 yards rushing and 59 yards receiving. For his efforts, Casey was named MVP of the game. Casey coached the Harvard freshman team from 1926-28, then was an assistant on the varsity team in 1929-30, before finally became the head coach from 1931-1934. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1968.
Cornelius Greene is in a small fraternity of football players who played in four Rose Bowl Games. Greene played for Ohio State in the 1973 Rose Bowl Game, then started in the 1974, 1975 and 1976 games. In the 1974 game, Greene was named MVP in a 42-21 victory over USC. The sophomore quarterback threw for 129 yards and ran for 45 yards and a touchdown. Buckeyes legendary head coach Woody Hayes described the 1974 Rose Bowl Game as “the best game we’ve ever, EVER played.” Greene’s third quarter touchdown run broke a 21-21 tie and gave the Buckeyes a lead they would not relinquish. Greene accumulated 454 yards of offense and scored two touchdowns in the 1975 and 1976 games. The 1975 Chicago Tribune Silver Football award winner as the Big Ten’s best player, Greene was 31-3-1 as a starter and was an eleventh-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys in the 1976 NFL Draft.
Matt Leinart was one of the most celebrated quarterbacks of the last 20 years of college football. The USC signal caller led the Trojans to a pair of Rose Bowl Games, including a 28-14 victory over Michigan in the 2004 Granddaddy of Them All. In the win, Leinart won MVP by throwing three touchdowns and running for another. In his second Rose Bowl Game, Leinart completed 73-percent of his passes and threw a touchdown pass, but the Trojans lost to Texas in the 2006 BCS National Championship, 41-38. Leinart finished his college career with a 37-2 record in games he started and won the Heisman Trophy in 2004. The two-time All-American was selected 10th overall in the 2006 NFL Draft and played six seasons in the NFL. Leinart had his USC jersey retired and was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007, followed by an induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2017.
Jacque Robinson was the spark that led the University of Washington to a 28-0 victory over Iowa in the 1982 Rose Bowl Game. Robinson became the first freshman to be named MVP in the Rose Bowl Game after he racked up 142 yards rushing on 20 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns. The Husky running back started the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. He then broke the game open in the fourth quarter with a 34-yard touchdown scamper that gave Washington a 21-0 lead. Robinson went on to win Orange Bowl MVP honors in 1985, one of just four players to win MVP in both the Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl Game. Robinson was selected in the eighth round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 2016, as part of the 1984 Washington football team.
With the addition of this year’s class, the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame includes 133 inductees over its 31-year history. Inductees are honored with a permanent plaque that includes their name and year of induction at The Court of Champions at the Rose Bowl Stadium. They are also featured during the Rose Parade® presented by Honda®, and are recognized on the field during the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual. More information on the Hall of Fame induction ceremony can be found online.
The Rose Parade is an opportunity for rivals on the Rose Bowl field to have a little cheer and marching rivalry in front of the 80 million people watching on the route or on video who won’t be at the Granddaddy of Them All. The band are loud and the cheerleaders extra enthusiastic as they pass grandstands full of fans from their universities. In between the two schools are the 2017 Rose Bowl Hall of Fame inductees, representing football greats of the past.
The 104th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2018 was a hard-fought match between the Georgia Bulldogs and Oklahoma Sooners. Georgia pulled out a 54-48 victory in double overtime. The game was the College Football Playoff semifinal.
The Rose Bowl Hall of Fame pays tribute to athletes and coaches, and an occasional person of special significance, who have made outstanding contributions to the history and excitement of the game. This year’s inductees were Mack Brown (coach, University of Texas), Cade McNown (UCLA), Charles Woodson (Michigan), and Dr. Charles West (Washington & Jefferson). For more about them, read “Rose Bowl Hall of Fame 2017.” Inductees are honored with a plaque in the Court of Champions at the stadium.
A special honor went to retiring Executive Director/CEO Bill Flinn with a ride in a 1936 Packard Phaeton, one of only 10 made in the last year of production. Floral designers chose reds and hot pinks to contrast the silver finish.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
Celebrities are not a big part of the Tournament of Roses Parade. Some float sponsors have celebrity riders, of course, but the Tournament itself generally only has four: Grand Marshal, Rose Bowl Hall of Fame inductees, Pasadena Mayor, and TOR President. The 128th Rose Parade had a whole slew of them, with three Grand Marshals, each in her/his own car, and retiring Executive Director/CEO Bill Flinn followed by his beloved Salvation Army Band added to the usual subjects.