CU-Sponsored Bowl Survives Flood

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SAN DIEGO — Just 24 hours before kickoff, the field where the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl was to be played was more suitable for water polo than football, as flooding rains left approximately three feet of water on the floor of Qualcomm Stadium.

But thanks to what SDCCU CEO Teresa Halleck termed a "miracle," work crews pumped out 1.5-million gallons of water overnight and the Dec. 23 bowl game between the U.S. Naval Academy and the hometown San Diego State Aztecs went off without a hitch. In fact, the field, which was covered with a tarp, barely showed any damage.

Asked if she was worried the credit union's marketing crown jewel would be postponed or cancelled due to the rain, Halleck said the game went on thanks to the heroic efforts of many, including Bruce Binkowski and Mark Neville of the Holiday Bowl Association.

Halleck said from her perspective, it was "nothing short of a miracle" the crew of workers was able to accomplish getting the stadium pumped dry. The benefit to San Diego County from the Poinsettia Bowl is "huge," Halleck said, noting the game has brought more than $55-million in economic revenue to the area during what historically was the slowest week of the year. SDCCU has sponsored the Poinsettia Bowl since its inception in 2005.

After the water was pumped out, the grounds crew's final job was to paint the credit union's logo at midfield. Halleck said she would have understood completely if that had not happened after everything else that had gone on, but the logo was there for a record crowd of 48,049 and a national television audience on ESPN to see.

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