Grand marshal of Fiesta Bowl Parade named

PHOENIX - Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson has been named the grand marshal of the 41 st Annual Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, according to a Tuesday release.

As grand marshal, Gibson will lead the annual parade on December 31 in central Phoenix.

Gibson will also serve as special guest at the 41st Annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Monday, January 2, where he will participate in pre-game festivities and the coin toss.

Aside from his baseball career, Gibson has ties to college football.

He was a record-setting wide receiver at Michigan State in the 1970s.

"We are honored to have Kirk Gibson serve as this year's Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade grand marshal," said Fiesta Bowl Chairman of the Board Duane Woods. "Under Kirk's leadership, the 2011 Diamondbacks made all Arizonans proud and brought the national spotlight to our state. The fact he was also a standout college football player at Michigan State makes him an ideal person to lead our Parade and help us celebrate Arizona's Centennial."

The release said Gibson was named 2011 N.L. Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, the Sporting News and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

Gibson is reportedly the first manager to take his team to the playoffs in his first full season after the team finished in last place the previous year, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

"I'm honored by the opportunity to represent the D-backs organization, the Fiesta Bowl, Arizona, Phoenix and the fans on a national stage," Gibson said. "I am looking forward to the opportunity for my family and me to be involved in such a great game and week of festivities as well as interacting with so many outstanding people during the holiday season."

The parade's theme is "Spirit of the Southwest." It will help kick off Arizona's Centennial celebration.

It is free to the public, but reserved seating is available for $25 through the Fiesta Bowl Ticket Office at 480-350-0911 or online .

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