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David Nelson / Society

San Diego Is Suiting Up for '88 Bowl

January 22, 1987|DAVID NELSON

SAN DIEGO — Bob Payne would like to put this city in uniform.

At first glance, the businessman would seem to have chosen the right town, thanks to the efforts of the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps.

But the uniform that Payne has in mind is more suitable for the gridiron than the drill field, and is marked by a red, green and brown logo. A soaring football occupies the center of the emblem; slashing through its middle are the words "Super Bowl XXII," and, around the edge, "San Diego Host."

Payne, chairman of the San Diego Super Bowl Task Force, was among the 250 guests at "March to Super Bowl XXII," the Jan. 14 fund-raiser presented by the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce in the Sheraton Harbor Island's Champagne Ballroom. The two-pronged event both promoted the Jan. 31, 1988, Super Bowl, the first ever to be scheduled for San Diego, and honored former San Diego Chargers Coach Don Coryell.

Payne outlined his plans to suit up San Diegans in Super Bowl regalia at a pre-dinner VIP reception given in the hotel's tower reception suite.

"We're going to sell merchandise," said Payne, displaying a stack of visored caps that he considers suitable for framing any San Diego face. Sweaters, shirts and other items also will be marketed. "The merchandise will lead to enthusiasm for the event. We're going to put the city of San Diego in uniform."

The sales pitch that most of the reception guests had in mind will be aimed at the residents of other cities, however. Peg Nugent, director of operations for the local Super Bowl effort, said, "Super Bowl XXII will take San Diego from being considered a wonderful paradise, to being considered a major league city by corporate America. The game itself is going to generate more than $141 million, but we expect an economic impact that will last for decades."

Chamber of Commerce President Lee Grissom, who attended with his wife, Sharon, preferred to look at the anticipated impact in broader terms. "The Super Bowl is an important milestone in the history of San Diego," he said. "This city has always felt itself not ready for prime time, but now it is taking its appropriate place as a major city in this country and in this world. I also think San Diego will parlay having the game into a successful bid to host the defense of the America's Cup here in 1990."

Among the last guests to arrive at the reception were Coryell and his wife, Aliisa. The former coach made a beeline for former Charger guard Doug Wilkerson, whom he greeted with a bear hug, then went into a huddle with former pro football star now NBC sportscaster Merlin Olsen, who was the dinner's keynote speaker.

At the dinner, Olsen nearly stole the show from master of ceremonies Ted Leitner when he commented that he had been up all night building the centerpieces --he's a spokesman for Florists' Transworld Delivery. (The decorations, which consisted of souvenir NFL footballs surrounded, perhaps uncharacteristically, by daisies and orchids, were on sale as part of the evening's fund-raising effort.) Olsen did know how to please the crowd, especially with his concluding remarks.

"San Diego's Super Bowl is a reality, and the only thing that could make it better would be to have the Chargers playing, representing their hometown," said the burly, bearded, former defensive tackle. "I hope that dream comes true."

That remark, however, drew a horrified response from one Chamber of Commerce member who pointed out that having the home team in the bowl would draw far fewer out-of-town dollars.

Coryell was honored by a film that summarized his long career in college and professional football (he is the only coach ever to win 100 games at both levels), after which dinner chairman Ed Luce presented him a plaque. The inscription ended, "Most of all, thanks for the leadership."

Among guests of honor were Chamber of Commerce Chairman Bill Nelson and wife Lollie; Chamber director Art Lyon and wife Yoko; the Charger's Jack Teele and wife Marilyn; Claudia Wilson with Jack Berkman; and Msgr. I Brent Eagen, who offered the invocation and benediction.

RANCHO SANTA FE--The tradition of the well-to-do matron immersing herself in charity work and the swirl of accompanying social events has been said to be steadily vanishing as women opt for careers outside the home, and as societal trends dictate other forms of community involvement.

This decline in volunteerism, to whatever degree it may exist locally, possibly explains the growing popularity of the Women of Dedication awards, given annually by the Salvation Army's Door of Hope Auxiliary to volunteers who have distinguished themselves over a period of time. This year's crop of recipients--15 in all--were introduced at a Jan. 14 announcement tea given at home by Women of Dedication founder Emme Cote. The event prefaced the 22nd annual Women of Dedication fashion luncheon, which will be held at the Hotel Inter-Continental on Feb. 27.

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