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Earnie Seiler, an energetic showman dubbed “the Mad Genius” and fath

April 2, 1987

MIAMI (AP) _ Earnie Seiler, an energetic showman dubbed ″the Mad Genius″ and father of the Orange Bowl Classic, has died at age 86.

Services will be Friday for Seiler, who slipped into a coma last week and died at his home late Tuesday.

″He was the last of the great impresarios,″ said Orange Bowl Committee member Ben Benjamin.

″Whoever named him the Mad Genius named him right,″ added John Shuey, an early OBC member.

As the City of Miami’s recreation director, Seiler organized the 1933 Palm Festival, inviting Manhattan College to play the University of Miami at a public park. Admission was free.

Intending to match California’s Rose Bowl, Seiler from that humble beginning fashioned the Orange Bowl Festival. He had parades with floats, elephants, racehorses and beauty queens, and dazzling halftime shows in the city’s new Orange Bowl Stadium.

The turning point was a 1939 match between unbeaten teams from Oklahoma and Tennessee that established the Orange Bowl as one of the nation’s major annual football games.

A former Oklahoma A&M quarterback, Seiler stepped down as OBC executive director in 1974. His wife of 59 years, Martha, died last year.

They are survived by a daughter, a son, and nine grandchildren.

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