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Mike Feder stepping back from Tucson sports after 3 decades

Posted at 3:47 PM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-28 15:34:12-04

TUCSON, Ariz — It's a half hour before the Sugar Skulls home finale, and the team's executive director, Mike Feder, is making sure everything is in place for the opening kickoff.

"This is typical for gameday," Feder says.

If anyone knows how a Tucson sporting event works, its Feder. For more than three decades, he's been a part of almost every Tucson professional sports franchise.

Whether its the Tucson Mavericks, the Tucson Toros, the Copper Bowl, the Insight.com Bowl, the Tucson Sidewinder, The Tucson Padres, the Arizona Bowl, or the Tucson Suguar Skulls, it's Mike Feder who is often hired to oversee the team's operations.

"They look in the community to see who has experience running sports teams. Well, in a lot of cases, it's a list of one. So, sometimes people talk to me out of default."

A Chicago native, Feder grew up a big sports fan, and took that passion to Tucson.

"It's nice to do something that can excite people. And, that's my motivation."

Feder first moved to Tucson in the 1970's. He was the general manager of the Tucson Toros during their heydey, including their two Pacific Coast League Championships during the 1990s.

"It just meant so much to the community."

Feder is the one who created the mascot, Tuffy the Toro. The Toros drew three hundred thousand fans for seven straight seasons. Feder has won a Minor League Executive of the Year award six different times. And in 1002, the NFL's New Orleans Saints hired him away as a marketing director. He was also in charge of the New Orleans Voodoo Arena Football League team, which gave him the experience to be the Sugar Skulls first executive director.

"Last year, at this time, noone even knew who the Sugar Skulls were. Now, they do, and how it works. And, I think there is a great future for the Sugar Skulls."

At 67, Feder is leaving the Sugar Skulls. He's set to become a grandfather for the first time. He wants to work on his non-profit activities, as well as his side ventures like the multi-city Mexican Baseball Fiesta, which is now in its 9th season. He says he's love to bring a World Baseball Classic event to Tucson.

"I don't think I'll ever get bored."