Air Force Lieutenant General Richard M. Clark will succeed Bill Hancock as the new executive director of the College Football Playoff as the organization prepares to expand the number of teams that will play in the year-end tournament.
“I’m pleased to announce that Lieutenant General Clark has accepted our offer to run the CFP and I’m highly confident he will do a superb job in this important position,” said Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University and the chairman of the College Football Playoff Board of Managers. “General Clark’s experience leading the U.S Air Force Academy as a Three-star General and also being a four-year letter winner with the U.S Air Force Football team gives him a strong background to excel in this crucial leadership role.”
Clark will succeed Hancock, who led the organization since its inception and recently announced his retirement.
“Bill has graciously offered to stay on board through January 2025 to help General Clark get ready,” Keenum said. “Bill will remain at the helm throughout this season, while 2024 will mark a year of transition. Bill has been an outstanding leader for CFP’s first 10 years. Everyone in college football owes Bill a debt of gratitude.”
Clark serves as the superintendent for the U.S Air Force Academy where he directs a four-year regiment of military training, academics, athletic and character development programs leading to a bachelor’s degree and a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S Air Force and U.S. Space Force. He will begin his role as executive director after he retires from the Air Force in 2024.
Clark also served as the U.S Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear Integration at the Pentagon and was selected as a White House Fellow to serve as a key advisor to the secretary of labor. He served three combat tours and has received numerous awards and decorations such as the Distinguished Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
While attending the U.S Air Force Academy as a student, he was a four-year letter winner for the football team. During his senior season, the Falcons went 12-1 and were ranked eighth in the final AP Poll and fifth in the final Coaches Poll.
“I am honored to become the executive director of the College Football Playoff,” said Clark. “College football is an American tradition unlike any other. Especially now, as the playoff is expanding from four teams to 12 teams, this is an exciting time for fans and everyone involved in this great game. I’m excited to be a part of it and I look forward to beginning my work.”
“I want to thank Bill Hancock for all that he’s done for college football. He will certainly leave big shoes to fill and I look forward to his mentorship. I also want to thank the U.S Air Force Academy, where I have built so many incredible relationships. It is the place that launched my military and academic career. It will be hard to leave the service after 38 years and I will always be indebted to the Academy and the Air Force.”