The I-Bowl’s Executive Director for 19 years, Missy Setters, is setting a standard of leadership, community service, and passion for her hometown.

When Missy Setters and her daughter, Codi, rode in the Krewe of Highland Parade in February, something stood out to Missy, who said to Codi,

“This is why we have so many phenomenal athletes from this state; everybody has to be able to catch the parade throws!”

Of course, Setters knows athleticism when she sees it. The former LSU golfer is approaching her 29th game with the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl here in Shreveport, her 19th year as Executive Director.

She’s been married to her husband, former LSU offensive lineman Ross Setters, for all those games.

“We’ll have 31 years in June,” says Ross.

“She’s genuine,” he says. “What you see is what you get. She cares about Shreveport. She cares about the bowl. Her whole life has revolved around sports, the camaraderie, and the ins and outs of it.

“Some people are in it for the publicity. Some are just there to collect a paycheck. Missy enjoys the people and the atmosphere. She always speaks about Shreveport with positivity at a time when a lot of people do not.”

Missy Setters clearly has a fanaticism for what she does. It takes a certain drive to excel at being the leader of the nation’s 11th-oldest bowl game for nearly two decades.

“Her passion for the bowl is what makes her great,” says Erik Evenson, Director of Communications for the Independence Bowl. “You don’t stick around that long if you don’t have a passion for it.”

It’s not just the Independence Bowl Missy is passionate about, either.   “We’re going to all the LSU games we can,” Ross says.

Missy, Ross, and Codi went to Tampa, Florida, for New Year’s to watch LSU beat Wisconsin, 35-31, in the ReliaQuest Bowl at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Is she picking up I-Bowl ideas while she’s there, or is she just there for enjoyment?

“It’s a little bit of both,” says Missy. “Watching LSU sports is a release for me. Plus, it’s family time. So many milestones in our lives have been around sports.”

She keeps up with all sports, too, not just football. Ross says they planned a late-winter trip down to Baton Rouge for LSU Gymnastics on Friday, Beach Volleyball on Saturday, and Senior Night of Women’s Basketball on Sunday.

(Beach Volleyball? I didn’t even know LSU had that!)

I asked Setters if she still played golf or kept up with it. “Actually, I was just turning on the TV to see who was leading the Genesis Invitational,” she said. Of course, she was! Sports are not a part of her life. They are her life. Setters lives and breathes this stuff.

“The No. 1 thing that makes Missy great is she is a fan,” says 2019 Independence Bowl chairman Art Carmody.

She is watching and following on a weekly basis, just like I am,” says Carmody. “A lot of bowl executives I’ve met throughout the years are not fans. Missy cares about football. She cares about Shreveport-Bossier City and all the events we do for the area. She doesn’t just put on a game in December.”

The game in December is probably the main thing the casual fan would think about when it comes to the I-Bowl, but there is a lot more to it than that.

The Independence Bowl Foundation is raising money throughout the year with sponsorships and ticket sales, but they are also providing philanthropy for the people in our communities.

One of the ways the I-Bowl Foundation gives back to the community is through Extra Yard for Teachers, a program in partnership with the College Football Playoff Foundation to raise money for teachers.

The I-Bowl Foundation has donated over $85,000 in the last three years combined to teachers and schools in Caddo, Bossier, and Desoto Parishes.

Just this past year alone, they donated $11,000 to 23 local teachers through the Touchdown for Teachers initiative.

The 13th Annual Youth Football Clinic will be held in June again this year. It’s a free clinic the I-Bowl Foundation puts on for Shreveport-Bossier, with hundreds of boys and girls ranging from ages 5-13. They’ve had participating coaches from Louisiana Tech, Grambling, Centenary, Northwestern State, and Sam Houston State.

They will also be partnering with the United States Tennis Association and Pierremont Oaks Tennis Club to host a junior tennis tournament in April.

There is also the I-Bowl Foundation’s Kickoff K’s every year. In recent years, it has been a 5K/Half Marathon format.

One year, I won the I-Bowl 10K and got to take home a miniature Lombardi Trophy. Did it feel good to be a champion? Yes. Yes, it did. I’m trying to say that it’s more than just the game in December.

Inching closer to kickoff, there’s Bowl Week, where this year, Setters and the I-Bowl pulled out all the stops for the players and coaches from Texas Tech University and the University of California, Berkeley.

As soon as the teams arrived in town, they were treated to a huge welcome party at the RiverView Theater (formerly Shreveport Civic Theater), complete with Family Feud-type games and meals featuring whole hogs and bacon-wrapped alligator.

A whole hog? A whole hog-wrapped gator?

Something tells me a Lubbock kid has seen that before, but there’s no way the Berkeley guys knew what the heck was going on.

“Those Louisianimals down there are something else, Mom,” said one of the Cal players when they got back home, maybe. Probably not. But also very possible. The players also had access to the enhanced hospitality rooms and lounges this year.

The crew from Draft Picks Barbershop in Baton Rouge made an appearance, giving all the players fresh cuts.

However, when the game does roll around, Missy Setters is rocking and rolling. In go-mode.

“I think my watch said I walked nine miles during the game last year,” says Setters. “I’m running around, putting out fires. I’ll be down on the field some or up in the box.” “You prepare yourself as much as possible the entire year,” Setters says. “Gameday is much the same.” “It is this culmination of everything,” she says.  “It’s this beautiful, exciting point we reach. This is what we work for. But once kickoff happens, now it’s about the game.”

This past year was also the first pre-Christmas game since Setters has been at the helm.

“I believe this was the first year since I’ve been here that the game was before Christmas, so Ross and I got to go to the Natchitoches Christmas Festival,” Setters said. She also said she liked having the game before Christmas this year because it allowed the fans to get back home for the holidays.

The 47th edition of the Independence Bowl kicked off in primetime this year for all of us in CST at 8:15 pm. The Red Raiders beat the Golden Bears, 34-14, on December 16th. It was shown on ESPN, as it has been for over 30 consecutive years.

“ESPN always tells us when the bowl is going to be,” she says. “Ideal kickoff time is late afternoon or early evening.”

A natural-born leader, Setters has also picked up a thing or two along the way from some idols of hers.

One of those people is Tina Kunzer-Murphy, former executive director of the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl.

“It was important to watch the way she handled herself,” says Setters. Kunzer-Murphy was the only female executive director of a bowl game in 2006 when Setters became executive director of the I-Bowl by unanimous vote. Being one of only two female bowl executive directors for a time isn’t something Setters even thinks about now.

At first, I’m sure there was a novelty to it,” she says. “Now, it’s just part of the deal.”

“I think it’s enjoyable to watch it evolve over time,” she says. “I think you’ve got a really good group now. There is a lot more diversity in the room now, and people are getting incredible experience.”

If Missy Setters ever gets any downtime, husband Ross says she enjoys working in the yard. He says she doesn’t get to play as much golf as she may like, but at least she still gets to keep up with it.

She is always watching to see how her local LSU people are holding up, like Shreveport native Sam Burns. I asked Setters what she had planned for the rest of the day. She said she had an executive committee meeting at noon. But we’re eons away from kickoff! Again, that’s the only thing a casual fan like me considers. I don’t see all the behind-the-scenes upkeep and philanthropy that Missy Setters and the Independence Bowl Foundation put on year-round to benefit our community and give back to teachers and kids. Setters says she looks forward to the teams coming into town and kickoff because then, it’s about the game. But there is no game without Missy.She’s the blueprint. She sets the standard. She also sets a really great example for kids, adults, players, and our community.

The good news is you don’t have to wait until kickoff to get involved. If you have kids, check out the free Youth Football Clinic in June or any of the other I-Bowl events.

And be sure to go to

for more information.