PHOENIX, Ariz. – The Thunderbirds announced today Chance Cozby has been appointed Executive Director of The Thunderbirds, hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open Presented by The Ak-Chin Indian Community. Cozby will begin his role on Nov. 1, 2019, and will officially replace current Executive Director John Bridger in spring of 2020.
A member of The Thunderbirds since 2010, Cozby was the Tournament Chairman for the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open and is currently Big Chief of The Thunderbirds and President of Thunderbirds Charities. Additionally, Cozby has been on staff at PING since 1999, and will remain with PING as Vice President of Sports Development through Oct. 31, 2019.
The transition will occur over a number of months including the 2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Cozby will continue to serve out his term as the Big Chief of The Thunderbirds through May, 2020.
“I am fortunate as I finish up a 20-year career at PING working for the Solheim Family and honored to open a new chapter with The Thunderbirds. It gives me tremendous pride to be named Executive Director of this outstanding group which does so much good for our local communities, not only through hosting the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but also through a hands-on approach with our charity partners,” Cozby said. “The dedication and attention to detail The Thunderbirds display on a daily basis to lift up children and families in the Valley and throughout our great state is why I’m proud to be a Thunderbird and why I’m honored to assume this new position.”
Cozby received a B.B.A. degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1999, where he earned all-conference honors for three years as a member of the Sooners golf team. His family has a deep background in golf – his brothers Cary and Craig also played golf at Oklahoma, and his dad Jerry, longtime head professional at Hillcrest Country Club in Bartlesville, is a member of the PGA Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame and was the 1985 PGA Professional of the Year. Cary is the Director of Golf at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa and the 2016 PGA Professional of the Year and Craig continues to work for Ping.
A Thunderbird since 2010, Cozby lives in Phoenix with his wife Erica and their two sons, Campbell and Catcher.
“The last 18 years have been special and rewarding in so many ways, from working with a great group like The Thunderbirds, to the many relationships that I have developed with sponsors, charities, volunteers and everyone who has been a great supporter of the Waste Management Phoenix Open,” Bridger said. “I am excited to hand the reins over to Chance and I am confident he will do a great job leading The Thunderbirds in their efforts to continually lead the pack in charitable giving to the local community, something that was most rewarding for me in 18 years in this position.”
Bridger has been a Thunderbird since 1991 and is in his 18th year as Executive Director, overseeing the administration, programs and strategic plan of The Thunderbirds and the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Other key duties include providing counsel on fundraising, marketing, leadership and community outreach.
“I’ll have big shoes to fill, there is no doubt about that. John Bridger is a trusted leader that has provided a personal touch from this position for the better part of two decades,” Cozby said. “His legacy is rooted in giving back to our community and we should all give thanks for his 18-year career of making a difference in the lives of so many.”
The 2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open Presented by The Ak-Chin Indian Community will be held at TPC Scottsdale January 27 – February 2, 2020. “The People’s Open” has been named the Tournament of the Year by the PGA TOUR three times in the last five years (2014, 2015 and 2018) and has gained legendary status for being one the most unique events in golf. The 2020 edition will mark the 85th playing of the event (one of the five oldest events on the PGA TOUR) and the 11th as the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
The Thunderbirds were founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports. The Thunderbirds consist of 55 “active” members and more than 280 “life” members. The Thunderbirds raised a record $13.2 million for charity from proceeds from the 2019 WM Phoenix Open and have eclipsed $147 million in charitable giving since its inception in 1932. For more information on The Thunderbirds or the 2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open, visit www.wmphoenixopen.com.