Ian Hollingsworth was a foundational part of the first young professionals group brought together under Gator Bowl Sports. Ian is a green jacket committee member and serves as the Parris Island Marine Corps Band host during TaxSlayer Gator Bowl game week. He has brewed his own beer at Hyperion Brewery, which was aptly named Hollingsworth’s Heavy Hand. Ian is also striving to become the youngest Chairman in Gator Bowl Sports history. To find out more about Ian, keep reading below!
Company: CSX Transportation.
Title: Senior Counsel in the Law Department.
Favorite College Team: The West Virginia Mountaineers
Gator Bowl Sports Membership Level: Green Jacket Member.
How long have you been involved with Gator Bowl Sports? My first year was 2017 and that year I was a redshirt.
Favorite aspect of your involvement with Gator Bowl Sports? I think there are a couple of things… First of all, just getting a behind-the-scenes look at a big operation of a bowl game. I actually helped on the on-field operations side before the Jaguars on-field staff started assisting with it. The year I did that, it was eye-opening to see what went into the production of a bowl game. Also, the networking aspect is great. There are a lot of quality people on the committee and the Chairman’s Club. You make of it what you will, but there are a lot of networking opportunities available in a sort of large-but-small community like Jacksonville.
Favorite TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Memory: My favorite Gator Bowl is actually as a fan. When West Virginia beat Georgia Tech in 2007, we came back from behind and it’s our only Gator Bowl win in history… all-time, I believe we are like 1-6 in the game. We lost to Maryland a few times, and we lost to FSU in Bobby Bowden’s last game. Although, I will say, West Virginia threw that game. During that game, we stopped giving the ball to Noel Devine; once that happened, we lost the lead and Florida State won. Coach Stewart was the head coach for WVU then, and he was obviously a gentleman and understood the situation, so I think he kind of pulled the reigns back a little bit. Needless to say, it was cool to see Coach Bowden go out on top at his last game.
Where are you from? I am originally from Keyser, West Virginia. It’s on the eastern panhandle and right on the border of Maryland and West Virginia. It’s about two and a half hours west of Washington D.C. and about maybe three and a half hours southeast of Pittsburgh. It is also only an hour and a half away from Morgantown, which is where West Virginia University is, so it was nice to be away from home, but I wasn’t too far away from home.
Did you attend WVU? I did. I am actually a double Mountaineer. I graduated with my Bachelor’s and my MBA before moving down to Florida.
What brought you down to Florida? I attended a local law school called Florida Coastal in Jacksonville. I have been in Jacksonville since 2010.
Favorite things about the Jacksonville area? I love to go explore. There are a lot of things here. Whether it’s restaurants, the zoo, the beach, golf courses, you name it… you can do it here in North Florida, so just the opportunities to be able to do things here that I didn’t have the opportunity to do in West Virginia. Back home, I would have to drive 30 minutes to go see a movie versus here, you can drive 5 minutes. Having that better quality of life is very appealing here.
Hobbies outside of work and philanthropy? I recently picked up golf a few years ago. I used to play basketball, but getting older, I’ve had some injuries, and I’m afraid of seriously hurting myself like tearing an Achilles or an ACL… I’m too old for that. I mean I’m 36 and I’m still too old for that. I enjoy golf and starting a practice of something you’re not good at and seeing results and getting better. I also love supporting WVU. If they ever play in Florida, I try to go to the sporting events here. My wife and I love to travel, go to different places and see different things. I live a low-key life, but it’s a good life.
Favorite sports film? For a more serious one, I would say, Remember The Titans. For a comedy, Wildcats, with Goldie Hawn.
What would be your walk-up song? Are You Gonna Go My Way by Lenny Kravitz.
Favorite genres of music/ Favorite bands and artists? #1 for me has always been hip-hop and rap. That is what I grew up on listening to on Washington D.C. and New York radio stations back in the day. I think my music palate is eclectic, I can listen to almost everything. It ranges from rock and metal, which some of my friends have got me into, to old R&B, my mom was a big fan of Luther Vandross. It depends on the mood honestly, a whole day could go from 50 Cent to Tom Petty to Smokey Robinson. It is really whatever fits the bill.
Best concert you have ever seen and what is a concert you wish you could see? Back in 2004, it was the first week of my freshman year of college. At WVU, they have an annual concert called Fall Fest. They’ll have about four acts that will perform outside at the student union. In 2004 it was Kanye West and he was the second to last act. This was before Kanye West really went big. His album The College Dropout just came out that year, and he brought out this guy who was playing piano. I had no idea who he was, but I found out who he was afterward, and it was John Legend. As for a concert I would like to go see, and unfortunately probably can’t now, is The Foo Fighters. I am sad I missed them live.
Best piece of advice you have ever received? Coming from a rural community in West Virginia, I was always told by my family to get your education and what I mean by that is that education will take you wherever you want to go. Education doesn’t mean just books, it could mean learning a trade or anything. At the end of the day, I was always told to get your education because that is one thing that can’t be taken from you. I have always tried to continue learning and not be ignorant of what’s going on in life.
What advice would you give a young professional who was reading this? In short, I would just be sure you’re getting quality experiences in life, but you’re also learning. We’re human, we all make mistakes, but at the same time, the beauty of life is learning from your mistakes and not repeating them while having success. I really think success is rooted in hard work and determination, and if you work within those qualities, it’s hard to deny success.
Who are your biggest supporters? My mom and my wife. My mom still lives in West Virginia, but she has been with me every step of the way. She went to every game and tried to go to every event, and my wife Ashley supports me as well. I met her in law school, so we went through law school together and getting the initial first job together. We’ve been through a lot of life events, so it’s always good to have someone who has your back like that.