CEO Rooting Section: Tom Fallon

Tom Fallon has been Chief Executive Officer of Infinera Corporation, a leading optical networking company, since 2010. He first joined the company as a vice-president in 2003 and helped build Infinera’s reputation as a pioneer in the design and manufacture of large scale photonic integrated circuits. Infinera is located in Sunnyvale.

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What is your favorite college football team and why?

I am a Texas Longhorn fan during good times and bad. I bleed orange and white and play The Eyes of Texas on my stereo. I had the opportunity to attend the University of Texas for both my undergraduate work in engineering and my graduate studies in business. I received a world-class education for about $500 per semester. I watched Earl Campbell tear up the football field and watched Roger Clemens begin his journey to becoming a baseball legend. The Texas spirit is second to none. If you’ve ever been to a Memorial Stadium night game when the Longhorns play a rival, you would understand.

What is your favorite memory from following your team?

Clearly, that would be the 2005 national championship game, Texas vs. USC at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. With 6:42 left in the fourth quarter, the Longhorns were behind, 38-26. My youngest son looked up at me from his seat and said: “Dad, let’s go so that we can beat the crowd—this game is over.”  I told him: “Not a chance.” Vince Young, the Texas quarterback, agreed with me. On a fourth down play with 19 seconds remaining, he ran nine yards for the go-ahead touchdown and Texas won, 41-38. I think it was the best football game of all time. Hook ‘em!

What is it about college football that makes it so compelling and exciting to you?

I think college football brings out the very best of everybody – the fans, the players, the bands, the cheer squad. The camaraderie and spirit is unmatched compared to any other sports event. I also think going to a game brings back fond memories of times when you were in school and your adult life was just beginning. I also enjoy the fact that on any given day, almost any team can win.