Former CEO Hoping He'll Be College Football Head Coach Next Year

Chairman of TD Ameritrade, Joe Moglia
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Chairman of TD Ameritrade, Joe Moglia

Joe Moglia has one of the greatest stories to tell.

He went from football coach to CEO of TD Ameritrade and now he’s back in the football game, as executive advisor to Nebraska’s head football coach Bo Pelini. As the team gets set to take on Texas this weekend, we sat down with Moglia to talk about his job and his future in football.

Darren: There’s a lot of talk about the stress put on college head football coaches after Mark Dantonio of Michigan State’s heart attack. Can you compare the stress of a head football coach by fans and the media versus the stress of a CEO by the media and the shareholders?

Moglia: From my perspective, there’s never been anything that I’ve ever done in my career that has been more stressful or more competitive than coaching football in season. A college coach’s life is he goes four or five months, he doesn’t get a day off. It’s seven days a week. It’s 90 hours a week and his entire career is dependent upon whether or not he wins on Saturday. To move up in the profession, you have to move your entire family. But the season does come to an end. And while you work hard the rest of the season, recruiting and what not, it’s not quite the same as it is during the season. In the business world, no matter how good the last quarter was or how good last year was, you’re expected to deliver sustainable improvement and long-term earn earnings growth on a regular basis. So it’s not quite as intense during the season but you never really get a break either.

Darren: You make $1 million as chairman of TD Ameritrade (and Moglia earned much more as CEO). Bo Pelini, your head coach, makes $1.8 million. Justify for me why a head football coach deserves a CEO-type salary?

Moglia: Well, I think first of all, any really great college coach – and I would certainly put Bo in this category – is a real teacher and the real commitment is not just winning games, it’s what you do with the development of an 18- to 22-year-old. In effect, you’re helping them become men. That’s the most critical part of their job. But at the end of the day, major college football is still a business. You have to be able to win games. There’s a tremendous amount of revenue and expense associated with it. And frankly with the pressure and the competitive nature of what they do, they really deserve that type of money.

"There’s never been anything that I’ve ever done in my career that has been more stressful or more competitive than coaching football in season." -Exec Advisor, Univ. of Nebraska, Joe Moglia

Anchor Mark Haines: Joe, are you sick of Wall Street?

Moglia: No. Not at all. What happened in 2008, when the world was imploding, we had our sixth record year in a row. I thought it was time to pull the trigger on my own succession. When we made that announcement, I got a tremendous amount of calls from Wall Street and the media. Then I got a call from a group of alumni associated with Yale telling me at the end of the 2008 season there was a possibility the head football job might be open, would I be interested. I said, “You know guys I haven’t coached football in more than 20 years.” And they said, “But we know what kind of leader you are, we’ve done our homework, we think you have the skillsets that are required of a head college football coach. Why don’t you think about it.” The next five months, all I did was think about it and (athletic director) Tom Osborne of Nebraska was good enough to defend me on this. And I decided when I could do anything at all with my life, what would be the thing I would best at and have the greatest impact on and it was going back to football. I’m not a business guy that gets excited about being involved with collegiate or professional sports. I’m a really a coach that was a better business guy because of that and will be a better coach because of the business experience. So I’m really a coach going back to coaching. I still love the business world.

Darren: Joe, I’m giving you 30 seconds right now. You think you can be a Division I head football coach next year. I’m an athletic director of a school that has an opening, pitch me why?

Moglia: I’ve been a winner my entire life. I know football. I spent 16 years coaching football and I was successful at it. By the time the season is over, I will have spent 4,000 hours with Nebraska getting, in effect, a private tutorial from one of the best up-and-coming coaches in the country and an icon that has already won five national championships in terms of learning how to lay the foundation for a championship team. Number two, I know I can attract a good staff. Three, I know I can recruit. Four, I think I can get the alumni and student body excited and earn the respect of the faculty. But besides being a coach, I think I’d be an incredible ambassador to the institution and a wonderful partner to my athletic director and my president. I just need to someone to give me the opportunity.

Questions? Comments?