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.