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Accomplished Superintendents Have 'Fortune 500' CEO Talent

Jim McLoughlin


A long-standing axiom that is consistently noticed by knowledgeable sports fans and beyond states that established NFL coaches have the equivalent personal skill sets as Fortune 500 Company CEOs.


Accordingly, in this hypothetical world, it is believed that proven NFL coaches are equipped to successfully manage the worlds most dynamic companies given the same preparatory educational opportunity the CEOs have had.


Informed golf industry watchers familiar with the above premise consistently express the opinion that accomplished golf course superintendents are qualified in their own right to join company with NFL coaches and Fortune 500 Company CEOs at the top of the most respected management professionals' list - given the same preparatory educational opportunity the CEOs have had.


Following is a survey with estimated value ratings - that represents the consensus opinions of informed interested parties emanating from several discussions over the years on the subject of comparing NFL coaches, superintendents and Fortune 500 CEO management qualifications:

Comparison: Communications Responsibilities

  • NFL Coaches: Limited to player rosters and media contacts. Rating: 3
  • Superintendents: Extend to player communities and boards/committees. Rating: 3
  • Fortune 500 CEOs: Extend to stockholders and multi media contacts. Rating: 4


Comparison: Hiring Responsibilities

  • NFL Coaches: Coordinate with club GMs in finalizing team player rosters. Rating: 4
  • Superintendents: Solely responsible for hiring assistants, mechanics and ground crews. Rating: 4
  • Fortune 500 CEOs: Human Resource departments do the main hiring. Rating: 2  


Comparison: Fiscal Welfare Responsibilities

  • NFL Coaches: Coaching quality responsible for teams fiscal welfare. Rating: 4
  • Superintendents: Golf course conditioning quality drives club/course revenues. Rating: 5
  • Fortune 500 CEOs: Set financial agendas for their companies. Rating: 5


Comparison: Long Range Planning Responsibilities

  • NFL Coaches: Limited to player drafts to sustain quality multi year rosters. Rating: 3
  • Superintendents: Develop and revise multi year, multi-million dollar LRPs. Rating: 4
  • Fortune 500 CEOs: Direct development of and delivery on stock forecasts. Rating: 4


Comparison: Scope Of Education Degrees

  • NFL Coaches: Generally limited to standard undergraduate degrees. Rating: 3
  • Superintendents: Technically difficult undergraduate degrees, plus arduous certification and maintaining certification programming. Rating: 4
  • Fortune 500 CEOs: 100% undergraduate; 60% MBA; and 20% doctorate. Rating: 4


Conclusions To Be Drawn:

  1. The following rating totals from the above survey:

NFL coaches: 17; Superintendents: 20; and Fortune 500 CEOs: 19 . . .


Support the premise that within the above opinion survey proven veteran golf course superintendents are arguably recognized as being on a par with the better of corporate America's most effective skill set-based management personnel; again, given the same preparatory educational opportunity as corporate executives.


  1. Accordingly, veteran superintendents should never doubt their ability to develop successful entrepreneurial businesses later in their careers if they so elect. (See Nov 11th blog.)


  1. Based on the conclusions drawn in this blog message, there is no mountain hard-working, dedicated superintendents can't climb in life.


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