The Birmingham Business Journal asked the question online if Tommy Tuberville or Nick Saban would make the better CEO. You can answer and leave your comments at the Business Journal website (and here if you like!). But this got me to thinking about SEC coaches and which CEOâ€™s they most remind me ofâ€”hereâ€™s my list.
Nick Sabanâ€”Steve Jobs CEO of Apple. Heâ€™s a dictator committed to his own path. However, you canâ€™t argue with the results. Heâ€™s turned around teams and won two SEC crowns. Twice as many as Tommy Tuberville in about half the time.
Les Milesâ€”Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft. Gates may rule the PC market, but heâ€™s slightly creepy and turns out crap for a product. Sounds much like Les Miles. Miles has won a national title, but did it lackluster fashionâ€”two losses to Arkansas and Kentucky?!? Sure he is recruiting well, but his boneheaded decisions are going to bite him in the rear sooner rather than later. When that happens, LSU fans will be screaming for his headâ€”much like Windows users when forced to reboot thanks to constant crashes. Even PC users know Mac is better (in other words, they wish they had Steve Jobs as CEO.)
Tommy Tubervilleâ€” Ross Perot, former CEO of EDS and former presidential candidate. Folksy and likable and also cunning and motivatingâ€”those traits describe both these men. They both have big ears. They both say outrageous and entertaining things. They both love the press, yet hate the press too. You couldnâ€™t find a better match.
Mark Richtâ€”Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle. Ellison is a billionaire who built his company starting in 1977 with a $200 investment. While Georgia wasnâ€™t at the bottom of the barrel when Richt arrived, he certainly has propelled it to new heights. Georgia, like Oracle, has had its ups and downs, but defeating Florida last season makes it look like brighter days are ahead for the Bulldogs. Two conference crowns, a BCS bowl victory over Hawaii and now poised for a push for a national title, Richt is at the pinnacle of college football.
Urban Meyerâ€”Richard Scrushy, former CEO of Healthsouth. Meyerâ€™s made a splash, but it is mostly smoke and mirrors, much like Scrushyâ€™s bookkeeping at Healthsouth. His offense works, but ask Tommy Tuberville how to stop it (Meyer is 0-2 against Tubervilleâ€™s defenses.) And Meyer is yet to prove he can manage a defense. (The national championship defense was composed of Ron Zookâ€™s players.) Meyerâ€™s first defense was shredded by Mike Shulaâ€™s offense, and last season was an unmitigated disaster.
Houston Nuttâ€”Lee Iacocca, former CEO of Chrysler. Iacocca saved Chrysler, became a celebrity starring in the corporate commercials, and was an inspirational figure and commentator on leadership. Nutt is one of the better motivators in college football. And letâ€™s be honest, he did a remarkable job saving Arkansas from being a bottom dweller. Nutt now hopes to do the same with perennial whipping boy Ole Miss.
Bobby Petrinoâ€”Satoru Iwata, CEO of Nintendo.
Iwata leads the company who dominates console gaming thanks to the innovative Wii. Petrino is also an innovative mindâ€”a genius of offense. Heâ€™s been great as a coordinator and did very well as Louisvilleâ€™s coach. Like the Wii revolutionized gaming, Petrino hopes to revolutionize Arkansasâ€™ passing gameâ€”bringing it into the modern era.
Bobby Johnsonâ€”Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express. When you think wealth, you think of brands like American Express. When you think of wealth in the SEC, you think of Vanderbilt, probably because that is where your boss attended college.
Steve Spurrierâ€”Jack Welch, former CEO of GE. Both had a great mind for their respective work. Both were innovative and understood leadership. Both remain highly-regarded, but their recent history has somewhat tarnished that legacy. Welch due to domestic issues, and Spurrier due to being at South Carolina.
Phillip Fulmerâ€” Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Fiorina engineered HPâ€™s merger with Compaq. It vaulted HP into the top position for PC market share. However, sales slowed, and Fiorina was exposed, and she was dismissed as CEO. Fulmer has won a national title, the conference title and salvaged last year when he put together a nice run to win the Eastern division crown. Unfortunately for Fulmer, he is still on a skid. Even Tennessee fans are counting the days until someone slimmer is stalking the sidelines.
Sylvester Croomâ€”Louis Gerstner, former CEO of IBM. Gerstner saved traditional giant IBM by keeping it what it traditionally wasâ€š an integrated information technology company. Croom is a traditional coach who believes in good defense and a good ground game. Heâ€™s turning around Mississippi State by doing what traditionally works. It isnâ€™t flashy, but flashy wouldnâ€™t become Big Blue, or the Bulldogâ€™s head coach.
Rich Brooksâ€”Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Warren Buffett is old. Rich Brooks is old. You canâ€™t argue with either manâ€™s success. Buffett knows how to make money, and Brooks knows how to win football games. They are dependable if not exciting.