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					                          From the
                                       board room                                                                    to the


                                      locker room
                                             NIAF board member and TD Ameritrade chairman
                                      Joe Moglia seeks a return to his roots as a football coach.
                           By Patricia Beemer


                               At the age of 61, Joe Moglia is in the midst of         In 2008, Moglia had completed the transforma-
                          what many football fans would consider the world’s       tion of TD Ameritrade from a floundering minor
                          best internship: Throughout the season he has            player in the world of stock trading to its current
                          served as the volunteer life- skills consultant to the   status as the global leader in equity transactions. He
                          University of Nebraska’s athletic program, which has     was ready to step aside as the company’s chief exec-
                          allowed him to shadow the football team’s coaching       utive officer, assume the position of chairman of the
                          staff and sit in on coaches’ meetings. To those who      board, and move on to new challenges. Offers
                          know Moglia as the chairman of the board and             began to flow in for jobs in the fields of business
                          former CEO of TD Ameritrade, this may seem a             and media; there was talk of him writing a book on
                          surprising change of direction. For Moglia, though,      leadership. While he was
                          it is a matter of following his heart back to the        mulling these options,
                          passion of his youth: coaching. After a career that      he got a call from a
                          has reached the pinnacle of the business world,          friend who was a Yale
                          Moglia wants to become a head football coach at a        alumnus. Familiar
                          Division One college.                                    with Moglia’s coaching
                                                                                   background, the friend
                                                                                    Continued on page 26
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24                       Ambassador
                           Continued from page 24
                           told him that Yale was going to need a new head
                           football coach and that he should throw his hat in
                           the ring. “I found over the span of the next several
                           months that I literally didn’t lose a second of sleep
                           thinking about the business or the media, but I
                           couldn’t get the football thing out of my mind.”
                               Coaching was the dream that Moglia had to
                           abandon as a young man. The tipping point came
                           when he found himself recently divorced, with four
                           children and an ex-wife to support, and living in an
                           unheated storage loft on the Dartmouth campus
                           because he couldn’t afford to maintain two homes.
                           He’d spent 16 years building a coaching career, and
                           after serving as Dartmouth College’s defensive coor-
                           dinator, helping to lead its team to two successive Ivy
                           League championships, he had a lead on a job that
                           would be the next step up the ladder to a position              “In both my coaching and my business career,”
                           as head coach. Unfortunately, the job was in Miami,        he says, “the thing that gives me the greatest satis-
                           which would have put hundreds of miles between             faction is just having an impact on other people.
                           him and his children, and he realized that he              It’s tough for me to find something that more
                           needed to shift gears completely. So in 1984 he            touches my heart than helping an 18- to 20-year-
                           parlayed his bachelor of economics degree from             old boy become a man.” He also sees coaching as
                           Fordham University into a position in Merrill              an intellectual challenge. “The strategy and the
                           Lynch’s sales training program.                            science and the structure of football are very much
                               In a class of 26, he was the only trainee without an   like chess with human beings. And the ability to
                           MBA. There were those who doubted the football             pull those 11 people together in a very intense
                           coach’s ability to excel in the business world, but they   competitive environment, as well as pull together
                           would soon eat their words. By 1988, he was Merrill        your entire program is something that I find very
                           Lynch’s number-one producer worldwide. He turned           attractive intellectually.”
                           around Merrill’s municipal-bonds operations after the          After the job at Yale went to another candidate,
                           Orange County bankruptcy debacle. He continued to          Moglia knew he would need to polish his coaching
                           excel, working his way into upper management and           resume and demonstrate that he was up for the job
                           eventually becoming the company’s youngest senior          of coaching NCAA football in the 21st century. He
                           vice president and the head of all investment products     discussed the idea with Tom Osborne, the athletic
                           in Merrill Lynch’s private-client division. He planned     director at the University of Nebraska, the NCAA
                           on staying with the company until he retired, but in       school closest to Moglia’s home in Omaha.
                           2001 he was offered a job that presented a chal-           Osborne introduced him to Bo Pelini, Nebraska’s
                           lenge that he couldn’t turn down: rebuilding a             head football coach, who offered him the opportu-
                           struggling online brokerage, Ameritrade Holding,           nity to spend the 2009 season as a volunteer life-
                           during one of the worst downturns the stock                skills consultant to the team. “We’re delighted that
                           market had seen in decades.                                Joe will support our student-athletes in football,”
                               Moglia’s leadership is widely credited with saving     Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said at the time. “It’s not
                           the company, now known as TD Ameritrade. In the            every day that the only person in the world who’s
                           seven years he served as CEO, TD Ameritrade’s              written a book on both football and investment
                           shareholders reaped a 500 percent return despite           strategies wants to volunteer his expertise.”
                           the dismal state of the economy. The firm’s market             In this capacity he meets with student athletes
                           capitalization grew from $700 million in 2001 to $10       from all 23 Cornhusker sports about the role they
                           billion in 2008, and the company became the global         play as leaders on their teams and on campus. He
                           market leader in equity transactions.                      mentors them on life challenges and career aspira-
                               Clearly, Moglia is a man who lives for a chal-         tions. One such student was Blake Lawrence, a 20-
                           lenge. He knows that he’s facing long odds in his          year-old linebacker who, after incurring four concus-
                           quest to become a head coach, that nobody has              sions in 18 months, faced an early end to his
                           ever held such a position after decades away from          football career. Moglia’s guidance helped the young
                           the game. “It’s probably one of the most difficult         man to find a new dream and create a new life plan
                           things I’ve ever tried to do,” he admits. Still, once      in which he used the remaining years of his football
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                           he has set his sights on a goal, he is not easily          scholarship to not only finish college but also to
                           deterred. The reason he would like to dedicate the         earn his MBA at Nebraska.
                           next phase of his life to coaching, he explains, is            In addition to these duties, the indefatigable
                           that it appeals to both his heart and his head. He         Moglia spends 70 hours a week working with the
                           sees coaching as a special calling that entails not        team’s defensive staff during football season. Four
                           just teaching his charges how to win a game but            nights a week he stays in a hotel near the school’s
                           also how to win in life.                                   Lincoln campus, returning home to Omaha every
                                                                                                                          Continued on page 43
26                       Ambassador
Continued from page 26
Thursday for a dinner date with his wife, Amy, who
is an artist. Fridays he dedicates to his duties as
Chairman of the Board at TD Ameritrade.
    Working hard to beat the odds comes naturally
to Moglia. “I’ve always grown up with a sense of
responsibility on my shoulders, and I know I got
that from my father, and I got his work ethic as well.
My Dad never took a vacation; he worked 6 days a
week; he worked about 80 hours a week. His entire
emphasis was to provide for his family.”
    His father, Giovanni Giuseppe Moglia, was a green-
grocer who had emigrated at the age of 11 with his
parents from Pesola, in the region of Parma. They
settled at 183rd Street and Park Avenue in a gritty
neighborhood in the South Bronx, in an apartment                Spiritual soundness, he says, is not a religious
overlooking the railroad tracks. Giovanni fought for        concept, but a level of self-knowledge. “You have to
the United States in World War II, and while on a           know who you are, what your strengths and weak-
furlough in Belfast, Northern Ireland, he met Frances       nesses are.” He sums up dedication by saying,
McLarnon. A year after returning from the war, he           “Whatever you choose to do in life, no matter what
sent the Irish girl a letter, asking her to marry him.      that might be, you should work as hard as you can
“She took the letter to her mother,” says Moglia,           to be the best at it.” Courage, he says, is “very
recounting with pleasure a bit of family lore. “They        simply, the guts to do what you think is right.” He
said, first, the guy’s Italian—I don’t think they thought   defines love as a commitment to helping others, a
this was a good thing, necessarily. Secondly, though,       force that creates enormous benefits everywhere
he does own his own business. Thirdly, check out the        from the family to the business world.
return address on the envelope: He lives on Park                Moglia presents his philosophy with such
Avenue! You can’t let this guy get away!” Moglia            eloquence and forcefulness that it difficult to believe
chuckles at the misunderstanding to which he owes           that for much of his life he has struggled against stut-
his existence. Frances McLarnon got on a boat,              tering. “Growing up, I had a pretty severe stutter,
alone, to start her new life in a new world, but the        and I wouldn’t allow myself to stammer. But if I felt
reality that greeted her was far from the posh life her     that I was having difficulty getting my word out, I
mother had envisioned. She joined her new husband,          shut up.” He got by that way until he started coach-
his parents, and his four siblings in the cramped apart-    ing at age 19 and would have to address the team.
ment with a view of the railroad tracks. She dutifully          Moglia has since worked through the condition
made the best of it, Moglia explains, but she did write     with impressive success, and last year he was given a
home to her parents, “I have no idea why the Ameri-         lifetime achievement award by the American Insti-
cans make such a big deal about Park Avenue!”               tute for Stuttering. He has received many other
    Regarding his mother, Moglia says “I think from         national awards, including NIAF’s Special Achieve-
my mom I got her sense of humor, her smile, her             ment Award in Business and the Ellis Island Medal
lightheartedness”—qualities that undoubtedly served         of Honor. He was named Man of the Year by the
them both well as they confronted life’s challenges.        National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.
    Giovanni and Frances, neither of whom had               Additionally, he has served on NIAF’s board of
attended high school, later moved to Inwood, a              directors since 2005.
poor area in upper Manhattan, where Joe grew up                 Moglia plans to spend one more season with the
as the eldest of five children in a two-bedroom, one-       Cornhuskers’ coaching staff. Although he was a
bath apartment. He helped in his father’s fruit             finalist for next season’s head coach position at
store, but he also ran with a rough crowd. Two of           Princeton and was also interviewed at Cornell and
his best friends died in high school—one from a             Richmond, none of those positions panned out.
drug overdose, one after being shot while robbing a         Moglia was also on the short list of candidates for
liquor store. Wanting to keep Joe out of trouble, his       CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
parents enrolled him in Fordham Preparatory                     “I’m a little disappointed,” he admits. “I don’t have
School. It was there that he discovered his love of         a job for 2010, but Bo Pelini has asked me to come
sports; it was also there that he got his first coaching    back to the University of Nebraska, and I will be back.”
job while a sophomore at Fordham University.                    Nebraska athletic director Osborne acknowl-
    Moglia’s inspirational life story and his reputa-       edges that some people may be skeptical about
                                                                                                                        W W W . N I A F. O R G




tion for turning underdogs into winners have                Moglia’s chances at a head coaching job. “I suppose
contributed to his popularity as a motivational             people will say this guy hasn’t coached for 20 years,
speaker. He shares with listeners the key elements of       so what can he do now?” Osborne says. “Joe is
his success as a leader. He says that success, whether      organized, systematic and has the ability to get
it be in football, business, or any other endeavor,         things done. I don’t know where it all will lead, but I
requires four qualities: spiritual soundness, dedica-       think Joe would be a good coach.” Given Moglia’s
tion, courage and love.                                     track record, the smart money is on him.

                                                                                                          Ambassador    43

				
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