On Saturday, July 12, the International Tennis Hall of Fame will induct its Class of 2008 – Michael Chang, Mark McCormack and Gene Scott – in ceremonies at the home of the Hall of Fame, The Casino in Newport, Rhode Island. Hall of Fame journalist Bud Collins profiles all three inductees in his just-off-the-press book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS ($35.95, New Chapter Press, click here for 39 percent discount). Today, we present to you the profile of Mark McCormack, the founder of the International Management Group.
United States (1930-2003)
Hall of Fame-2008-Contributor
By founding IMG (International Management Group) as a young man of 29, Mark Hume McCormack would revolutionize sports agentry and marketing on a world-wide level, much of it to the benefit and growth of tennis.
McCormack, a lawyer and an exceptional golfer who qualified for the U.S. Open and British Amateur, first turned his attention to that sport. Tremendously imaginative, a business genius, he sensed new opportunity on the links. It was in the forms of three men who would become all-time greats: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Through their play and his management they became wealthy and kindled increasing interest in golf.
When tennis became “open” in 1968, blending amateurs with the previously outlawed professionals, McCormack was quick to act, realizing that this game should attain far broader popularity, and that he could be a positive force in its rise.
Immediately, he signed on to represent the world’s foremost player, Australian Rod Laver, also to represent the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (aka Wimbledon), a relationship that continues to this day.
Laver was the first of a long line of tennis players to select McCormack’s IMG as their agent. Among them other Hall of Famers Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Bjorn Borg, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras.
Mark’s thoughts and ideas flowed in all directions in sport, and beyond. IMG became the world’s largest independent producer of TV sports programming. His system has spread and promoted economic advances for players, tournaments, tennis institutions and the game’s industry as a whole. In 1992, the Times of London named him one of “A Thousand People Who Most Influenced The 20th Century.”
Born Nov. 6, 1930, in Chicago, he grew up there, graduated from William and Mary College (’51) and Yale Law School (’54), and served a year in the U.S. Army in 1956. He was inducted into William and Mary’s Athletic Hall of Fame for golfing prowess in 1958.
IMG acquired the Nick Bollettieri Sports Academy in 1987, continuing Nick’s successful tennis “boot camp” that trains outstanding players from across the globe.
As an author, he somehow found time to write Things They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School, a best seller in 1984 published in 82 countries.
Mark’s second marriage was to a standout American tennis player, Betsy Nagelsen in 1986, eight years after she was the finalist at the Australian Open. A 2008 inductee to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, he died May 16, 2003, in New York