Mark McCormack

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Mark McCormack
BornMark Hume McCormack
(1930-11-06)November 6, 1930
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedMay 16, 2003(2003-05-16) (aged 72)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
OccupationPresident of IMG

Mark Hume McCormack (November 6, 1930 – May 16, 2003) was an American lawyer, sports agent and writer. He was the founder and chairman of International Management Group, now IMG, an international management organization serving sports figures and celebrities.

A sports agent is a legal representative for professional sports figures such as athletes and coaches. They procure and negotiate employment and endorsement contracts for the athlete or coach whom they represent. Because of the unique characteristics of the sports industry, sports agents are responsible for communications with team owners, managers, and other individuals. Also, they are responsible for making recommendations in regard. In addition to finding income sources, agents often handle public relations matters for their clients. In some large sports agencies, such as IMG, Creative Artists Agency, Roc Nation Sports and Octagon, agents deal with all aspects of a client's finances, from investment to filing taxes.

IMG (company) talent and event management company headquartered in New York City

IMG, originally known as the International Management Group, is a global sports, other events and talent management company headquartered in New York City. It has been owned by William Morris Endeavor and Silver Lake Partners since 2013. Trans World International (TWI) is the event company of IMG.


Early life, education

McCormack was the only son of Chicago publisher Ned McCormack. He graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1951. He earned his law degree from Yale Law School, and served in the United States Army. He played varsity golf at William and Mary, and qualified for the 1958 U.S. Open, but missed the cut.

Chicago City in Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,716,450 (2017), it is the most populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland, and the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States. The metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States, and the fourth largest in North America and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area.

College of William & Mary public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia

The College of William & Mary is a public research university in Williamsburg, Virginia. Founded in 1693 by letters patent issued by King William III and Queen Mary II, it is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, after Harvard University.

Yale Law School law school of Yale University

Yale Law School is the law school of Yale University, located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Established in 1824, Yale Law offers the J.D., LL.M., J.S.D., M.S.L., and Ph.D. degrees in law.

Business career

After his Army discharge, McCormack worked as an attorney at the Cleveland law firm, Arter & Hadden. In the 1950s he helped organize one-day golf exhibitions for professionals around the United States. In 1960, McCormack founded IMG and signed golfer Arnold Palmer as the company's first client and later signed Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. [1] McCormack's clients eventually included Fran Tarkenton, [2] Björn Borg, Chris Evert, Pete Sampras, Michael Schumacher, Derek Jeter, Charles Barkley and model Kate Moss. He also handled special projects for Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pope John Paul II, and Tiger Woods.

Cleveland City in Ohio

Cleveland is a major city in the U.S. state of Ohio, and the county seat of Cuyahoga County. The city proper has a population of 385,525, making it the 51st-largest city in the United States, and the second-largest city in Ohio. Greater Cleveland is ranked as the 32nd-largest metropolitan area in the U.S., with 2,055,612 people in 2016. The city anchors the Cleveland–Akron–Canton Combined Statistical Area, which had a population of 3,515,646 in 2010 and is ranked 15th in the United States.

Arter & Hadden

Arter & Hadden LLP was a Cleveland, Ohio-based law firm that traced its founding to 1843 and ceased operations on July 15, 2003. When the firm closed, it was one of the oldest continuing operating law firms in the country. The firm had engaged in an ambitious expansion throughout the 1990s, peaking in 1999 with a total of 425 attorneys employed by the firm. Additionally, Arter and Hadden had opened offices in Columbus, Ohio, Dayton, Ohio, Washington, DC, Dallas, Texas, Los Angeles, California, Irvine, California and through acquisitions and mergers opened offices in San Francisco and San Diego, California.

Arnold Palmer American golfer

Arnold Daniel Palmer was an American professional golfer who is generally regarded as one of the greatest and most charismatic players in the sport's history. Dating back to 1955, he won numerous events on both the PGA Tour and the circuit now known as PGA Tour Champions. Nicknamed The King, he was one of golf's most popular stars and seen as a trailblazer, the first superstar of the sport's television age, which began in the 1950s.

McCormack wrote several books, including The Terrible Truth About Lawyers and What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School, which spent 21 consecutive weeks at #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list. His annual publication The World of Professional Golf, first published in 1967, included an (unofficial) world ranking system. In his book What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School, McCormack tells a fictionalized story[ page needed ] of a Harvard study in which the three percent of graduates who had clear, written goals earned ten times as much as the 97 percent who didn't have clear, written goals. McCormack and numerous motivational speakers, including Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy, have used various versions of this story in their presentations. [3]

The New York Times Best Seller list is widely considered the preeminent list of best-selling books in the United States. Published weekly in The New York Times Book Review, the best-seller list has been published in the Times since October 12, 1931. In recent years it has evolved into multiple lists in different categories, broken down by fiction and non-fiction, hardcover, paperback, and electronic, and different genres.

Tony Robbins American author, actor, professional speaker

Anthony Jay Robbins is an American author, philanthropist and life coach. Robbins is known for his infomercials, seminars, and self-help books including Unlimited Power and Awaken the Giant Within.

Originates rankings for golf and tennis

The system used to calculate Mark McCormack's world golf rankings was adapted in 1986 to become the Official World Golf Ranking system, with McCormack chairing the rankings committee made up of representatives from all the major golf tours. McCormack pioneered a similar system for tennis rankings. McCormack met his second wife Betsy Nagelsen-McCormack, a two-time Australian Open doubles champion and a Wimbledon doubles finalist, while she was a business client. They married in 1986. [4] The couple founded the McCormack–Nagelsen Tennis Center at the College of William & Mary, which houses the ITA Women's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame.

The McCormack rankings were unofficial world golf rankings published in Mark McCormack's World of Professional Golf Annual from 1968 to 1985, and were a forerunner of the current Official World Golf Ranking. Unlike their replacement they were not used to select fields for tournaments, and served no real purpose other than as a talking point.

The Official World Golf Ranking is a system for rating the performance level of male professional golfers. It was started in 1986.

Helen Elizabeth "Betsy" Nagelsen McCormack is an American former professional tennis player.


McCormack died at a New York hospital on May 16, 2003, age 72, from complications after suffering a cardiac event four months earlier that left him in a coma. His second wife, Betsy Nagelsen, their daughter, Maggie, and children from his first marriage to Nancy Breckenridge McCormack, [5] Breck, Todd and Leslie, later shared $750 million, when the family's shares in IMG were sold.


In July 2006 McCormack was selected for induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame in the lifetime achievement category, and he was inducted in October 2006. On January 23, 2008, he was also inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He was featured as one of the Forbes 400 Richest Americans in 1995, 1998, 2001. [6] In 1990, he was named the "Most Powerful Man in Sports" by Sporting News . The University of Massachusetts at Amherst has also named their Sport Management department after McCormack. [7]

The British film Wimbledon (2004) was dedicated to Mark McCormack by director Richard Loncraine.

The Mark H. McCormack Medal is awarded to the leading player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking after the U.S. Amateur and the European Amateur. [8]

The Mark H. McCormack Award is awarded to the player who has spent the most weeks at first place in the Official World Golf Ranking during a calendar year. The first 13 of these awards after its inception went to Tiger Woods.


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  1. Arnie and Jack: Palmer, Nicklaus, and Golf's Greatest Rivalry, by Ian O'Connor, 2008
  2. Axthelm, Pete (July 19, 1971). "The Third Annual Permanent Retirement of Joe Namath". New York Magazine. p. 71. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  3. "Writing Down Your Goals – The Harvard Written Goal Study. Fact or Fiction?". November 13, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  4. "IMG founder McCormack dies at 72". USA Today. May 16, 2003. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  5. Nancy Breckenridge McCormack, born June 10, 1933; died January 14, 1998, Jefferson, Alabama. Source: Social Security Death Index.
  6. "Mark Hume McCormack". NameBase . Retrieved January 20, 2012.[ dead link ]
  7. "Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management" . Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  8. "R&A Introduces the Mark H. McCormack Medal". Cybergolf. Retrieved August 19, 2015.