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Volume 22 No. 35
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What if? Imagining Kevin Plank without Under Armour

So what would Kevin Plank be doing if he wasn’t running Under Armour? There’s overwhelming opinion that he would be running his own business.

“He couldn’t work for anybody,” said Under Armour North America President Matt Mirchin. “Kevin would definitely have his own company.”

Supporting that theory, Plank recalls that just after his Maryland graduation, he was expecting a job offer to sell

Photo by: Under Armour
insurance. However, his mom failed to deliver the phone message. When Plank protested, his mom quieted him by telling him what everyone at Under Armour now knows. “She said, ‘There’s no way you are working for someone else,’” Plank said. “She was right.”

Still, there are some who can see Kevin as a coach.

“He’d show you a little bit of love and a little yelling, just like any good coach, and throw a clipboard now and then,” said Under Armour co-founder Kip Fulks, with a laugh.

Ryan Kuehl, a veteran of 12 NFL seasons who now runs Under Armour’s sports marketing, said the culture is already reminiscent of a locker room. “There’s a level of buy-in here that’s the equivalent to a good NFL team, as far as the direction we’re going, and Kevin sets that,” he said.

Peter Ruppe, senior vice president of footwear, said it wouldn’t be much different. “He’s an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur, so my guess is he would have started something else, and it would still be in sports.”

After quickly considering whether there could be a business in combining the flower service he ran during his college days with today’s fleet of Uber drivers, Plank quickly retreated to the present. “I am intellectually curious by nature, so the good news is that I was able to combine that with a passion,” he said. “Sports defined my life for my first 23 years; building this has been special and defined me for the last 20 or so.”

Said Under Armour Chief Digital Officer Mike Lee: “Kevin was born to do this. It’s impossible to imagine him doing anything else.”