Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.
Spotlight - April 22, 2009
President, The Goldwater Group, LLC
Bobby Goldwater's 2004 Senior Last Lecture to an audience at his alma mater, Miami University in Ohio, may not be a Best Seller like Randy Pausch's, "The Last Lecture," in which facing death this professor inspires his students and listeners to make their curiosity and dreams a reality.
Reading Bobby Goldwater's last lecture online, though, coupled with witnessing him peering over his glasses to critique the resume of the last remaining student shuffled to the host facility's parking lot two hours after a sports marketing conference had ended, shows how Bobby has, with similar wide-eyed wonderment, passion and humility, embodied his career's sports marketing dream as a "master of ceremonies" in the same manner Randy did.
Many young sports marketers long ago like Jim Millman and Steve Hatchell, other TeamWork Online featured executives, or even Pete Rozelle, started out in public relations and evolved into increasing more responsible roles, with Pete becoming the first Commissioner of the NFL. Bobby Goldwater started out in 1974 as a public relations writer, too, and moved into progressively more promotional roles with Madison Square Garden. His clear, crisp, enthusiastic voice tells you he could arouse a crowd via the microphone. You couldn't tell the difference between public relations and marketing in those days and so by 1986, Bobby became Vice President of Marketing AND Communications and teetered between titles of Communications and Marketing for a while with stints managing areas of operations, guest services, event presentation, food service and merchandising. Everything he touched had a greater bounce in its step. Every person he directed and taught became more inspired. He created new revenue streams, introduced employee recognition programs, set the standards for guest services and created the first "events division" with innovative lighting, special effects and production which have become standards in arenas and stadiums throughout the country. He was lured to the west coast to help STAPLES Center become the mecca of sports and entertainment on the west coast and mirrorred some of the successes he orchestrated at Madison Square Garden - bringing in the Democratic National Convention, the Pac 10 men's basketball tournament, the Grammy Awards and more. He then moved to Washington, D.C. to lead the successful effort to bring Major League Baseball back to the Nation's Capital.
In his 2004 Senior Last Lecture, Bobby fondly remembers a 10-minute conversation with the president of Miami University, who attended his speech, during his senior year in high school. At half-time of an NIT basketball game in Madison Square Garden, the president encouraged Bobby's selection of the school and serendipitously the Garden hired Bobby upon graduation from college. He looks back on his career and praises the contributions of and personal encounters with many people including heart-thumping athletic greats Mark Messier, Patrick Ewing, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, singer Paul McCartney, politicians Bill Clinton and Robert Dole, his colleagues at the Garden, STAPLES Center and RFK Stadium, former bosses including David Checketts, Tim Leiweke and Bob Russo, as well as acknowledging other athletes Rebecca Lobo, Teresa Weatherspoon, Mia Hamm, Peggy Fleming, Scott Hamilton, Magic Johnson, Muhammad Ali, and USA Hockey coach Herb Brooks.
But the most unforgettable act of kindness he observed was by a track star. Bobby was a runner, once - a pretty good half-miler at that. Eamonn Coghlan, six-time winner of the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games, the world's most renowned indoor track meet, wanted a young man in a wheelchair to watch the race on the finish line, a no-no in a meet that resembles organized chaos compressed into a tight footprint at the Garden. Bobby found a way to comply. Eamonn promised his friend he would make him happy. With one lap to go, Eamonn was way off the lead, middle of the pack, but somehow had the remarkable presence to look at Bobby and his charge and wink. As Bobby recalls,
"Eamonn turned on his famous kick. The Garden crowd was as loud as it had ever been. Eamonn passed the leaders on the last turn and sprinted to his record-breaking seventh Wanamaker Mile victory. More than the record, more than the trophy, more than the other accolades he earned that night, the joyous, amazed smile from an excited kid in a wheelchair was the best prize Eamonn received?the young man passed away shortly after that night at the Millrose Games."
It's no wonder Bobby has become an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's sports industry management program. He's a teacher, a promoter, and someone who is just as thankful for every day living his dream as Randy Pausch seemed.
"In sports, entertainment and facility management, in my life, I've learned that time matters, that there's so much to do, that I don't want to be someone who looks back and someday to lament that there was something I should have done?that there's no such thing as caring too much, that showing up is important and that getting involved is more so. There literally has not been one day that I have not wanted to practically run through the door to go to work. If you enjoy what you do and do what you enjoy, if you have found something meaningful in your life, you can share it with others." And that he has and will continue...for all the days of his life.
- Buffy Filippell
"Bobby has been a teacher, mentor and friend for 25 years and so much of what I've learned about life in this business I owe to him. He gave me my start in 1983 and his 24/7 love for sports and entertainment was contagious. Bobby embodied the Garden and its incredible energy. And his passion and dedication to the staff, players and performers that called MSG home made him a part of MSG lore."
- John Urban, MSG colleague from 1983 - 1998
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