Winning By Losing With Dr. Bill Sutton

By: Dan Migala

If ever there’s an example of winning by losing, this is it.

For a lot of #SportsBiz followers, you’ll recall last year a friendly wager between myself, a University of Missouri alum, and Dr. Bill Sutton “aka Doc,” an Oklahoma State University alum on the Liberty Bowl. In true collaborative fashion, we asked the #SportsBiz twitter-verse for their input on the bet. The community spoke and the decision was the losing team/executive would give a guest lecture to the sports business class at the winner’s alma mater.

Well, Mizzou lost and today was the day, and what a day it was.

For those lucky enough to have Doc as a professor or a colleague, you know he’s just one of those special people to be around. For me, I can’t recall when or why he took an interest in me but I’m grateful to have him in my life and today further cemented it.

I hear so many stories about the impact Doc has had on so many of his former students – professionally and personally. Our 4FRONT internal team is comprised of Sutton alums, like our analytics wiz AJ Stoner who had Doc as a professor at USF. Our external teams at clients like Minor League Baseball and NBA includes Sutton alums like Vic Gregovits (Robert Morris), David Wright (UMASS) and Kelly Higgins from the NBA (UCF).

To hear them talk about Doc is to understand how a teacher helps someone realize the best version of themselves. This realization showed in Doc’s thoughtfulness and investment of time I witnessed first-hand today. For me personally, it’s a wonderful feeling to be around someone who helps you to excel and be you at the same time.

When I asked Doc what or how to prepare for today, he simply said, “Just be you Dan.”

So awesome to have the support, guidance and trust from someone to allow you to be your own unique self and that is part of Doc’s magic.

I aimed to live up to this by sharing some life lessons with the OK State students I’ve learned in this industry with a focus around:

        • Relationship building vs. networking
        • Seek opportunities, not income
        • Prepare for the job that doesn’t yet exist
        • Add value to any room you’re in
        • Have faith in yourself
        • Keep your career close, your family closer

These messages are about my career and life experiences. They very much could’ve been about Doc or any of the incredible talents and people like Gregovits, Higgins, Stoner, and Wright that he inspired. Or Oklahoma State students and alums like our 4FRONT teammate and digital star Erin Willoughby.

Thank you, Doc for all you do for us and thank you to the Mizzou football team for losing the Liberty Bowl so I can find the silver lining and win with Doc and the next generation of sports business leaders for one night in Stillwater.


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