If Intuit had a hall of fame, Bill Campbell would have pride of place within it. The former Columbia University football player and coach served as Intuit’s CEO not once, but twice. He was also chairman of the board at Intuit and a living legend in Silicon Valley before he passed away last year.
But did you know he also had a football trophy named after him—The William V. Campbell Trophy?
The trophy — known as “the Academic Heisman” – is awarded each year by the National Football Foundation and recognizes a collegiate football player with the best combination of academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership.
At a recent inaugural leadership summit in honor of the Campbell trophy at Stanford University, Bill’s presence loomed large. The Intuit-sponsored event drew 82 former nominees for the trophy and featured 44 speakers—many of them tech leaders whose careers and lives Bill touched. Among those paying tribute to “The Coach,” as Bill became known, was Intuit CEO Brad Smith.
Brad spoke fondly of the larger-than-life mentor who welcomed him into the Intuit fold back in 2003—a memorable encounter sprinkled with humor and Bill’s famously colorful language. Brad highlighted Bill’s high expectations of leaders and of the team members he surrounded himself with. He spoke of the lessons in courage that Bill passed along.
“He loved to remind me that courage isn’t the absence of fear, but rather the willingness to stand and face it!” Brad said.
For the National Football Foundation, the trophy summit provided a great opportunity to build relationships and connect nominees with some of the nation’s top entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley CEOs. Among the tech giants Bill mentored were also Scott Cook, Apple’s Steve Jobs, Google’s Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
Watch a video of the summit here.