Pat Croce - Judge
Pat Croce graced the cover of Success magazine as the first person to ascend from the training room to the boardroom of a professional sports team. His remarkable journey from physical therapist and pioneer in the sports medicine field to the colorful leader responsible for the resurrection of the Philadelphia 76ers as a NBA championship contender has been defined as one of the most amazing stories in sports history.
Through his business savvy, dynamic personality and emphasis on customer service, Croce turned Sports Physical Therapists -- a sports medicine empire with 40 centers in 11 states -- into a top-10 finalist for the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Following the sale of his company, Croce focused his entrepreneurial spirit and indestructible positive attitude on the purchase of the NBA's last place team, the Philadelphia 76ers, in 1996. During his five-year tenure as president and part-owner, the team rose from worst to first in the NBA standings, and broke franchise records in attendance, revenue, merchandise and consecutive wins on the way to the NBA Championships against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001.
Croce next tackled television as a lively commentator on the NBA on NBC, a Tae Kwon Do commentator for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Greece, and during that same year hosted a nationally syndicated daily TV show, Pat Croce: Moving In. He continues to fill requests as a nationally-renowned motivational speaker and is the author of the New York Times bestseller, I Feel Great and You Will Too!, the motivational tome, 110%, and the business book, Lead or Get off the Pot! Croce also authored two books that delve into his passion for pirates - Pirate Soul: A Swashbuckling Journey through the Golden Age of Pirates and the children's picture book, My Pop-Pop is a Pirate.
Croce was the proud recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was featured on the cover of Inc magazine as The Dale Carnegie of the 21st Century. He continues to thrive as a serial entrepreneur, with controlling interests in the Pirate Soul Museum and the Rum Barrel restaurant/bar in Key West, Florida. He has also funded companies in the fields of fitness, spirits, technology, media, healthcare, retail and real estate.