With inspiring background, Khan leads Jaguars through “rebuilding” process


Few American success stories inspire those seeking success of their own more than the journey of Jaguars owner Shahid Khan.  He recently shared his perspective and background with Charlie Rose of PBS.

Khan came to America alone in 1967, at age 16.  He had never seen snow in his life, and he arrived to a record amount of it in Illinois.

“It was quite a memorable experience for me,” Khan said.  “You have your one suitcase with you.  You walk in shoes that are not used to water or snow and they kind of start melting away.  It’s an experience you never forget.  Very life affirming, where they soak right through your socks.”

He talked about the impact of realizing that he could find a job — at $1.20 per hour — to help pay his rent of $2 per night at the local YMCA.

“It’s something so unique about America,” Khan said.  “The empowerment and the fact you control your own destiny.  Most of the countries in the world, you can’t do that.”

He believes that it’s an outlook that people who are born and raised in the United States don’t necessarily have.  “You focus on one percent of the glass that’s full, not on the 99 percent that’s empty,” Khan said.  “That perspective, you’re only gonna get frankly if you’re born someplace else and you come out and you discover this and you say, ‘Oh my God, what an amazing, amazing opportunity I’ve just been given.'”

And he made the most of it.  After getting an engineering degree, Khan went door-to-door in search of a job.  “You get used to rejection,” Khan said.  “You have to.  I think that’s a key lesson in life, that you have to be able to handle rejection.”

Eventually, he was offered two jobs.  One in a “blacksmith”-type role at a small truck parts business and the other as a manager of an air-conditioned ice cream shop.  He chose the harder job that better fit his education, and he instantly helped revolutionize the company’s manufacturing processes.

Eventually, Khan bought the company, Flex-N-Gate, and in time he generated enough income to eventually buy an NFL team.  To get there, he resorted to what got him his first job — cold-calling.

Khan’s effort to get to know the league’s owners came with some advice from NFL executive Eric Grubman:  “Some of these guys aren’t going to want to talk to you, but it’s not you, it’s them,” Grubman told Khan.

Khan eventually talked to enough of them to get in line to buy a team.  He made a bid for the Rams, but minority owner Stan Kroenke opted to exercise his right to match the offer.  In 2011, Khan bought the Jaguars from Wayne Weaver.

“We have to win,” Khan said of the team he has owned for one full season.  “Obviously, we haven’t won in a number of years.  We’re going through a turnaround, and really a rebuilding process.”

If he applies the same glass-one-percent-full philosophy that he has been using from the moment he arrived in this country 46 years ago, the turnaround will happen.

22 responses to “With inspiring background, Khan leads Jaguars through “rebuilding” process

  1. “You focus on one percent of the glass that’s full, not on the 99 percent that’s empty,” Khan said.

    Sort of like the attendance at Jags home games.

  2. @jakec4 way to bring your misinformed hate down on an upbeat post. Jags havent had a blackout in three years and are in the top 20 in league attendance.

  3. Amazing…. you know he’s right about the work ethic of folks born here vs. those who arrive here.. Remember, immigrants are what give this country its energy and vitality and keep us moving forward. Without their constant influx we would rot. USA USA!

  4. Very genuine guy. Came out to minicamp in the pouring rain and after spending about 10-15 minutes engaging and praising the fans who braved the elements, he spent much of the practice standing not twenty feet from them. He knows the turnaround won’t happen overnight, but is doing everything he can to expedite the process.

  5. Dude sounds like he really loves football and wants to get the jags back to winning ways, he also has a killer mustache LOL

  6. I heard him speak last week, in person. He has a great commitment to Jacksonville and the Jaguars. He, Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell are such a breath of fresh air to our community. The winning may not come next year, but a turnaround is on its way! Plus, it is nice to see several articles about the Jaguars without the usual negative swipe aimed at the fans, the team and the city. The fans have stood by a bad team, wait to see what happens in the next year or two!

  7. nice to see ol Ron J. using the money he made in his “movies” to good use and buy a team, probably sold his AVN award also

  8. you know, the stache gets a lot of pub but let’s not overlook those flowing locks he’s also rockin

  9. Great story. But, did he point out to Charlie Rose that in the early 70s you get your engineering degree at a high quality state university for very little money, with very low cost loans, and a minimum wage that kept you above the poverty line? Bring back those three options again and watch the boom that follows. I was able to work full time and pay the vast majority of my tuition to attend a state school that was ranked in the top 30 in the entire Nation. I graduated with very little debt that I was able to pay off with no financial hardship in three years. Today’s young men & women do not have that option. I respect that the man made the most of his opportunities. I would hope he would do all he can to see that the “Khans” of today get the same chance at a college education and the opportunities it allows all of us fortunate enough to receive our degrees.

  10. Yes that is America. Instead of bitching about what you don’t have, be thankful for that you do have.

  11. Interesting story. It’s also further proof that some of the most patriotic people in this country weren’t born here.

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