New Zealand Rugby Player – Steve McCaw
At one time the greatest rugby player ever, he earned 112 caps with the All Blacks as captain, playing in four Super Rugby finals and one World Cup tournament.
McCraw amassed great wealth through cable and paging before venturing into satellite communications during the telecom boom with Teledesic – only to discover another hard lesson along the way.
Early Life and Education
McCraw was raised in Dunedin, New Zealand and attended Otago Boys’ High School before attending university at Canterbury where he played rugby for both Otago Blues and Crusaders teams.
As the inaugural All Black to earn 100 caps for his country (in 1995) and eventually dethroned by Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll (2015) and then Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones in 2020; he held onto this world record until then surpassed. Additionally he served as captain for 148 Test matches as an All Black captain.
Professor of Biomechanics and Kinesiology at Indiana State University. He offers Anatomical Kinesiology classes along with Advanced Biomechanics of Human Movement (with cadaver dissection), Qualitative Biomechanical Analysis to Understand Injury Development, and Occupational Biomechanics classes to students enrolled in both Doctor of Physical Therapy programs as well as Master of Applied Sciences in Occupational Science and Technology programs.
McCaw was appointed captain of the All Blacks for their 2007 Rugby World Cup campaign and led them to victory against archrival Australia in the final, lifting the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time overseas.
His leadership has earned him widespread acclaim worldwide, but has also come under scrutiny following South Africa’s World Cup quarter-final loss against France in which Springbok lock Victor Matfield accused McCaw of trying to “get away with murder” at the breakdown.
Golden State purchased McCaw’s 38th pick in the 2016 draft for $2.4 million and quickly made him an impact player on their team. Since then he has also played for Toronto Raptors, becoming only player ever in NBA history to have won three championships with separate franchises.
Achievement and Honors
Many analysts consider McCaw to be one of the greatest All Black rugby players ever. He captained New Zealand in 148 test matches, winning two Rugby World Cups as captain as well as earning two World Player of the Year awards.
“He became the first All Black to win 100 tests and overtook Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll as most-capped rugby union player until 2020 when Welshman Alun Wyn Jones outpaced him.” In 2016, he was honored with an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit Award in recognition of his services to rugby and his community.
Outside of rugby, McCaw invested in Nextel. Under his management, Nextel transformed from a small paging company into one of the leading wireless businesses worldwide – changing corporate culture within wireless business while creating jobs.
McCaw is an avid pilot who owns multiple private planes. Additionally, he serves as director and major shareholder in Christchurch Helicopters as well as engaging in luxury pursuits such as sailing. Recently he helped to design an eco-friendly yacht for next year’s America’s Cup races in New Zealand.
After taking over his father’s failing Centralia cable system, McCaw gambled big – purchasing paging licenses and creating the nation’s first nearly nationwide wireless network. McCaw Cellular was sold for about $11.5 billion to AT&T in 1994 netting him roughly one billion. Unfortunately for him though, the future of his latest cellular venture, XO Communications remains uncertain with success depending on subscriber growth, competition and regulation as well as lots of debt taken on by the company.
McCaw holds stakes in Nextel and XO Communications as well as satellite ventures wiped out in the telecom crash, along with investments through his Eagle River Partners firm.
He is widely recognized as an innovative, thoughtful investor with unconventional business ideas and practices. Typically focusing on one or two businesses at any one time; such as cable/paging then cellular.
But he lost billions through risky bets on the future of satellite industry – Teledesic lost momentum and its market value fell; then he bet big with Clearwire by investing billions of dollars in 2.5GHz spectrum with hopes that FCC would approve its use for wireless broadband, but that plan went nowhere and its stock plummeted all the way down to 3 cents.