Mark Hurd is a lifelong supporter of tennis. He played competitively in high school and was recruited to play for the Baylor University men’s tennis team, for which he earned a full scholarship. Hurd’s achievements at the collegiate level led him to consider a professional tennis career before he eventually decided to enter the business world, working at NCR for over twenty years and becoming CEO in 2003.
As the CEO of Oracle Corporation, Mark continues to be an advocate for American tennis, a passion he shares with Oracle founder Larry Ellison. Mark has noted similarities between the challenges he faced as a tennis player and the challenges he now faces as CEO. While Mark has described his approach to growing a company, he has also highlighted the ways in which his preparation for success in high-level tennis informed his current approach to corporate leadership:
The ability to deal with losing, with setbacks, and being able to turn those into opportunities for further victories… I mean that’s the key to successful athletes, it’s the key to successful business people. – Mark Hurd, Beyond the Baseline podcast
Mark has leveraged this skill set to refocus Oracle Corporation on cloud computing. His tenure at Oracle has seen the creation of a new cloud campus in Austin, Texas and several key acquisitions, including early cloud provider NetSuite. Mark continues to advocate for cloud transformation while also improving the employee onboarding process and expanding training opportunities through the Oracle Class Of initiative. Designed to harness the passion of recent college graduates, Mark has noted that collegiate athletes often bring high performance and time management skillsets drawn from experience balancing athletics and academics.
At Baylor, Mark Hurd played collegiate tennis while juggling a variety of other responsibilities. As president of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, competitive athlete, and full-time student, Hurd found that proper time management was essential for success.
Mark has continued to support the Baylor tennis program as an alumnus. The Hurd family has contributed to the renovation of Baylor’s tennis facilities, including the addition of a new scoreboard, redesigned locker rooms and player spaces, and a renovated outdoor facility. Baylor renamed its upgraded tennis facilities the Hurd Tennis Center in 2011 in appreciation of the Hurd family’s support for Baylor University tennis.
Oracle currently sponsors four tournaments in partnership with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA): the Oracle ITA Masters, the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships, the Oracle ITA Summer Circuit Powered by UTR, and the Oracle ITA National Team Indoor Championships for Divisions I and III. Oracle is also the title sponsor of the Oracle ITA Rankings, which tracks the performance of collegiate teams in Division I, II, and III.
Mark Hurd is proud to support both up-and-coming players as well as college tennis competitors, and has said, “Our partnership with the ITA gives us another opportunity to invest in college students who are key to Oracle’s future.”
Hurd has drawn comparisons between the tennis ecosystem’s need for college players and Oracle’s need for ambitious college students. Oracle supports collegiate athletes with the Oracle US Tennis Awards, a $100,000 grant awarded to college tennis players who demonstrate sportsmanship and skill to help support their professional careers. Award recipients include Danielle Collins and Mackenzie McDonald in 2017, Chris Eubanks and Francesca Di Lorenzo in 2018, and Jamie Loeb and JC Aragone in 2019.