Even as a kid, Kevin Plank had a passion for sports and the spirit of an entrepreneur. So it makes sense that he was just a college student-athlete when he was struck with the idea that would eventually launch Under Armour and change the way athletes around the world dress forever.
As special teams captain for the University of Maryland football team during the brutally hot summer of 1995, Plank hated having to change his sweat-soaked cotton T-shirts over and over again during two-a-days. Then, one day, a thought went through his head:
"There has to be something better."
In 1996 the former student-athlete got to work.
From fabric stores in Maryland to trips to the garment district in New York City Plank searched for the best performance fabric.
After finding the right blend of performance fabrics Plank created his prototype T-shirt, and launched Under Armour in his grandmother's basement in Washington DC's Georgetown neighborhood. But truth be told, he was hardly ever there. Instead, Plank was on the road, visiting locker rooms across the country to introduce athletes and equipment managers to something they'd never seen beforea tight-fitting, moisture-wicking T-shirt that supports your muscles and regulates your body temperature.
Plank started selling shirts out of the trunk of his car, and eventually the world took notice. Seventeen years later, Under Armour is a multi-billion dollar global brand and the maker of the most innovative performance footwear, apparel, and accessories in the world.
Just as his passion for sports fuels his drive to make all athletes better, Plank's passion for entrepreneurism has helped him empower young businessmen and women around the world to follow their dreams and turn their ideas into incredible businesses. Plank is an active supporter of the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. He's a member of the University's Board of Trustees and has played an essential role in the development of an endowment fund that the Dingman Center uses to invest in viable startup businesses.
In 2006, he launched the Cupid's Cup Business and Innovation Competition and Showcase, which is named after the Valentine's Day rose business Plank started as an undergrad at Maryland. This fast- growing initiative encourages young entrepreneurs to compete for a chance to build their businesses.
Plank is also a prolific speaker at organizations and universities throughout the country.
Plank's commitment to the Maryland community is reflected in Under Armour's ambitious Give Back initiatives and his personal work with local organizations. He currently sits on the Board of Trustees of the University of Maryland, Start Up America, National Football Foundation, the Board of John Hopkins Medicine, and the Greater Baltimore Committee among others.
Through the Give Back initiative, Under Armour supports countless community organizations and remains committed to improving the city it calls home. The Brand and its thousands of teammates extend their resources, products, and time to help more than 20 Baltimore community empowerment organizations. Last year, Plank and Under Armour launched WIN Baltimore, an all-new initiative designed to spark social change in underserved communities in Baltimore.
Driven by another of his passions, horse-racing, Plank purchased historic Sagamore Farm in 2007 with a long-term plan to restore the facility and bring the tradition and legacy of winning thoroughbred racing back to Maryland for good.