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The Glazers' connection to Back to School, and other things you didn't know about the Bucs owners

Bryan Glazer, co-chairman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was warmly applauded when he was inducted April 7 into the Florida Council on Economic Education's Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame.

Then he shared a story remarkable for its simple elements of humanity, family and love.

He told the audience he was a graduate of Irving University — Irving being the middle name of his late father, Malcolm Glazer, the Bucs owner who passed away in 2014 at the age of 85. Growing up in his father's home meant growing up with daily business lessons from the elder Glazer.

Bryan Glazer, 51, recalled how his father once put an ad in the paper to sell his car. Whenever someone came over to kick the tires, the elder Glazer always had his daughter step into the garage about 10 minutes after the prospective buyer's arrival and yell:

"Dad, someone's on the phone about the car."

Bryan Glazer also explained the framed diploma from Irving University that hangs in his home. Signed by his father, the degree anoints the son a graduate of the Melon School of Business. No, not Carnegie Mellon University, home to one of the top business schools in the nation.

This Melon school is named after Thornton Melon, the character played by comedian Rodney Dangerfield in the 1986 movie Back to School. Bryan Glazer's five siblings also have "Irving degrees."

That's right, Malcolm Glazer — the hard-driving businessman who wrung a new stadium out of Hillsborough County voters, hired and fired beloved coach Tony Dungy, made a daring trade for coach Jon Gruden and brought long-suffering Bucs fans a Super Bowl in the 2002 season — was a fan of the uproariously funny film many children of the '80s revere for its bad puns and one-liners.

Who knew?

Furthermore, why did we have to wait this long to get a glimpse into the Glazer family dynamic and its Dangerfield-loving patriarch?

In five short minutes, Bryan Glazer lent the kind of insight reporters — and more importantly, fans — have craved since his father purchased the Buccaneers in 1995.

I found the story riveting, simply because it created common ground between this super-wealthy family and the everyday Joes and Jills who fill Raymond James Stadium every year.

Malcolm Glazer — and, by extension, his family — have always been reluctant to grant interviews. It didn't help that the early days of their ownership were so contentious.

But that was two decades ago. Now it's time for Bryan Glazer to tell a few more stories, show a bit more emotion and stop worrying about delivering the perfect answer or fearing the fallout from an imperfect response.

In February, he joined Rays owner Stu Sternberg and Lightning owner Jeff Vinik for a panel discussion at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, which owns the Tampa Bay Times. Even though the Bucs' owner shied away from answering some questions, we need more opportunities like that to hear from Bryan Glazer and his family.

I'm not asking him to be as flamboyant as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, or show up wearing a T-shirt that says, "I'm Bryan Freaking Glazer" (though that would be fun). But he's enjoyed enough success to be more open.

How can you not like a family that loves Rodney Dangerfield?

That's all I'm saying.

The Glazers' connection to Back to School, and other things you didn't know about the Bucs owners 04/19/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 19, 2016 10:10pm]
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