Always the gentleman, always understated and always a class act, Tom Cove let slip this week that he will retire from his leadership role at the SFIA, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, and formerly SGMA, in the fall.

No press release. No big deal, industry event or dinner, just a side note in a LinkedIn post doing what he does best: lifting others.

Really appreciate the kind gesture from World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) Andy Rubin, Emma P. (Mason) Zwiebler and Puma’s Johan Adamsson for personalized Man City jersey upon my announcement to retire in October,” Cover wrote in the post. “My ship had sailed to star on the pitch, but City’s run to two trophies in the next fortnight is the next best thing. Let’s Go Pep!

Also humbled to share this pic with Stephen Rubin, absolute icon and visionary in the sporting goods industry. Salute!,” continued Cove.

SGB Media tracked Tom down to get his thoughts on his long career at SGMA/SFIA, a career that started advocating on behalf of the sporting goods industry in the halls of Congress in Washington, DC and continued as he tirelessly advocated for the benefits of sports and fitness with anyone that would listen.

“When I started in the sporting goods industry in 1991, I was hooked. It was fun, exciting—The Super Show!— and cool. But most importantly, I felt very lucky to get to advocate for the good of sports, to increase opportunities for kids to play, and to support and work with the coolest brands and people in the world,” Cove began.

“After almost 34 years, I feel the same. Our companies make products that brings joy, drives passion and improves health. Doesn’t get any better than that. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity, and still impressed by what the sports and fitness industry does every day to improve people’s quality of life,” he continued.

“It’s the coolest industry in the world, and I’m proud I could contribute positively over my career.”

SGB Media congratulates Tom Cove for his well-earned retirement after over 33 years at SGMA/SFIA and the last 20-plus years as president and CEO, but we’re still determining where he will spend all his endless energy.

Our best, Tom! Thanks for keeping the industry cool!

Look for the SGB Media LinkedIn post of this article here and add your comments there.

Image courtesy Tom Cove/LinkedIn