Before he would divorce Ivana and marry Marla Maples, before he would be the the man who exclaimed "You're Fired!" on NBC's "The Apprentice," Donald J. Trump was a thirtysomething real estate developer who bought the New Jersey Generals from J. Walter Duncan following the USFL's 1983 season.

Trump had originally been slated to be part of the original group of USFL team owners, but backed out in order to place more focus on completing the construction of his first namesake project, New York's Trump Tower.

Immediately upon buying the Gens, Trump made waves both in the media and the USFL's plans.  Trump fired head coach Chuck Fairbanks and replaced him with popular former New York Jets head coach Walt Michaels, then signed NFL-level talent such as DB Gary Barbaro and free agent Cleveland Browns QB Brian Sipe.  When that didn't produce the 1984 USFL championship, he sent Sipe packing for Jacksonville and signed Boston College standout and 1984 Heisman Trophy winning QB Doug Flutie to join 1982 winner Herschel Walker in the backfield.

Behind the scenes, "The Donald" was the chief impetus behind the USFL's plan to abandon its original, spring-only season and to begin playing fall football in 1986, head to head with the NFL.

Trump nearly went bankrupt in the 1990's, but rebounded after a series of complex deals.  Today Trump may be more recognizable as a brand image than anything else, thanks to "The Apprentice" as well as ventures bearing his name such as "Trump Vodka," "Trump Ice" bottled water, "Trump Golf," "Trump Institute," "Trump University," and 1989's "Trump:  The Game."


New Jersey Generals


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