Remembering Mike McCormack

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November 16, 2013


Mike McCormack, who guided the Seattle Seahawks in the mid-1980s as the team’s president and general manager – and for seven games as coach – died of natural causes on November 15 in Palm Desert, Calif., at age 83.

McCormack was an offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns

McCormack was an offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns

McCormack was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1984. He was named to six Pro Bowls in 12 seasons as an offensive tackle and helped the Cleveland Browns win NFL championships in 1954 and 1955.

After having previously served as coach of the Philadelphia Eagles (1973-75) and Baltimore Colts (1980-81), McCormack was hired in March 1982 as the Seahawks director of football operations.

He took over as interim head coach two games into the 1982 season after the Seahawks fired Jack Patera, leading the team to a 4-3 record.

After the season, he was named the Seahawks’ president and GM.

“He was reluctant to give up coaching,” then-owner John Nordstrom recalled. “He really wanted to coach. But I told him that I had to have him as the top guy because I still had a day job (running Nordstrom’s) and I couldn’t devote the time to all the detail stuff. He was really good at the details – really, really good.”

As president and GM, McCormack had oversight of just about every facet of the team from 1983-88, including hiring Chuck Knox as coach. Seattle made four playoff appearances in the six years McCormack ran the team, including advancing to the AFC Championship Game in 1983 and winning the team’s first division title, the AFC West, in 1988.

McCormack was also instrumental in helping the Carolina Panthers land a team in 1993 and became president of the franchise.

A native of Chicago, McCormack made his mark in the NFL long before joining the Panthers in 1989.

McCormack_HOF300McCormack was a dominant offensive lineman for the Browns. At McCormack’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, coach Paul Brown called McCormack “the finest offensive lineman I have ever coached.”

USA Today named McCormack to its 75th anniversary all-NFL team, listing him as one of the best three tackles in league history.

McCormack’s coaching career began as an assistant in 1965 with the Washington Redskins, learning under coaching legends Vince Lombardi and George Allen.