Judge Robert J. Parins
Board of Directors: 1966-94
Executive Committee: 1979-89
Chairman of the Board: 1989-91
Parins was the first full-time president in Packers history and helped set the stage for the team’s recent financial success in a rapidly changing NFL. During Parins’ seven years as president, the Packers constructed the first private boxes at Lambeau Field and their first indoor practice facility, and expanded their administration building and training facilities. On the football front, Parins hired an executive vice president of football operations separate from the head coach in 1987. At the least, it was a break with tradition from the all-powerful general manager-coach structure that had foiled the Packers for more than two decades following the departure of Vince Lombardi in early 1969.
Under Parins’ leadership, the corporation’s net worth – the value of stock proceeds plus accumulated earnings – climbed from roughly $14.9 million to $25.9 million. He also handpicked Bob Harlan as his successor, and had to carry out the wishes of his board of directors and fire Bart Starr as coach following the 1983 season. While it might have been a thankless duty, Starr’s record was 52-76-3 over nine seasons.
“A judge lives a contemplative and reclusive life,” George A. Burns, a Milwaukee County circuit court judge and member of the Packers’ board of directors, said in 1983. “He can’t care about public relations. That’s reflected in Judge Parins’ style as Packer president.”
Parins was elected president on May 3, 1982, given the additional title of CEO in 1988 and served in those capacities until he retired June 5, 1989. Previously, he was elected vice president when he joined the executive committee in 1979, and then was given the authority to perform the duties of the principal executive officer on Oct. 11, 1981. Parins was elected to the board of directors on May 23, 1966. He was named honorary chairman in 1991 and director emeritus in 1994.
Born Aug. 23, 1918, in Green Bay, Parins was already an avid fan of the Packers when they won their first three NFL championships from 1929 to 1931. Given name Robert James Parins. He graduated from Green Bay East High School in 1936 and the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1942. He served as a Brown County circuit judge from 1968 to 1982, and as the county’s district attorney from 1949 to 1950. Died May 26, 2017, at age 98.
- By Cliff Christl