Mark H. Murphy, possessor of extensive experience in professional football and sports administration, has been elected as the Green Bay Packers' President and CEO, the organization announced Monday.
The Packers Board of Directors approved Murphy as the franchise's 10th Chief Executive Officer in a unanimous vote Monday afternoon at Lambeau Field. Packers Chairman of the Board Bob Harlan will continue to lead the organization through the 2007 football campaign, including any postseason games. Prior to that, the transition formally will begin Jan. 1, 2008, with Murphy assuming the title of President and CEO-elect.
"The Green Bay Packers are very pleased to name Mark Murphy as our President and CEO," Harlan said. "He has an excellent background and record of success in the business of athletics, and through his NFL playing career brings a great understanding of our game to his position. He'll be an outstanding leader for our franchise and a great addition to our community. We're delighted to have Mark join us."
"We had an excellent search process," said Peter Platten, Vice President of the Packers Executive Committee and chairman of the CEO search committee. "Our committee did a wonderful job evaluating many excellent candidates. Mark stood out early on among the group and through our research and interviews further established himself as a man of great integrity, vision and leadership - a great match for our unique franchise."
"I am honored to have been selected and very appreciative of this tremendous opportunity," Murphy said. "The Packers are one of the great franchises in all of professional sports, with a rich history and incredible fan support. These are successful times for the Packers. On the field they're performing well, and off the field, they're in great shape, too. I look forward to being a part of that continued success."
Murphy, who holds a law degree and an M.B.A in finance, brings a unique and highly qualified background to his role as head of one of the NFL's flagship franchises, first drawing from a deep understanding and appreciation of the game that comes from an eight-year playing career with the Washington Redskins. Later, he served a combined 16 years as director of athletics at Colgate University and Northwestern University, as well as positions as an assistant executive director of the NFL Players Association and a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice.
In addition to his playing career and work with the NFL Players Association, Murphy has maintained his ties to the NFL through his work on the Commissioner's Player Advisory Committee (1994-2002) as well as the NFL Youth Football Committee (2002-present).
"Mark brings an important blend of experiences to the job, so many of which touch on issues that we will be dealing with in the future," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "Based on eight seasons with the Redskins, Mark has a deep respect for the history of the league, its players and coaches. He understands the impact of a franchise on its community and the importance of players and coaches meshing with their local fan bases."
The 52-year-old Murphy joins the Packers after four and a half years as director of athletics at Northwestern University. At the Big Ten Conference university, Murphy oversaw a 19-sport program with a $40-million budget and 160 full-time employees. The school enjoyed eight individual national championships and three NCAA team titles. Additionally, the university won nine conference team championships and 34 individual Big Ten titles. A total of 49 Wildcats have earned first-team All-America distinction. On the football field, the Wildcats have participated in two bowl games during Murphy's tenure after playing in just four previous such contests in the program's history. In 2006-07, Northwestern finished 30th in the U.S. Sports Academy Directors' Cup standings with a school-best 626.5 points. The Wildcats have ranked among the top 30 in the standings for the past three seasons and last year finished sixth among Big Ten schools for the third straight year after previously not placing higher than ninth.
The school's athletic success under Murphy was achieved while its student-athletes continued to excel off the field. The most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) data released in October 2007 reported Northwestern's rate at 98 percent, tying it with Notre Dame and Navy for tops in the nation.
Prior to his tenure at Northwestern, Murphy served as director of athletics at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. (1992-2003), the school from which he graduated in 1977. During his 11 years at the helm, the university experienced a renaissance of its football program, going from 0-11 in 1995 to three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs. In 2003, the year after Murphy's departure to Northwestern, the team made it to the championship game; the achievement of that squad - a non-scholarship program - remains one of Murphy's proudest moments.
Colgate's other teams experienced success as well, with men's basketball, women's soccer, women's volleyball, softball and men's ice hockey teams making NCAA Tournament appearances. The school also achieved graduation rates among the highest for student-athletes in Division I during Murphy's tenure.
A former All-Pro safety for the Washington Redskins, Murphy enjoyed an eight-year (1977-84) career after originally signing with the team as a non-drafted free agent in 1977. He was a co-captain from 1980-84, a period that included two Super Bowl teams (1982-83). He enjoyed his finest season in 1983, leading the NFL with nine interceptions and earning consensus All-Pro honors as well as a trip to the Pro Bowl. Murphy was named as one of the Redskins' "70 Greatest Players" and also is a member of the club's "50th Anniversary Team."
During his days as a Redskin, Murphy earned an M.B.A. in finance from American University in Washington, D.C., attending classes full-time in the offseason and evening classes in-season. Upon completion of his playing career in 1985 he joined the NFL Players Association as assistant executive director. While with the NFLPA, Murphy served on the bargaining team, developed the agent certification system and strengthened the PA's degree completion and career counseling programs.
While with the NFLPA, he started work on a law degree from Georgetown University and ultimately finished his studies full-time after leaving the Players Association. Upon receiving his law degree in 1988, he worked for a year at a Washington law firm before becoming a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in 1989.
During a four-year career with the Department of Justice, he primarily represented government agencies in trials. Then, in 1992, his alma mater called and he returned to the sports realm.
At ease in public settings and with the media, Murphy enjoyed hosting a weekly radio show during his playing days and later became a sports commentator for National Public Radio (1983-92) and the Anheuser-Busch Radio Network (1986-88), offering his insights into football and sports-related legal issues in general.
Born July 13, 1955, in Fulton, N.Y., Murphy was a three-sport star (football, baseball and basketball) at Clarence Central High School in the Buffalo-area community of Williamsville, and was named the best all-around athlete in western New York during his senior year. His baseball talents drew attention from Major League scouts. In 2002, he was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in recognition of his achievements both on and off the field.
Murphy and his wife, Laurie, who also is a Colgate graduate, have been involved in the communities in which they've lived. Over the years the couple has donated their time to numerous organizations, including local schools, the United Methodist Church in Hamilton, N.Y., and the First Congregational Church of Evanston, Ill. While at Colgate University, Murphy formed the Hamilton Youth Basketball League and served as its commissioner. Heavily involved in the community while with the Redskins, Murphy was named the team's "Miller Man of the Year" in 1984 in honor of his work off the field.
The couple has four children: Katie, 24, a graduate of Harvard who played basketball for the Crimson; Emily, 22, a senior at Middlebury (Vt.) College; Brian, 18, a freshman at Amherst (Mass.) College; and Anna, 17.
Mark H. Murphy Background:
Northwestern University; Evanston, Ill.
Director, Athletics and Recreation
Colgate University; Hamilton, N.Y.
Director, Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics
U.S. Department of Justice; Washington, D.C.
Bredhoff and Kaiser; Washington, D.C.
Law Clerk and Attorney
Anheuser-Busch Radio Network; St. Louis, Mo.
National Football League Players Association; Washington, D.C.
Assistant Executive Director
National Public Radio; Washington, D.C.
Washington Redskins; Ashburn, Va.
1983 Honors: Pro Bowl, Associated Press All-Pro
Georgetown University Law Center; Washington, D.C.
American University; Washington, D.C.
Colgate University; Hamilton, N.Y.
B.A., Economics, 1977
Professional Committee Memberships (Current and Past):
-NCAA Football Issues Committee, 2006-Present (currently Chairman) and 1997-99
-NCAA Division I Championships Cabinet, 2007-Present and 1999-2003
-NCAA Football Board of Directors, 2006-Present
-NFL Youth Football Fund Committee, 2002-Present
-Member of NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue's Player Advisor Committee, 1994-2002
-National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors Executive Committee, 2005-Present
-Big 10 Administrators' Council, 2003-Present
-Big 10 Program and Budget Review Committee, 2006-Present
-Chicago 2016 Committee (Olympic Bid)
-ECAC Division I Men's Ice Hockey Executive Committee, 1996-98 (Chair in 1997)
-NCAA I-AA Football Committee, 1996-99
-Search Committee for ECAC Ice Hockey Commission, 1997
-Search Committee for Patriot League Executive Director, 1998
-Colgate University Dean's Advisory Council, 1992-2003
-Colgate University Academic Affairs Board, 1992-2003
-Colgate University Faculty Affairs Committee, 1993-96
What they are saying about Mark Murphy:
Packers Chairman of the Board Bob Harlan:
"The Green Bay Packers are very pleased to have Mark Murphy join the organization as President and CEO. He has an excellent background and record of success in the business of athletics, and through his NFL playing career, brings a great understanding of our game to his position. He'll be an outstanding leader for our franchise and a great addition to our community.
"In getting to know Mark, it was very clear that he appreciates the unique nature of the Packers. He shares many of the same values that are important to the organization. We're delighted to have a person of Mark's caliber join us."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:
"Mark is an extremely talented administrator who will serve the Packers and the entire Green Bay community with distinction and class. He brings an important blend of experiences to the job, so many of which touch on issues that we will be dealing with in the future. Based on eight seasons with the Redskins, Mark has a deep respect for the history of the league, its players and coaches. He understands the impact of a franchise on its community and the importance of players and coaches meshing with their local fan bases."
Washington Redskins Head Coach Joe Gibbs (Murphy played under Gibbs from 1977-84):
"Mark meant a lot to the Redskins organization the years he was here and played. He was a great person along with being one of the brightest and most competitive people we've had here at the Redskins. I would say it's a great choice, and we wish him and the Packers all the luck in the world."
Northwestern University President Henry S. Bienen:
"We appreciate Mark's tremendous leadership during his tenure here at Northwestern. He was an exemplary director of our athletic department and our teams had outstanding success both on and off the field. We're sorry to see Mark go, but at the same time, we understand what a wonderful opportunity this is for him, so we wish him well."
Pat Ryan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Northwestern University and Executive Chairman of Aon:
"When we were fortunate enough to hire Mark, it was perfect fit with our culture and common goals. He really had a great understanding of the unique structure and culture we have here at Northwestern and excelled with it. He did an outstanding job and I see it as the same opportunity for Mark and the Green Bay Packers. He'll have common goals with the highest expectations. The Packers are fortunate to have Mark join them. It's our loss, but we're also proud of him to have this opportunity."
Northwestern Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald:
"I'm indebted to Mark and his administration for giving me the chance to lead our football program. Mark has been a terrific leader for Northwestern and its athletic program. I enjoyed our working relationship and appreciated his guidance. He will be missed."
Northwestern Men's Basketball Coach Bill Carmody:
"Going to the Packers is a great opportunity for Mark. He's a football guy. I'm really happy for him. We've had a good relationship and I hope things work out well for him. We appreciate the commitment that he's made to the men's basketball program and Northwestern Athletics as a whole."
Northwestern Women's Basketball Coach Beth Combs:
"I am thrilled for Mark and his family. It is no wonder an organization of that stature would want a leader like Mark. I will miss him after 10 years of working for him, but I know I am a better coach because of Mark Murphy."
Northwestern Men's Soccer Coach Tim Lenahan:
"It was an honor to work for Mark. Of all the great qualities that he has with his background with the NFL and his law degree, his best quality is that he is a great person. It is no coincidence that his four-plus years here have also been the most successful four years in the history of our program. I thank him and wish him nothing but the best in his time with the Packers."
Northwestern Softball Coach Kate Drohan:
"Mark has been a strong supporter of our program and has helped develop the idea of Northwestern softball winning championships. He has been completely involved at every level, from being behind the backstop at games to creatively providing resources to ensure the success of our program."