The Green Bay Packers Thursday added to an exclusive fraternity, naming Mike McCarthy the team's 14th Head Coach. Ted Thompson, Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations, made the historic announcement.
McCarthy, 42, becomes the league's youngest head coach, nearly three months younger than Tampa Bay's Jon Gruden and seven months younger than Jacksonville's Jack Del Rio. And, McCarthy inherits one of the league's youngest teams. Green Bay's roster at season's end averaged 26.04 years of age.
Thompson was impressed with McCarthy's leadership ability, toughness, football knowledge and awareness of the unique Green Bay organization, its players and the team's role in its surrounding community.
McCarthy experienced that uniqueness as the Packers' quarterbacks coach in 1999. Five players who finished 2005 on Green Bay's roster played for the Packers in '99, including Donald Driver and McCarthy's primary pupil that year, Brett Favre. Led by Favre's 4,091 yards - his third-highest career total - Green Bay ranked seventh in passing and ninth overall offensively.
This also marks the second time the Packers have hired the 49ers offensive coordinator. In 1992, Ron Wolf elevated Mike Holmgren from that role in San Francisco. In guiding the 49ers' offense, McCarthy spent the past season working with No. 1 overall draft choice Alex Smith.
Smith joined a long line of quarterbacks coached by McCarthy, including Favre, Matt Hasselbeck, Aaron Brooks, Jake Delhomme, Marc Bulger, Rich Gannon, Elvis Grbac and Joe Montana. That group has combined for 25 career Pro Bowl selections and eight Super Bowl starts.
Schooled in the 'West Coast' offense, McCarthy has coached 19 years combined at the pro and college levels, including 13 in the NFL. He has called plays over the last six years as an offensive coordinator, and has coached in eight NFL playoff games.
During his five years (2000-04) as Saints offensive coordinator, he presided over the most prolific offensive era in the team's four decades. Named 2000 NFC Assistant Coach of the Year by USA Today, McCarthy guided the Saints to 10 offensive team records and 25 individual marks. In addition:
- In McCarthy's first year, 2000, Joe Horn became the Saints' first 1,000-yard receiver in eight years. A four-time Pro Bowler, Horn during McCarthy's tenure caught 437 passes for 6,289 yards and 45 touchdowns.
- The team produced its first 1,000-yard rusher in 10 years, launching a player past that landmark during each of McCarthy's five seasons (Ricky Williams and Deuce McAllister).
- New Orleans led the league with 432 points and 49 touchdowns in 2002.
Prior to the 1999 campaign in Green Bay, McCarthy served six seasons (1993-98) in Kansas City, working first as an offensive assistant with Montana. With McCarthy as quarterbacks coach from 1995-98, Kansas City's 52 interceptions marked the lowest total in the AFC over the four-year stretch. McCarthy worked with three starters - Gannon, Grbac and Steve Bono.
From 1989-92, McCarthy honed his coaching ability on Paul Hackett's staff at the University of Pittsburgh, where he served three years as quarterbacks coach and one season in charge of wide receivers. Under McCarthy, Alex Van Pelt topped the school's career and single-season passing yards records established by Dan Marino.
Before his stint in Pittsburgh, where he was born, McCarthy started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Fort Hays State in Kansas. He had remained in the state after completing his collegiate playing career at nearby Baker University. An all-conference tight end, McCarthy as a senior captain helped Baker to a runner-up finish in NAIA Division II.
McCarthy's coaching background:
1987-88, Fort Hays State - Graduate Assistant
1989-91, Univ. of Pittsburgh - Quarterbacks
1992, Univ. of Pittsburgh - Wide Receivers
1993-94, Kansas City Chiefs - Offensive Assistant/Quality Control
1995-98, Kansas City Chiefs - Quarterbacks
1999, Green Bay Packers - Quarterbacks
2000-04, New Orleans Saints - Offensive Coordinator
2005, San Francisco 49ers - Offensive Coordinator
2006, Green Bay Packers - Head Coach